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A Bare Behind – Caring for Baby Naturally.

February 17, 2009

For anyone who has experienced the joys of bringing home your little bundle of love you know that where baby goes,  smelly stuff soon follows.  In the maternity hospital and during the early days of caring for your newborn most people stick to cleaning the offending area with cotton balls and tepid water. It is only once the memories of birth disappear and the stir crazy feeling of being cooped up at home kick in that the carer ventures out. Suddenly, those little cotton balls and tepid water look awkward and far too messy to be dealing with as you try to navigate the world, baby in tow.  Reaching for those wet wipes is oh so easy…..

Baby wipes have been around for nearly forty years and some of the leading brands have developed products with excellent safety profiles. Fragrance free varieties are available, preservative and other possible sources of irritants have been minimized and the final products have been tested and re-tested on countless little bottoms!  Baby wipes are subject to cosmetic industry regulation and any claims of a  “mildness” or “tear free” nature have to be rigorously tested.  If you do choose to use baby wipes on your little we advise   you to visit the brands website and check out the FAQ section, ingredients list and brand information to find a brand that suits you!

While they may be safe, Baby Wipes are not the best thing for the environment.   The wipe is usually made of a woven cloth that does not readily biodegrade. They are often too large to be flushed and would not break down in water anyway.  They contain around 10 different ingredients (of which some may be “natural”)  and are usually packed in plastic pouches.   So, based on these two points:  General Exposure to Chemicals and Environmental concerns many carers of young babies are seeking an alternative. A good web site offering advice and resources is the Womens Environmental Network, I am sure that they would be happy to share their info with men too!

If you choose to either ditch the wipes altogether or only use them in extreme situations (OK, all of you carers KNOW that a 10 hour shopping trip is an Extreme situation) then here are some ideas.

baby-with-book-small-for-web

Easy

Use wipes when out and cotton balls (or loo role) and water when at home.  This cuts down on chemical exposure and while there will always be an environmental impact the impact of this strategy is lighter – Small Steps!

Harder

Involves a bit of shopping around and  more expensive to buy but there are brands of baby wipe out there that contain organic ingredients and are compostable  (is that a word?).  Alternatively you can again look on the larger brands web sites to see if they have a more sustainable option (they may surprise you!).

Hardest

Make your own wipe solution!

Now, trying to make a cup of tea with a newborn can be  a bit of a struggle so see how you go. There are a number of ways that you can make your own baby wipe solution.  My favorite is to go with a type of cold cream made with olive oil and Shea nut butter.

baby wipe solution

How to Apply the  oil.

Add a little to a tissue and wipe, the tissue can then be flushed or preferably put into compost.

Use with cloth wipes and then wash as usual.

What does this do?

This simple recipe contains natural oils that help to remove soil from the skin in a gentle way. No detergent is needed as the wiping action and the oily lotion will gently clean.

Why put it in a squeeze tube?

The lotion  is not preserved so to enable it to be kept for longer a squeeze tube will limit the lotions exposure to the air and to your fingers!

*Where can I buy the ingredients?

There are many places for the hobby cosmetics manufacturer.  I can suggest the following to get you started:

Australia

New Directions Aromatherapy.

Sydney Essential Oils

USA

Herbal Accents

Bramble Berry

UK

The Soap Kitchen

TAKE CARE

This recipe involves the heating of oils and waxes.  Please ensure that little fingers are kept away from the pans! Also test out the product on yourself before applying to baby.  Leave for a few hours to check for a skin reaction. If you react, do not use this on your baby!

NOTES

There are lots of other wipe solutions recipes on the internet calling for Borax as an emulsifier (something to bind the oil and water together). This would work well but borax can be quite irritating. Be sure to do a test before using that mixture!

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCE WITH US BY LEAVING A COMMENT!


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