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.