It takes a little while for some mothers and fathers to loosen up about play, especially to take time out from rushing to household chores, com-munity involvements, work and so on. Perhaps you are used to doing ‘productive’ things, like going to meetings, writing letters, making sales and so on. Or perhaps you are the height of domestic efficiency, so that simply spending a languid afternoon with your baby, instead of ironing shirts or cooking wonderful meals, makes you feel guilty.

All we can say is, forget it. You are teaching one of the only human beings who will be wholly entrusted to you how to laugh, learn and love people. There is nothing more worthwhile that you will ever do.

How to fold a nappy’

Once, a nappy was a nappy, whatever the sex of the baby. Today, there are different disposable nappies for boys and girls. This is not purely a promotional gimmick on the part of manufacturers; anatomical differences mean that the concentration of urine is in different spots for boys and girls.

There are three basic methods of folding cloth nappies — the triangle (for newborn babies of both sexes), the kite and the rectangle. Generally, because they provide the most padding in front, kites and large triangles are recommended for boys, while the rectangle, with its thickest part at the back, is best for girls. Before fastening, always hold your fingers inside the nappy under the part that is to be pinned. This will protect your baby’s tummy from being jabbed.

Triangle 1. Fold nappy in half diagonally, to make a triangle. la. For newborn babies, fold in half again, to make a smaller triangle. 2. Lie baby on nappy, so the base of the triangle is level with the waist. 3. If necessary, adjust size of nappy by folding down the top edge. 4. Bring up the point of the triangle between baby’s legs. 5. Hold the point with one hand and fold one side over. 6. Grip both points firmly, while you bring the third point over on top. 7. Holding the three overlapping points firmly, pin them together, with the pin in a horizontal position to stop it poking into the baby’s tummy.

Rectangle 1. Fold nappy in half to make a rectangle. 2. Fold the bottom third up for a boy or the top third down for a girl. 3. Lie baby on nappy, with thinnest part at waist level for a boy and thickest part for a girl. 4. Bring nappy up between baby’s legs. 5. Fold sides under so they neatly overlap the section beneath. 6. Pin either side, with pins in a vertical position.

Kite 1. Place nappy on table in a diamond shape. 2. Fold down the top corner to make a straight edge. 3. Fold in the lefthand point. 4. Fold in the righthand point. 5. Fold up the point of the ‘kite’. Adjust length of nappy to fit your baby. 6. Lie baby’s waist on top (that is, longer) edge. 7. Bring nappy up between baby’s legs. 8. Bring one side over to meet between-legs portion. 9. Place pin vertically over the hip. 10. Bring other side over to meet between-legs portion. 11. Place pin vertically over the hip.