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Baby Steps to Cloth Diapers: Wipes

If you’ve always wanted to try cloth diapering but you’re not sure where to start and you’re convinced you’ll be over-whelmed by laundry, how about beginning with just the wipes?

Diapers aren’t the only thing filling landfills as a result of baby bottoms.  Wipes take up a lot of space, use a lot of resources for their creation, and are often soaked in unnecessary chemicals.

Pre-fabricated Cloth wipes

  • bumGernius Flannel Baby Wipes  
  • Kissaluvs Baby Wipes
  • Baby washcloths come anywhere from 3 to 12 in a pack and can be bought on the cheap in department stores.  Not to mention that you probably received so many upon the birth of your child that she could use a new one every night for six months and still not run out!  They’re a great size and often less expensive than cloths advertised as “cloth baby wipes.”

 Do-It-Yourself wipes

  • Cut up receiving blankets are a nice, soft absorbent material.
  • Cut up burp cloths also work well.
  • Head over to your local second hand shop and buy up a few $1 t-shirts.  There are usually racks and racks of them.  T-shirt material is also nice and soft.  Just check the labels and make sure you’re not buying t-shirts with synthetic material which will not be absorbent enough and won’t feel as soft on baby’s bottom.  Just wash, cut and wipe!

 Using your wipes

There really is no need to use anything other than water on your baby’s bottom.  Fill up a thermos or Tupperware with warm water at the beginning of the day.  You can either put in 8-10 wipes from the start so they’re already wet, or dunk them in when you need one.

Or, like me, you can take the minimalist approach and simply stick a wipe or two under the faucet when you need to change a diaper.  Pee gets one wipe.  Poop gets two or three (depending on the size of the gift, of course).

Storing and washing your wipes

You don’t need a fancy diaper pail.  In fact, a normal trash can with a lid works a little better than the pails advertised just for diapers.  Try to get one with a foot peddle since your hands will be full.

You can buy special re-usable bags for your pail, but you can also use plain old garbage bags until you get the hang of it.

You do not need to put water, soap, or chemicals in your diaper pail.

Put your wipes in the wash once or twice a week or the ammonia smell will start leaking from the pail.  Wash on hot or warm in a mild detergent plus do a second rinse with some vinegar.  The second rinse really helps, plus vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial agent which gets out any residual smell.

Dry them as you would dry your towels (hanging outside makes them smell great and save energy!).

Staying Sane

Transitioning to cloth can be hard for some families so don't stress yourself if you need to "cheat" sometimes and use disposable wipes.  This is especially important when you're out of the house.  Cloth is harder to use out of the home so it takes longer to feel comfortable with it.  Keep using disposable wipes when you're out and about if it means you can continue to get used to them at home.  Even just using cloth wipes for one or two changes a day will make a difference. 

Stay-tuned for the next step in Baby Steps to Cloth Diapers.

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