Benefits of nappy free time

You’ve probably heard that you should give your baby some nappy free time, but have you been put off by the thought of them lying in their own wee or rolling around in a poo explosion? Understandably, it sounds like you’d be giving yourself even more work and extra baths and laundry, but before you reject this idea, you might like to know about the benefits of nappy-free time.

  • Helps to minimise nappy rash

Nappy rash is normal, but some babies get it more than others, no matter how diligent you are. It is caused by germs on the baby’s skin and occurs mainly when covered by a wet or dirty nappy for too long. Nappies can rub on their sensitive skin, and irritate it further, so having some time with the nappy off allows them the opportunity to air-dry the area.

  • Gives them greater freedom of movement

Nappy off time assists with gross motor development by making it easier and more comfortable to practice skills such as rolling, crawling, stretching, and putting those little tootsies in their mouth. It’s also an opportunity for them to experience new sensations and experience their world in a different, developmentally supportive way.

  • Provides an opportunity to get ‘back to nature’

Babies come into the world naked, so it makes sense for them to have some time to occasionally be the way nature intended. If you think about it, bathtime is the only real nappy free time they get in any given day, aside from a minute or less between nappy changes.

  • Can potentially have a calming effect

If your baby is grizzly or unsettled, strip off their clothes and nappy (if it isn’t cold), and you just might be able to easily soothe your baby when nothing else seems to work. Add in a gentle massage and some soft music for increased relaxation. Humans are generally pretty happy when they’re nude at any age!

5 tips to give your baby nappy free time:

  1. Find a time during the day when your baby isn’t ready for a feed or a sleep. They’re not going to enjoy it as much if they’re hungry or tired. If they often poo at a certain time of day, that’s probably not the best time either!
  2. Place your baby on either a plastic mat, waterproof picnic blanket outdoors (remember the sunscreen), or some towels. Accidents are inevitable, so use something you can easily wipe down and disinfect, or throw in the washing machine.
  3. Remove their nappy for 5-10 minutes, and aim for some nappy free time at least once a day during playtime. You could also combine it with tummy time for an added benefit, and to allow for even more little bottom airing time. Make it a part of your daily routine.
  4. Keep an eye on your baby to ensure that they’re not getting cold. If they are, you could always put a top and some socks on them, or dress them and try again later. Watch for any signs that they’re about to have an accident, so that way you can minimise the mess.
  5. If your baby has an accident (or three!), either give them a bath or wash them and pat dry with a towel. If they have or are prone to getting nappy rashes or eczema, apply some soothing emollient cream, such as Sudocrem to soothe, heal, and protect their skin before putting on a fresh nappy.
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