Do cloth nappies inhibit movement?

Monday, 15 March 2021  |  Laura @ TKC

Something that we often get asked about is whether cloth nappies can inhibit or slow down development in terms of walking- and this question always comes from concerned parents who have had unsolicited comments from a family member or childcare provider about why their child isn't walking yet... looking for some reusassurance or rebuttals?

There are a number of things to note when it comes to this topic, which I will break down below:

Most generations grew up in cloth nappies

Disposable nappies did not become commonly used the UK until the mid-80's, prior to which we all grew up wearing reusable nappies. Terry squares no less, which aren't exactly known for their trim fit either...

If there was an issue with how these nappies affected our development or posture, we would all have suffered. But no, there is absolutely no concern to be had when it comes to cloth nappies and restricted movement. It might be true that a baby in a disposable nappy might start to walk earlier than  a baby in a cloth nappy, but all infants develop at their own pace and there is no evidence to suggest a correlation between nappy type and walking speed.

To be honest, once your little one does get on the move, they are likely going to be grateful for their nice padded cloth nappy bum!

Cloth nappies and hip position

A cloth nappy will keep a baby's hips in a wider position than a disposable nappy- and in fact this is an optimum position. To better understand this, we need to consider the anatomy of an infant in it's early years.The hip is a ball and socket joint, and during the first few months of life the ball is loose in the socket. If the hips are held into a stretched out position and not supported adequately, the ball is more likely to deform the edges of the socket, or slip it completely.

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute says "The healthiest position for the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent"

Image showing optimum position for babies hips to prevent hip dysplastia

Ever been advised by your doctor to "double up on nappies"? This is in order to create a greater width at the crotch to help encourage that optimum hip position. A cloth nappy (that has a bit more substance and volume to it will help achieve that. So scrap doubling up on single-use disposables, use a reusable nappy instead!

We are not saying that disposabe nappies cause hip dysplasia, but that a cloth nappy can help maintain the postion needed to ensure correct hip developement.

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