Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cloth Diapering 101 - Cloth Wipes

I admit, I use disposable wipes ALOT.  They are just so easy.  You can keep them everywhere so you always have some handy.  They are pretty effortless.

It took me quite a bit to get the hang of cloth wipes.  I did alot of things that didn't "work" before I found what works for us.  I'll tell you the things I tried, since I do think they would work for other folks, and then what finally worked for us.

First, lets talk about the wipes. 

  • There are a number of sources for cloth wipes.  My rule of thumb is that I don't pay more than 70 to 80 cents per wipe.  I have bought wipes here and here.  The exception to my rule are the Thirsties wipes - they are sososososososososososo soft.  And pricey, too.
  • Of course you can make your own.  Put two pieces of material together and sew them up, it's that simple. 
  • What material?  Minkee and velours (cotton or bamboo) are very soft, but more pricey. Terry is textured and can "grab" the poo best. Fleece isn't so good for wipes since it isn't very absorbent. Flannel is a great sturdy, absorbent, soft material for wipes.  Most wipes are flannel on one side for a cute print, and terry or another absorbent material on the other side for texture.
  • Go to the dollar store and buy cheap washcloths.  Those make great wipes too.  Although they end up being only one layer, so if you want two layers, you have to sew them together.  Old towels cut up work well too.  One mama cut up a flannel sheet to make wipes.
  • It helps if they are two-ply, since you can then wipe with one side, fold them over, and wipe with the other side.

Wipes are only as good as the solution you use to wipe them.  There are a number of different recipes.  Do an internet search and you will find a BUNCH.  All the recipes basically have a cleanser of some kind, an oil of some kind (to help the wipe glide over the skin) and a solvent (water, witch hazel, etc.)  The basic wipe solution I have used with the best results is a little baby wash, a small* amount of olive oil, both dissolved in water.  Lately, we have been using the Kissaluvs Diaper Potion Lotion diluted in water, which has helped with heat-like rashes.  It has tea tree oil, which has natural antibacteral and cleansing properties.  And smells great!  I have also started using Thirsties Booty Luster, but I like it more in the bottle than I do on the bottom (gasp - a Thirsties product I don't ADORE!)

Okay, seems simple.  Wipes and solution.  I don't know why, but putting these two together has been the biggest challenge for me.  I bought the Prince Lionheart Cloth Wipes Warmer when Wee One was a newborn, since I believed anything that touched her bottom had to be warm and comfortable.  I would soak the wipes in the solution and wring them out, then fold them in the wipes warmer.  That particular warmer uses anti-microbial pads in the bottom, and I used distilled water in the solution.  But if you didn't use the wipes within a day or two, they started smelling rather musty and gross.  That wasn't a problem when she was a newborn and would poo every diaper.  Once she got bigger and would only poo once a day, we weren't using the wipes fast enough to fight the musty smell.

I was also a bit challenged on what to do about wipes on the go.  That's where disposable wipes REALLY come in handy.  I tried soaking some wipes in the solution and then putting them in a small wet bag.  I left them in the car for a couple of days, and ended up with mildewed wipes.  There HAD to be a better way.

Then I bought a squirt bottle, and I realized how easy it is.  I was totally missing the point on cloth wipes.  The best way to use cloth wipes is to wet them when you need them.

Get a squirt bottle.  A sport water bottle with a pull-top is great.  I found some great ones in the travel bottle section at T*arget today.  Some mamas say they have used the wash bottle they got from the hospital to clean their bottom area after their delivery.  I didn't have a vag delivery, so I didn't get that take-home kit.  Flip-top bottles work well too.  You just need a plastic bottle that you can squeeze to get the liquid out.  Um, you might want to label it "wipe solution" so people in your family don't think its juice for the baby when they pull it out of the diaper bag.  Not that we would know anything about THAT in our family. 

With your squeeze bottle, you can just pack dry wipes and the bottle in the diaper bag.  When you need a wipe, just squeeze some solution onto a wipe and it's ready to go.  My technique is to pull the top of the bottle, and hold the wipe in my other hand, cupped a little so if I squeeze too much for the wipe to absorb, it goes into the palm of my hand and not everywhere.  Then I immediately push the cap closed on the wipe bottle.  That way if the Wee One does pick it up, she can't squeeze it all over her - or into her mouth.

Once used, the wipe just goes into the wet bag with the dirty diaper, and gets washed with the rest of the diaper laundry.

Cloth wipes have TONS of other uses too.  I have used them as washcloths in the bath, as cloth napkins to wipe her hands after eating out, as nose wipes for runny noses, etc.  And sometime soon I'll introduce you to the idea of "family cloth" - cloth wipes aren't just for baby bottoms, you know!

*You only want a small amount of whatever kind of oil you are using.  Because the baby's skin will then touch a diaper, and because the wipes are washed with the diapers, you don't want too much oil.  Too much oil may cause your diapers to lose their absorbency and begin repelling.  You only want enough oil so the solution is soft on the skin.  I have made wipe solution by just diluting baby wash, and it works fine.  It suds just a little more than if there is oil in it, but not much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want me some of that Bootie Lustre