Monday, July 19, 2010

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WIPEOUT!

My first daughter, Ophelia, was born 6 weeks early and was so tiny that none of our cloth diapers would fit her. Even prefolds and covers were just too much for her tiny little body. So for the first 2 months, she was in preemie sized disposable diapers. But there was one item in our stash that was definitely one size fits all - our cloth wipes. We started using washcloths wet with warm water while we were in the hospital. They kept putting packets of disposable wipers in her bassinet and we kept taking them out, finally actually putting a sign on her bassinet drawer that said “No disposable wipes - please use cloth!”

We continued our use of cloth wipes when we finally were able to bring our little nugget home. At first I used plain white washcloths that I was able to buy for $3.99 per dozen at the local department store. I had 2 dozen in a stack and used them for everything from face wipers, sponge baths, to butt wipers.

Now, we were using cloth wipes for many of the same reasons we planned on using cloth diapers: we knew it was better to use a reusable product than one that causes more waste, it was convenient (just toss in the pail with the cloth diaper), and it was infinitely less expensive to do so. Little did I know that there was an even better reason for us to be using cloth wipes:

One day while were out shopping I had to do a quick diaper change and realized I had neglected to bring an extra cloth wiper - so I resorted to that back up packet of disposable wipes. By the very next diaper change, Ophelia’s bottom was irritated and splotchy. Yikes! Could it be the disposable wipes? What is in those things anyway? Preservatives! Parabens! Artificial Fragrances! Surfactants! And these were purportedly for sensitive skin! No way was I ever going back to that!

Over the years (Ophelia is now almost 3 and we also have a 10 month old daughter!) we have used a variety of different cloth wipes. My mom made me a giant stack of wipes that were suede cloth on one side and flannel on the other, and some that were fleece and flannel - all sewn, turned, and topstitched. I won a pile of cotton fleece wipes that were smooth on one side and nappy on the other. I purchased a stack of bamboo velour and bamboo terry wipes that are so soft and amazing! And I also made myself a dozen from bamboo velour and flannel - which are super fun because the flannel has some great prints! You can turn pretty much any soft piece of cloth in to a cloth wipe! Cut up worn out flannel bed sheets, cut up receiving blankets, washcloths, toweling, cut up old T-shirts, and fleece scraps - not to mention new yardage of any fabric you want. You can cut them to fit in a wipes warmer and place a days worth in the warmer each morning. Or keep them in a disposable wipes box dry or with a bit of water or wipes solution if you don’t mind a cold wiper on your baby’s bottom!

We have always just wet a new wipe with warm water from the sink when it’s time for a diaper change. We started using a wipes solution with Ophelia after she stopped breast feeding and her poops became ‘real’ - as in real stinky and real sticky. I found that a wipes solution helped to get her bottom cleaner. We use a soap like cube that I dissolve in 2 cups of hot water. I keep it in a spray bottle (after it cools, of course) and spray it directly on her bottom and then wipe with a warm wet wiper. There are many options for wipes solutions, including making your own. You can purchase premade solutions that you can spray on a wiper or directly on the bottom, or glycerin chunks or liquids that you can mix and dilute yourself.

Now, there IS one time that I will reach for a disposable wipe. If either one of my girls has a diaper rash that requires me to use creams that are not cloth compatible, I put them in a disposable diaper and use disposable wipes to wipe them. I have made the mistake of using my cloth wipes to wipe diaper cream bottoms - and the diaper cream on the wipes ended up migrating to my diapers in the wash and I had a heck of a time scrubbing and stripping my cloth to get it in usable condition again. I have found that Seventh Generation Disposable wipes are fine on my girls bottoms - there are no artificial ingredients and are very mild. You can also find disposable cloths that you can wet in the sink just like a cloth wipe.

You can find many great cloth wipes and wipes solutions at Kelly’s Closet!

- by Heidi M.

23 comments:

moiety said...

I'm actually surprised they used disposable wipes in the hospital, especially with a preemie...my hospital used little individual gauze pads we wetted with water. They said disposable wipes were too harsh for newborns.

I've actually heard of using plain old washcloths as diapers for very small newborns. It's cheaper and easier to obtain than preemie prefolds.

