THE nappy! Once upon a time, it was the only choice of diapers available. You â€œwriggledâ€ it in water as soon as the baby soiled it, washed it and put it in the sun to dry to be used again the following day.
THE nappy! Once upon a time, it was the only choice of diapers available. You â€œwriggledâ€ it in water as soon as the baby soiled it, washed it and put it in the sun to dry to be used again the following day. And that wasnâ€™t all: a typical mother kept it for her second or even third child and perhaps passed it on to another relative who conceived years later.
Now, this good old nappy seems to be fading â€“ at least among modern working mothers. With disposable diapers or pampers in every shop next door, the issue is more of convenience than durability.
â€œI have no time,â€ says Diana Ndaba, a mother of one in her mid-twenties; â€œYou wake up early, return home tired, you have to breastfeed and prepare for the next day. When would I get the time to wash or fold those little nappies?â€
Ndaba admits that it is expensive, since every pack of pampers costs between sh3,500 to sh4,000. But she still believes it is the best choice.
â€œOf course, you feel the pinch financially, but again, I weigh the options. Which housegirl is going to wash the nappies for me, as nicely as I want?â€ Ndaba asks.
On the other hand, the good side of a cloth nappy is exactly the opposite of pampers. They are much cheaper and re-usable â€“ normally lasting for years - compared to if you bought a whole wardrobe of pampers, which still gets used up in barely a month! Besides, unlike the â€œplasticâ€ pampers, you wonâ€™t worry about where to dispose them â€“ all you have to do is washing.
But who actually said you need to choose between disposables and cloth nappies? Why not use both? Clara Adokorach, a mother of two, says it has worked well for her.
â€œI find disposables more convenient during the day, but I prefer nappies in the evening or during weekends when I am home and have all the time to wash them,â€ Adokorach says, â€œEither diaper, I am okay. I try to kind of match them with the situation I am in. And its cheaper, because you canâ€™t use pampers all the time.â€
But for either choice, Dr. Peter Sseremba, a paediatrician at Family Care Clinic on Lumumba Avenue in Kampala, says in order to ensure the health of your baby you must keep in mind the following:
-Change diapers frequently to avoid skin irritation.
- Every time you change diapers, wipe the baby from front to the back to prevent spread of bacteria from the rectum. This could cause urinary tract infections, especially for girls.
- Donâ€™t over-tighten the diaper. Loosen it to allow air circulation.
- Dispose the babyâ€™s waste in the toilet. If you are using disposables, empty your bin regularly to prevent growth of germs.
- If a rash develops, change the brand of diapers. Most pampers are made of a plastic material, while nappies have a rough material. This may cause friction.
- Use baby powder that is medically tested, and petroleum jelly to prevent rashes. It will also help to keep the baby fresh and dry.
- Discontinue powder use when rash develops. Usually the rash will go away by itself. If it persists, seek medical attention. Let the doctor give you options for what type of powder to use, as some fragrances are likely to irritate the babyâ€™s skin.
- Always allow some â€œfree timeâ€ for the baby. You can wrap him/her in an open cloth briefly, before you dress him up in a diaper again.
- For cloth diapers, use oversize safety pins with plastic heads, so they do not prick the baby.
- Wash them separately from other laundry, using hot water and detergents. Iron them after they are dry to keep bacteria away.
Nappies or pampers?