Reusable Wipes Vs. Disposable Wipes… Which one’s for your family?

A guest post from our BabyNatal Bedford teacher, Hazel Newhouse.

What to use?

What to use?

I like to try out my options when it comes to baby care. I won’t knock it ‘till I’ve tried it, so to speak. Something we all use, and tend to not think twice about is baby wipes. What are your options? Which is cheaper? Do I use Reusable or Disposable? Or plain old cotton wool? And let’s face it, when you’re pregnant, your brain works in mysterious ways. The simplest of decisions becomes a massive task to undertake. I once dragged Jay around 4 different shops once, just to find the perfect tea towels. Strange, I know.

Now, as advised by many, a newborn baby only needs plain cotton wool and cooled boiled water to clean their bottoms. A new born baby’s skin is very delicate and sensate to chemicals found in even the ‘purest’ of baby wipes, so cotton wool is advised. But which cotton wool? You can buy cotton pleat, cotton balls, cotton pads- Agh! How can something so simple suddenly become so confusing!

Cotton wool on a roll and even the cotton balls are cheaper but do have a tendency to leave little fibres on baby’s skin after use. This suddenly does not seem so great when still in the cord care phase, but rest assured, this is more of a ‘looks’ problem – cotton wool fibres are not dangerous when only a small amount are left behind – Cotton wool is pure and natural after all!

Cotton pads (often found in the make-up section in the chemists) tend to hold their form a little better than cotton wool balls, and so do not leave so many fluffy bits when using. When using cotton wool remember to use plain boiled water, and allow it to cool down to eliminate the risk of burning baby.

For hygiene reasons, you will need to use a new piece of wool after each wipe.  Cotton wool can be tougher to get off that sticky tar-like meconium that baby’s first poop out, but Cotton wool and water really has withstood the test of time, and is still used and highly recommended today.

Not many people realise that you can buy reusable baby wipes. I knew people who had made their own from cut up terry cloths, and even micro-fibre cloths, but it all seemed so fiddly, what with the risk of fraying. It was something I had always meant to have a go at and never actually got around to! When visiting the London Baby Show a few weekends ago I came across the company Cheeky Wipes that made and sold reusable wipes. They promised to be simple and easy to use, while saving money, the environment and hassle. After watching a simple demonstration it was my husband that decided we should give them a go, to see if they were a product that could work for us.

2 weeks later, I am still impressed and I must admit I have surprised myself at how easy I find them to use, and how happy my daughters’ bottom is! The product uses two boxes, one for dirty wipes and the other for clean, and both are filled with water and a few drops of nice smelly oil. There is a washable net bag, suspended in the ‘dirty’ box so that even the most poop-squeamish don’t have to worry about having to touch nasty wipes when putting them in the wash – the bag lifts straight out, avoiding contact betwixt muck and fingers.  The kit also comes with 2 travel bags, one to put your fresh wipes in, and another for your dirty wipes, that also has a netted bag inside the carry bag, so you do not have to touch those pooey wipes again!

Everything in the kit is easily labelled ‘mucky’ or ‘fresh’ so nothing can be muddled up. I found the reusable wipes just as great for baby’s skin, as for my purse, and of course, the planet as well. I found that it usually only took 1 wipe to clean a bottom or just a freshen up, and 2-3 wipes for a real messy one. Obviously you can make your own wipes, but when there are companies offering you products that you literally ‘just add water’ to, that big decision to move from disposable to reusable, has suddenly become a little easier to make.

Finally, we need to consider shop bought baby wipes. Now, this may seem an obvious choice for parents, once baby has settled into this world. I did not even think twice about buying and using them. They make bottom changing so quick and easy. You can just bin your dirty wipes, never to be seen again! Just remember not to flush them down the toilet, as these can lead to a costly plumber’s bill! Another plus side – they are always to hand and can be popped straight into your changing bag when travelling out and about, with little hassle. Oh and if your anything like me they are not just for bums, but for cleaning sticky fingers, faces, and even wiping down the table after dinner. I’m sure that’s not just me, right?!

But are disposable wipes as great as they sound? They do contain chemicals that new bottoms are not used to, and they must be having a small impact on the environment…and that’s just the wipes, I didn’t even think about the packaging before today. Disposable baby wipes, do exactly what they say on the packet, and in terms of convenience, they are an invention praised by mums every day – it just can’t be denied.

I have tried and tested all of these, and I must admit that I have a personal list of pros and cons for each of these bum-cleaners. Try them out for yourself and check out your options, you may surprise yourself. You might decide to mix and match, or use of all three. You may have your heart set on using just one.

Have a go, and see what makes you (and baby) happy.

hazel BabyNatal Bedford

Hazel is a mum of one + one on the way and BabyNatal teacher for Bedford. Hazel runs BabyNatal classes from Bedford Mothercare on Saturday mornings.

Find out more about Hazel on our main website here.

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