Rose said...

What a great summary of the many reasons and ways to use cloth wipes! I started with cloth wipes when we really got going with cloth diapers, when my son was about 2 months old. We have a variety of wipes, but my favorite is a cotton velour wipe because it is soft and smooth and cleans up big messes really easily. I spend about $20 every 3 or 4 months on all the ingredients I need for my cloth wipe solution, and, as a seamstress, I always have fabric around if I need to whip up a few more wipes.
I make a 32 oz batch of solution every 10 days to 2 weeks in a used glass juice jar. It is mostly water with a few tablespoons each of unscented castille soap, pure aloe vera gel, sweet almond oil and jojoba oil, then a few drops of lavender essential oil. I've tried it with tea tree oil and witch hazel, but I don't think those ingredients are really necessary. I pour the solution into an Irri-Bottle, the same kind they gave me at the hospital after the baby was born to wash my soutures, and spray it directly onto the wipes as I use them. If he's a mess, I spray him directly. I know the solution isn't necessary, but I love to make stuff, so I do!

Laura W. said...

LOVE the name Ophelia. And I've been trying and trying to get my husband to use our cloth wipes at every diaper change, but he insists on disposables because he feels the cloth wipes don't clean well enough. I need to figure out a way to convince him...

Ashley said...

Thank you for this post!

I love using cloth wipes and homemade solution, and here is why...
My little guy developed a yeast rash. I was prescribed an anti fungal creme to use on him. While using disposables (dipes and wipes) I stripped all of my diapers, and made sure I changed him as soon as he wet (we went through so many diapers). As soon as he was clear we went back to cloth. Well, apparently we were still having the problem. When I used a disposable wipe he would clear up. So I decided to try making my own solution instead of just using water. I looked up what kind of solutions helped with preventing yeast rashes.

Here is what I use for a solution:
a cup of water
1/4 cup vinegar
3-4 drops tea tree essential oil
teaspoon of oil (i use a peach/apricot kernel oil that I have on hand)
little squirt of baby wash

I mix them all and put them in a recycled disposable wipes container (why waste it?) along with my cloth wipes for that day. It has worked well for us and I haven't had anymore problems for my little guy!

K. Camille Stevens said...

I make my own cloth wipes solution, too- 1 cup water, 1 tsp sensitive skin baby body wash, 1/2 tsp baby oil, and a drop of lavender essential oil or tea tree oil.

Have any of you ever had trouble with the small amount of oils from the cloth wipes affecting the absorbency of your cloth diapers? Just wondering...

nic and krista said...

I use cloth diapers but still use disposable wipes for my DH...he thinks cloth wipes are too yucky. I would like to switch though because it's a pain making sure the wipes go in the trash and the diaper in the diaper pail. It would be so much easier to throw it all in the same pail! Great post.

Aubrey said...

We love our cloth wipes! They are so useful (great for nose wipes, spit up wipes, etc.) and they were easy to make. I love how much more gentle they are on sensitive skin, we use plain water on ours and I think it has really helped keep diaper rash at bay!

Mamahen said...

I just dont get why cloth diapering mamas still use sposie wipes and think it's easier!?!? Cloth wipes are so much easier to clean up with and they are good for SO many purposes. I just make my own out of flannel and terry. Cute and so practical!

Mama Stacy said...

I'm pretty sure cloth wipes are one of my favorite parts of cloth-diapering! When we went on vacation, I used store-bought wipes, and we couldn't WAIT to get home to use our cloth ones again- I forgot how much POOP you get on your hands using those chemically-laden little throw-away wipes! :P

Mrs said...

Unfortunately I use both. Disposables on my "almost potty trained" toddler and cloth on my infant. I vowed NEVER to buy disposables again but cleaning toddler poo can be a task. I had a huge stash of washcloths leftover from my toddler that I have converted to cloth wipes for my infant. I use my own wipe solution in a squirt bottle; which is super easy to make and an extra way to save.

Jennifer said...

I am really surprised that the hospital used disposable wipes on your preemie. They used individual gauze pads wet with water for our preemie (born 5 weeks early) and even on our term newborns.
I have never used an actual cloth wipe. I have always used our huge stash of baby wash cloths. Because apparently when you're expecting your first baby people decide it is necessary to have 800 wash cloths.

