Updated: May 15
Before you become a parent muslin cloths are one of the most mysterious items in the baby shop. Just what are they for? And just what are all the other things in the baby shop for? And how many will you need?
Well, I am here to tell you that muslin cloths can do the job of nearly everything in that baby shop…well…maybe not a buggy. Unless you find a way to turn one into a baby-sized flying carpet, but other than that, please get ready for the ultimate guide to muslin cloths and read on!
1. Burp cloth. This is the first use that anyone learns about. Just drape the cloth over your shoulder and let all that baby sick spill out onto the cloth and not your jumper.
2. Sun-shade. The larger muslin cloth also works as a light breathable sun-shade when you rig it up over the buggy - much safer than a heavy fleece blanket which can make it too hot and airless inside the pram.
3. A sun-shade for your car. Just trap the muslin cloth in the top of the window of your car to shade out the sun on those rare Irish days of summer which have a habit of popping up in April or September when we are least expecting them.
4. Baby sunhat. And don’t abandon that trip to the park just because your baby has no sunhat! Just knot the corners of a muslin cloth (fold it too, depending on size) and fashion a sunhat or headscarf for your baby!
5. Nappy changing mat or changing mat cover. Is your changing mat too cold? Are you confronted with a dirty-looking changing table out at the shops? Or stuck trying to change your baby on someone’s carpet, sofa, or even bed and your sleepy brain forgot the foldaway mat? Pop down a muslin cloth or two and get to work.
6. A blanket. Especially in summer a decent-sized muslin cloth works as a handy lightweight covering for your baby when you are out and about or sweltering at home.
7. Pee protector. Make sure to shield yourself from your little boy’s fountain while he is uncovered by draping a muslin cloth over him. If only I had been able to use this trick the day my little boy weed all over the doctor’s designer dress causing her to scream and jump back in horror!
8. Nappy. This brings me onto the cloth’s next use as a nappy itself! It might take a while to get it folded correctly but it is nice and soft, especially for the tiniest babies who can’t always get nappies in their size.
9. Wet wipes. Once again you have found your sleepy-headed self out of the house with no wet wipes. Or you are trying to avoid using disposable wet wipes altogether to find something more reusable. Just moisten a muslin cloth and work away. Useful for nappy changes but especially for dirty little hands about to grab their finger food and any gunky mouths afterwards.
10. Cleaning cloth. And once they have eaten you can easily mop up the baby food from the highchair using a muslin cloth; because of how absorbent they are, muslins are also ideal for…
11. Mopping up all manner of other spills, vomit and potty training accidents and other bodily fluids including nosebleeds.
12. Bandage. And they make a great, dramatic-looking hospital bandage too! In an emergency, I have even used a clean cloth face-mask for a scraped knee, but the bigger the bandage the better when it comes to a toddler proudly displaying their war wounds.
13. Teether. A knotted muslin cloth can also work as a great teether.
14. A bib! You can easily fold the muslin into a triangle and tie it around your baby’s or toddler’s neck to act as a bib.
15. A cot sheet. You can put a muslin down over a cot sheet to catch any dribble and make laundry a bit easier or if really stuck, use a larger-sized one actually AS a cot sheet.
16. Comforter. If your baby or toddler is struggling to get to sleep, you can hand them a muslin cloth to snuggle up next to. Babies love them! Lots of nice fabric to squish and soft on the skin. Depending on the design they can be colourful and interesting to look at too.
17. Toy. Which brings us onto muslin cloths as toys. Cleverly knotted, a muslin cloth can be a doll to keep a hungry toddler occupied in a café or restaurant or it can make a great game of peekaboo for babies. Keep it up and you’ll soon see your baby starts playing peekaboo with the muslin cloth all by themselves! In the bigger sizes it can make a great superhero cape for an older child.
18. Nursing cover. If you feel more comfortable with a nursing cover, a muslin cloth can be great for that too.
19. Buggy seat protector. Catch all the biscuit crumbs of older babies and toddlers with a handy muslin cloth and protect the buggy you nearly took out a second mortgage for!
20. Playmat. Lay out a larger muslin cloth on the floor to make a clean and safe play area for tummy-time or to sit a baby down on to play with toys.
21. Use a folded one as a shallow baby-safe pillow which will also catch all those night-time dribbles.
22. Handkerchief. For you when you are trapped on the sofa under a sleeping baby and there’s nothing and no-one else around. This works for babies and toddlers too of course.
23. A towel. Your toddler has soaked themselves in a puddle or just soaked themselves full stop. Use a muslin cloth to gently pat little legs and feet dry.
24. A skirt or a dress. And if you rushed out with no spare clothes? Fashion a skirt or a toga for your child out of a large muslin cloth! It will give them enough cover for the journey home at least.
25. Day-trip rescue aid! Finally dragged out of the house with all your baby paraphernalia and restless toddler in tow only to discover that the swings and slides are wet from a brief shower of rain? Whip out the muslin cloth to dry it all off and soon your toddler’s howling will abate.
26. A cold compress. And if they do manage to slip and bump their head, you can use your muslin cloth as a cold compress. Just wrap around a bag of frozen peas and off you go!
So if you buy nothing else in the baby shop, get yourself a stack of muslin cloths in various sizes and you will be a parenting pro in no time.
And once they are bigger? Use the muslin cloths as tea towels or to exfoliate your skin, to shine your shoes, to do the dusting or wrap your, ahem, home-made bread…Apparently you can also use them to make your own jam or even cheese, all while forgetting the endless excretions of human bodily fluids of various kinds the cloths have seen before. Enjoy!
What do you use your muslin cloths for? Come and share your best parenting tips and tricks with some other parents at the next Chatterparrot baby sign and music classes starting in the first week of May! www.chatterparrot.ie/book-online