Diapers: All that you need to know

Diapers or ‘nappies’ are essentially underwear which can absorb the liquid or solid excreta of the wearer and prevent their outer clothing from being soiled. Diapers are usually worn by infants, toddlers who have not been toilet trained, bedwetting children, very old people, patients in hospitals who are bedridden and people who have underlying medical conditions like urinary incontinence (involuntary urination).

The diapers in use have been broadly categorized into two categories; synthetic diapers and cloth diapers. While synthetic diapers are made of absorbent chemicals and have to be thrown once they’re soiled, cloth diapers are made from materials like cotton, bamboo, hemp, microfiber, and plastic fibers and can be washed and reused multiple times. Much is under debate regarding the environment friendliness of these two types of diapers; given the fact the synthetic diapers are not easily biodegradable, they pollute the environment whereas while cloth diapers are reusable, the amount of detergent and water used in every wash is in no ways environment friendly.

In this article we will be mainly discussing about the usage of diapers for babies, toddlers and young children and will be touching some important points concerning the frequency at which the diapers should be changed, the average number of diapers that can be used each month, the ideal age to stop making children wear diapers (toilet training toddlers) and ways to get rid of diapers.

How often should diapers be changed?

This is a question that worries most new parents. According to normal standards and guidelines it is recommended that the diapers of newborns should be changed every 2-3 hours and the frequency can be decreased as the baby grows older. Also, when the parents feel that the diaper has become wet or heavy, they are advised to change the baby’s diaper.

The following table mentions the average number of diapers needed per day and per month by babies of different ages (up to 1 year).

Baby’s AgeNumber of Diapers per dayNumber of Diapers per month
0-1 month10-12320
1-5 months8-10240
5-9 months8240
9-12 months8240

If the number of diapers soiled by the baby is considerably lesser than the average, it is a cause of concern and determines that the baby is getting dehydrated due to lesser consumption of milk. If the count of diapers soiled is too high, then it is not a cause for concern as most babies cannot control their bowel movements properly before the age of 1 and therefore pee and poop often during the day.

Ideal age to stop diapers

The babies have to properly undergo potty training before they can be off of diapers. While most kids are able to adapt to the usage of toilets between 18 months to 30 months, others are not able to do the same and may at times pee in their pants even until the age of 7 (If a child is bedwetting even at the age of 7, it is not a problem and is considered quite normal.

Methods to wean off the habit of diapers i.e., Potty training

When it comes to potty training a toddler, it is important to look for certain signs which ascertain that the child is becoming more aware of his/her surroundings and able to understand what the parents say as well as express themselves to an extent.

Some tips suggested by experts to potty train babies are –

  • The timing chosen to start the training should be apt. In case there are changes to the usual routine due to reasons like holidaying, home renovation or long hours at work; the child might get distracted and lose focus thereby hampering the potty training.
  • Mentally preparing the child by talking to them is very important. Showing them the packets of diapers and mentioning that they won’t be wearing any more of those once the packets finish is a good start.
  • Using books with pictures and characters that the child can relate to can help with the training. Bookshops and libraries house a variety of books that can be used for toilet training babies; picking gender specific books can help better with the process.
  • Introducing the kids to potty chairs or adapter seats that fit on top of the normal toilet prove to help immensely with the process of potty training. It is although suggested that potty chairs be used initially because they are smaller in size and children feel added security given the fact that they can actually keep their feet on the ground instead of mid-air when using adapter seats.
  • Doing trial runs by making the child sit fully clothed on the potty chair and then without clothes to get them to know how the chair feels like against their skin.
  • Observing the kids for when they have bowel movements – they can be at regular times or can be determined through their expression or behavior – and making them use the potty chair and explaining what should be done.
  • Feeding the child with enough roughage in the form of fruits and vegetables ensure minimal strain while defecating and ensuring that they drink enough water helps in the removal of toxins and impurities from their body through urine. Bringing the child to the potty every hour or so and encouraging them to release.
  • When the parents have a positive attitude, the child doesn’t feel pressured and doesn’t resist the use of the potty chair/toilet. It is important that the child be praised when he/she uses the toilet/potty chair independently.
  • Clothing the child with garments that they can easily wear and take off by themselves plays an important role in potty training. Clothes with elastic openings are much easier in this aspect than the ones having buttons or zips.
  • Flexibility is important. The child should not be forced or rushed into the process. If the child has much ease in controlling their bowel movement than the bladder movement then they can be taught on thing at a time. Sometimes, the child is able to control the bowel and bladder movements during the day but are unable to do so at nights; therefore diapers can be used only during the night.

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