Kristen said...

You mentioned using disposable diapers when the baby has diaper rash...we have found that if we use "butt cream" as we call it, we can line the inside of the diaper right up against the skin with a small baby washcloth, and continue using the cloth diapers. The cream doesn't get on the diapers, and it's not too expensive to (over time) ruin a few washcloths. :)

Heidi Maxwell said...

I don't know that the hospital staff actually used those sposie wipes on her, but they certainly kept restocking them when I took them out of her drawer! I boarded in hospital with her when she had to stay after I was discharged, so I did all of her changes myself (aside from that first night and day when she was in NICU type care) - with a warm cloth. wiper.

I find that the cloth wipers work way better than the sposie ones do. They have better coverage, wipe better, and I can use 1 cloth wiper where I would have to use 2-3 sposies. And there is less chance of getting poo on my hands with cloth - to me, sposies are the gross ones!

Eric said...

we love using cloth wipes as well. my 7yo and 3yo still wets a cloth wipe when using the bathroom. i even use them some of the time. we love buddha bunz soy wipe solution. it's the best and smells great and lasts forever. i've tried making different solutions but am stuck on them:)

Stephanie said...

I still use disposable wipes - primarily because I bought a huge box of Kirkland ones before I switched to cloth diapers that I am going through. I don't worry about trashing the non-nasty ones - I just wash them and use them as a disposable liner when I need one (or reuse until they are too mangled).

THe hospital our kids were born in used paper towels that you wet int he sink. I didn't like them for the tar poop - too hard to determine how many I would need and get the right number wet in time. But, they were fine once we got to the EBM poop (my daughter spent a week there because of infection during labor).

Mommaonajourney said...

i just attempted making my ver own wipes with my poor but workable sewing skills.... I used flannel and they are so soft and cute. I was tired of throwing wipes and dipes in two different places.... and then not knowing what to do with dirty wipes... gross... and so not going in my trash can!

Nancy said...

GOOD TO KNOW - I'm pregnant with my first, and am trying to soak up as much information as possible before my little girl arrives. Loved this post!

Ada said...

I've several types lately. Finding that mcirofiber doesn't soak up moisture as quickly as flannel, and it seems to dry out even in the wipes containers I use.
The larger flannels a friend whipped up for me are pretty awesome, and what a great way to use up scrap material!
I concur cloth wipes are way more convenient when cloth diapering full time.
Great post!

Diana said...

I use a combination of cloth wipes and disposables. I like the idea of making a homemade wipes solution...There are some great recipes here in the comments section --Thanks ladies. I just may try them with out soon!

Natalie said...

I'm making the switch to cloth wipes now! I thought I would have a hard time convincing DH, but he said "Sure! Why not?!" I'm making my own wipes, but I have to decide what solution to use and whether to buy or make...

Crystal said...

I started using baby washcloths as wipes, but after making some out of flannel, I would never go back! I just serged two squares of flannel together and they are wonderful! They clean so much better than sposie wipes and I never have to worry about getting anything on my hands. They are also way softer than the washcloths.
For my wipes solution I just mix water, a squirt of baby wash and several drops of tea tree oil then pour it over my wipes in an old sposie wipes container. I make more every couple days.
K. Camille - I was also wondering about using oil in wipes. I used to use baby oil, but then when I ran into repelling issues I stopped and that seemed to solve the problem. I can't say for sure that the oil was causing build up in my dipes, but it seems like a likely reason for build up.

Anna said...

We use cloth wipes and homemade solution...love it! I feel like we might as well throw everything in together since I'm already washing diapers. It just didn't make a lot of sense to me to have to separate out the wipes to throw in a trash can.

Cari said...

That's interesting about the hospital. Ours only gave us washcloths (along with Pampers so there ya go :)) and with my first, I couldn't comprehend how they expected me to do that all the time. When we started CDing with our second, I wanted to go for wipes, but that was a deal breaker for my husband so I folded...now as we've almost run out of wipes twice, I'm thinking of trying for cloth wipes again.