A common concern among parents who either use reusable cloth nappies or are considering using them, is if cloth nappies will hinder a little one's movement or development. There have been limited research studies in this area but there is currently no evidence to suggest that reusable cloth nappies restrict movement or delay your child reaching developmental milestones. It is important to remember that prior to the introduction and mass take up of disposable nappies in the late 20th Century, generations of children have been raised using terry nappies or similar, which were often bulkier than modern cloth nappies and those children generally continued to develop and hit their milestones regardless of nappy size. However, it should be noted that the one study in this area has found that all nappies (regardless of reusable or disposable), can impact gait and walking style and nappy free time is important when learning to walk.
Reusable nappies and hip dysplasia
Developmental dysplasia affects between 1-3% of newborns and is where the head of the femur moves out of the correct position within the hip. This can be developmental or occasionally develops during the womb depending on the position and size of baby.
Reusable cloth nappies are considered helpful in encouraging the hips to sit in the correct position and encourages the head of the femur to sit in the correct place within the hip joint.
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". This is the position that is naturally encouraged when a little one is wearing reusable cloth nappies!