Anyone who has had children knows that when it comes to looking after a new baby, everything goes out of the window with the exception of the quest for sleep and the endless cycle of feeding, changing and rocking, for the first month. Good intentions about eating well, being responsible and ethical in the choices we make, and the various things we can do to help the environment can easily slip by the wayside in favor of convenience and cost cutting.
However, when it comes to bringing up your kids in an environmentally-responsible way, there are a few things we can do that make a real difference without making life harder for ourselves in the first few critical years. A recent trend looks set to enhance the way we plow through resources at such a rate, and even looks set to improve life a little along the way – welcome to the latest craze in green parenting – the reusable baby wipe.
Young children get through baby wipes at a rate reaching in to the hundreds every week. From changing diapers right through to mopping up spills, it seems that these little cleaning gems are the unsung heroes of childcare. Milk being thrown up? Reach for the baby wipe. Hiccup with a bottle? A baby wipe will sort it. While they are indispensable for all of life’s little accidents, the humble baby wipe can also take a huge toll on the environment, ending up in landfill and needlessly clogging up our bins.
The good news is, reusable wipes are not only great for the environment, they are also much more cost-effective than their disposable counterparts. Why bother spending money on something that will be used once and then thrown away, when you can make reusable cloth baby wipes for next to nothing? Using home-made wipers is not difficult to do, and they can be easily washed along with diapers to cut down on laundry and make sure you always have a steady supply to hand when you need one.
There are two ways to benefit from the new trend in eco-parenting – either make your own wipes, or buy them online from a cloth diaper retail store. Kind on your baby’s skin, they are also great news for people who like to keep things super sensitive. If you simply don’t have time right now to make your own wipes, head online and get them delivered along with your next batch of diapers.
Making your own baby wipes
To make your own supply of reusable cloth baby wipes, all you need to do is pick out an economical absorbent fabric. One hundred percent cotton is the best for this, or you could opt for a blend of both cotton and bamboo. Cut your fabric in to even sized squares and hem them with a zig zag stitch. Second-hand fabric works just as well – pop along to a thrift store for a ready supply, which will reduce your costs even more.
An eight inch square will work best, but experiment with different sizes for different needs. Once you’re washed and dried your cloths, you can prepare a spray to assist with cleaning, made up of warm water and add in some olive oil and a mild liquid soap such as baby shampoo. This will smell great, and also moisturize the skin and keep it clean. If you like, try out different types of oil including avocado, jojoba or almond for different scents. Popping a couple of drops of your favorite child-safe essential oil, such as lavender or tea tree, will also assist the antiseptic properties of the spray and add in a scent to your wipes, but use these sparingly as they can irritate your baby’s skin if they are added in with too much of a concentration.