Baby wipes have hit the headlines today (forget the Oscars.. Wet wipes that you use to clean your kidlets bottom with are where it’s really at) after research was published linking a commonly used preservative to a ‘rash’ (see what I did there?) of skin complaints in both bubs and the ones they assign to cleaning their bottoms.
In a research letter published in the Medical Journal of Australia (a publication I personally ensure I read monthly…) dermatologist Dr Jennifer Cahill and her associates from the Skin and Cancer Foundation in Melbourne, managed to pinpoint that the preservative methylisothiazolinone or MI, as the cause of a variety of allergic reactions, including dermatitis.
Yikes! Unless you’ve always gone down the ‘cotton wool and water’ route, chances are good you use baby wipes on a regular basis (I seriously use them for everything) and with an estimated 50% of products potentially containing MI, it’s certainly given me food for thought.
My son has very sensitive skin, especially on his bottom, and we’ve battled through a number of rather horrendous cases of nappy rash, with him suffering a nasty rash just last week. Standard nappy changes aren’t my favourite thing (oh toilet training fairy, WHEN till you pay our house a visit?) but adding in a case of nappy rash adds a special element of torture to proceedings.
Wipes are quick, convenient and generally cost effective BUT for bubs (and mums and dads) with sensitive skin, checking out a couple of alternative options might not be a bad thing. I know personally that when my son has nappy rash, we shelve the wipes for a period to prevent any further irritation. I always use the unscented/fragrance free variety but the chemical composition in itself is enough to make me steer clear, at least temporarily.
Here’s a couple of easy, natural alternatives to your traditional disposable wipe:
– Homemade Cloth Baby Wipes
While you can buy kits (like this one HERE) which contain all the necessary bits and pieces, it’s very easy to create your own, reusable baby wipes. All you need is a packet of 100% cotton flannels/wash cloths (generally you can buy bulk packets from Target/Kmart/Big W), a storage container (I use one of the bulk tubs that disposable wipes come in), some fresh water and, if you fancy it, a pure essential oil like tea tree or lavender. Pour enough water into the tub to moisten your flannels/washclothes and if you have it to hand, add a couple of drops of pure essential oil. Plonk in the wipes, snap the lid closed and you’re sorted! I then whack the used wipes straight into a bucket in the laundry and put them through their own rinse then hot wash cycle with a capful of Canesten Anti Fungal rinse.
– Cotton Pads And Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been a lifesaver in this house when nappy rash strikes and even water is too harsh. Packed with natural emollients and antibacterial properties, coconut oil can remove poo and wee while soothing restoring balance to the skin. I keep a little container of it on the changetable and use in conjunction with the larger size, pure cotton pads (Swissper make great ones)
– Natural Disposable Wipes
When you’re out and about, wipes are almost essential. You CAN take pre-moistened, homemade cloth wipes with you (and stash in either a ziplock bag or a cloth nappy bag) but having the option of a disposable wipe is handy. Sticking to brands that use natural ingredients (and that don’t have MI included on the ingredient list) is your best bet. My picks?
Gaia Natural Baby Bamboo Baby Wipes ($6.50 for 80)
Ultra soft and strong 100% bamboo wipes that are free from fragrance, petrochemicals, mineral oils, lanolin, paraben and propylene glycol.
Wotnot Baby Wipes ($7.95 for 80 wipes)
Beautifully soft wipes that are free from chlorine, sulphate, petrochemical, paraben, caustic, glycol and fragrance free and enriched with organic aloe vera.
Bambeco Bamboo Baby Wipes ($5.65 for 80 wipes)
Made from naturally harvested bamboo and free from preservatives and other irritants, Bambeco wipes are moistened with organic aloe vera, tea tree extract and de-ionised water.