It's funny how when we are thinking about how we are going to manage our child’s waste (the poop and pee) and considering what nappies to buy, we rarely think about the baby. We think about how WE will manage leaks, absorbency, cost, style, type, ease of use, perhaps even the environment… But what about bubba? A nappy is essentially an item of clothing, something that is going to be worn day and night, right next to his/her skin, so perhaps we should think a little harder about what that clothing is made of.
In a previous blog, I wrote about the chemicals that make up a disposable nappy, and as frightening as that was to consider, there are other factors to consider when thinking which nappy to use and how it might impact on your child’s health. So, let's stop and think about this as if we were to wear a nappy.
One thing disposables are most commonly known for is having absorbency that lasts hours, this is mainly due to the heavy marketing from disposable nappy companies promoting the fact. However, this leads to babies getting left in their nappies longer and can cause a number of issues. Even if a nappy appears dry on the outside, the bacteria from excrement is still present and it is still coming into contact with the baby’s skin, which leads to skin irritations and nappy rash.
Additionally, the ability to wick away moisture in disposables is also wicking away the natural moisture and oils from the baby’s skin.
Child health professionals recommend that babies should have their nappies checked and changed every 2 hours whether it is disposable or cloth. So, no matter the nappy, change every 2 hours.
Think about it: Would you want to be sitting in panties with your own waste right up next to your skin for more than a couple of hours?
One of the other issues is disposable nappies are made from plastic. Humans are not designed to wear plastic and wearing it makes it harder for us to maintain a good body temperature. This is even more important in babies as their blood vessels are under-developed and they have fewer sweat glands than adults, meaning they are unable to regular their body temperature as easily. Wearing plastic nappies (disposables) reduces the amount of air circulating around the baby’s skin, and combined with an inability to regular temperature can cause increased nappy rash or heat rash.
One study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood has shown that disposable nappies heat up baby boys’ testicles higher than body temperature and to the point they stop developing naturally. Combine this information with the endocrine disrupting issues caused by the chemicals and it’s no wonder we are having an increase in male infertility.
Think about it: Would you want to go wrapping yourself up in gladwrap or wearing plastic panties, unable to take them off if you got too hot?
It’s all starting to add up and the facts don’t favour disposable nappies too well. What with the number of chemicals the baby is exposed to, the effects of wearing plastic and of not being changed regularly, children in disposables are sitting in their own waste while it mixes with toxic chemicals heating up to high temperatures – personally I’m surprised we don’t have lab-like chemical explosions spewing out the nappies, but perhaps this is why poonamis or poosplosions are a special treat for those using a disposable, but avoided with the use of cloth nappies.