Traditional pre-moistened baby wipes are convenient for new parents, but they can contain chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances and phthalates which can irritate your baby's sensitive skin. Whether you're concerned about the environmental effect of using traditional disposable wipes or you want to limit the contact your baby's skin has with chemicals, you'll find a variety of baby wipe alternatives that help make your job easier while using fewer chemical ingredients for a more natural clean.
Renewable Resource Wipes
If the idea of adding more trash to landfills discourages you from using traditional disposable wipes, consider switching to more environmentally-friendly brands. Environmental, natural wipes contain renewable materials such as bamboo, which are then flushable or compostable when you're finished with them. Since they're biodegradable, they don't contain chemicals that could cause a reaction on your baby's skin.
Reusable Cloth Wipes
Parents who make the decision to cloth diaper their babies often also make the decision to use cloth wipes. Cloth wipes allow you to have complete control over the materials that touch your baby's skin and are simple to launder with cloth diapers. In fact, an unbleached cotton cloth diaper acts particularly well as a wet wipe. Mix a solution of one part baby shampoo to three parts water and keep in a spray bottle. Then, moisten the cloth wipe with the spray before using it during diaper changes.
Washcloth and Soap
When you're in a pinch, have run out of baby wipes or simply don't want to spend extra money on special products, a washcloth and baby soap can help achieve a thorough clean when changing your baby. Wetting a washcloth with warm water and adding a few drops of baby soap can be done nearly anywhere, which makes it a convenient choice. Just carry a few zipper storage bags in which to store the soiled washcloths when you're finished.
While wipes are typically seen as a staple in the nursery, you can go without should you have a changing station set near a faucet. When you change your baby near a faucet, you can rinse her after a changing with warm water. This may be necessary if your baby has sensitive skin or eczema, since there's no irritating rubbing necessary. Use a bathroom faucet rather than a kitchen faucet to reduce the likelihood of food contamination.
- The Daily Green; Safe Alternatives to Baby Lotions and Wipes; Deirdre Dolan; March 6, 2008
- EcoLife; An Introduction to Natural Baby Wipes; Maryruth Belsey Priebe
- The Baby Gizmo Buying Guide: From Pacifiers to Potties...Why, When, and What to Buy for Pregnancy Through Preschool; Heather MacLean; 2008