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Your baby nappy troubleshooting guide

By the time a baby reaches two and a half years old, they will have gone through around 6,500 nappy changes.

Here are some common questions answered about changing nappies plus tips on some common nappy problems.

How many baby nappies will you need?

Whether you decide to use cloth nappies, disposable nappies, or a mixture of the two, your first question is probably how many you’ll use each day.

Expect to use about 10 to 12 nappies a day.

Of course, every baby is different. Some poo and wee frequently, others, not as often. What’s normal is what’s normal for your baby.

Nappy rash: Treatment and prevention

Allergic reactions, leaving a nappy on too long and switching to solid foods can all cause your baby to get nappy rash.

Nappy rash treatment:

  • Over-the-counter zinc oxide cream can soothe nappy rash.
  • For irritation and allergic reactions, a mild topical steroid cream or ointment may offer relief.
  • Nappy rash related to a bacterial infection - usually caused by staph or strep bacteria - appears bright red, often with yellow pustules, and in some cases can blister. It requires medical attention, and your GP or paediatrician may prescribe antibiotics.
  • For nappy rashes related to yeast infections, your baby’s doctor may recommend an over-the-counter topical antifungal cream.

To prevent another nappy rash:

  • Change your baby’s nappy more often than you normally do.
  • Let your baby’s bottom air dry during a nappy change and leave the nappy off for a while, if you can.
  • Use unscented, mild soap and a warm flannel to clean your baby during a nappy change. Perfumed and deodorant soaps can be harsh on a baby’s skin.
  • If you use baby wipes, choose those that are free of perfume, alcohol and chemicals.
  • When washing cloth nappies - and your baby’s clothes - avoid using fabric conditioners, antistatic products or perfumed laundry soap. These can also cause rashes.
  • Avoid any foods that seem to worsen your baby’s rash.

Stopping nappy leaks

Baby nappies can leak for all sorts of reasons, but stopping them usually has one solution: change. It could be the size or brand of the nappy that needs changing, or how you put them on. Here are some common causes of leaks and how to leak-proof your baby’s nappy.

  • If your baby is two weeks old or younger, he probably still has his umbilical cord stump, which nappies don’t lie over smoothly. Be sure that when you put your baby’s nappy on, it’s fitted snugly below the stump.
  • The nappy may be too big or too small. Try going up a size - or down, if the nappy is too loose.
  • The nappy may be the right size, but fastened too loosely. Try closing it a little more snugly.
  • A baby boy’s nappy sometimes leaks if it has been fastened with his penis pointing upwards. Try directing it down as you put the nappy on.
  • Your baby is between sizes. In that case, the solution is time. Wait a few weeks and then try the next size up.
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