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Real Nappies & Childcare

Saturday, 2 August 2014

You may use many different forms of childcare for your child, depending on your circumstances: your return to employment, time for your parents/in laws alone with their grandchild, your visits to the gym, crèche facilities at the supermarket etc. How you live your life will affect the kind of real nappies you use on your baby, because you need to use a system that can be understood by others.

One point worth mentioning is that there is no rule that says you must always use the same type of nappy on your child whatever the situation. For instance, you may use two piece washable nappies at home, but choose to use all in ones or pocket nappies while out, or pinned terries at night and pad folded prefolds during the day. Many people who buy lots of different samples select their nappies simply according to what comes out of the drawer, although they are likely to have favourites among them.

Whoever looks after your child, they must have enough nappies, wraps and liners (as appropriate), plus clearly understood arrangements about what to do with the dirty nappies. With some caregivers, you may be happy for them simply to parcel everything up in a bag, poo and all, for you to deal with at home. With others (particularly if they look after your baby full time), you will want them to drop the poo down the toilet.

If your child has a single regular caregiver (eg. a grandparent), you can easily train them to use your preferred choice of nappy system in the same way you might train your partner. Bear in mind any physical limitations they may have - poppers may be difficult for an elderly or handicapped person, for instance. Older caregivers may be enthusiastic about terries with a nice wrap, given that they probably have some experience of these in their past, especially if you show them how easy Nappi Nippas are to use. You could invest in a nappy bucket to keep at their house - you can empty the bucket there and transport the nappies home in a plastic bag for washing. Or you may decide between you that it is as easy to put on a half wash at their house before you leave, for them to hang to dry later, so that they keep their own set of nappies for when your child is there.

A childminder outside the family might prove tricky. Although a good childminder should accept any reasonable arrangements that the parents wish, you may find some resistance to using real nappies. I know of child minders who happily use real nappies at the parent's request, but their problem is that they don't feel they have been given enough to change baby as frequently as they would like. If your childminder prefers to change your child's nappy more often than you usually do, make sure she has enough to do so, and be grateful for the cooperation! Take time to train them to use whichever system you prefer, but bear in mind that speed and ease of change will be important to them, as they also have other children to take care of. If your caregiver uses a Weeness Pad or Flip dipsosable pad, I would suggest that you advise them NOT to tear and flush the pad, because of the risk of blocking up their plumbing (despite what it says on the packing).

If your child goes to some form of nursery, they will have their nappy changed by any one of a number of people, and so the nappy system you use should be the easiest possible. A pocket nappy design, like the Bumgenius with an insert is almost idiot proof and the extra cost of these nappies can easily be justified in view of their performance. Talk through with the person in charge how she will make sure that staff know how to change your child's nappy - you could even provide a diagram for her to pin to the staff notice board as a memory aide! Or you might consider using eco-disposables, if you do not feel they are likely to co-operate, however make sure you understand how and why your disposables call themselves "Eco" as this is a whole other minefield!

While you are at the gym or shopping, your child may go into a crèche of some sort. Certainly, at the shop crèche, they will be looking after a lot of children at once, and you may decide to change your child yourself before you go off, leaving them with a spare disposable just in case of poo emergencies. At the gym crèche, they probably only have facilities for a very small number of children (maybe only 3 or 4 with one staff member), but equally you do not know how experienced or interested they will be. I would suggest doing something similar. However, if you have a ready-prepared pocket nappy, they really have no excuse, and they are almost impossible to get wrong.

While it may go against the grain to have any kind of disposable, bear in mind that in a situation like this if your child has a poo, they are more likely to be left in it than be changed if the clean nappy is perceived to be difficult. If you are at the gym, or somewhere where you can be easily located, you could avoid this simply by asking them to come and get you if a nappy change is required, or at least give them the option to do so. I know this does nothing to normalise cotton nappies, but it’s the real world we’re thinking of here, and in the real world, things don’t necessarily work out how we want them to. Anyway, with a bit of luck your child will have conveniently pooed beforehand, thus reducing the likelihood of this eventuality needing to be covered.

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