Posts Tagged ‘cloth diapering’

Health tips for raising a green baby

I thought this was a great little article about how to raise a green baby. Of course, this is just for starters, but great first steps!

UNDATED (WJRT) — (09/15/08)–At some point during pregnancy, most parents worry about the world they’re bringing their child into, and being eco-friendly is topping a lot of priority lists right now.
If you are worried about keeping it “green” when you have a baby, we have some tips for parents and parents-to-be:

1) Cloth Diapers: Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose and every day, 50 million of these go into landfills in the United States. Disposables are convenient, it’s true, but cloth diapers have come a long way. Some cloth diapers are just like the kind you remember — layered flat diapers that you fold up onto the baby and secure with a safety pin. But there are many more options out there. There are pre-fold diapers, pocket diapers, fitted diapers, contour diapers and even all-in-one (AIO) diapers. The only extra time it takes is to wash the diapers. Another benefit — cloth diapers cause fewer (if any) diaper rashes than disposables, and some moms swear babies are easier to potty-train with cloth diapers than disposables.

2) Make your Own Baby Wipes: In the United States, 5,000 baby wipes are used per baby. Try making your own to cut back on waste. Cut pieces from cotton or flannel clothing or other material and sew the edges to prevent fraying. For the wipe solution, come up with your own variation, or try this one from babysabode.com: 
2 cups distilled water    
2-3 drops of tea tree oil (antiseptic and cleansing qualities)
1 T. your favorite baby oil  
2-3 drops of lavender oil (for its soothing qualities)
2 tsp. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hemp Soap  

3) Breastfeed! It’s common sense, really. Breastfeeding is better for the health of the baby, the health of the mother and the health of the environment. 

4) Buy Organic Cotton Products: Here are a few reasons you may want to think twice before buying traditionally grown cotton. The chemicals used on cotton are among the most toxic substances used in farming; the runoff from irrigation seeps into our drinking water. Commercial cotton farming uses about 3 percent of the farmland but consumes 25 percent of the chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In the United States, about 600,000 tons of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are applied to cotton fields each season. Organic cotton is just a healthier choice. Organic crib mattresses and organic sheets are also green steps to consider.

5) Clean Smarter! Wash baby’s clothes in cold water, hang them to dry and try a simple homemade detergent of baking soda and vinegar. Or, if that’s too “homemade,” find an environmentally safe laundry detergent.

6) Make your own baby food: Making your own food not only eliminates tons (literally) of glass baby food jars, but it’s also a lot cheaper. (We know you can recycle glass, but recycling uses energy too!) Simply buy regular food that your family would eat and serve it to baby. The food may need to be blended to a soft consistency. Blend up a week’s worth of “meals” and store them in baby-size reusable containers in the freezer. Feeding baby organic food is also cheaper if done this way, by using frozen organic fruits and veggies, which are cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

7) Other Tips: Use plain old (chemical-free) olive oil as baby oil/lotion for your little one; buy baby items second-hand or swap with other parents; go online and find ways to make your own baby goods (i.e. diapers, breast pads, toys and baby clothes); and choose old-fashioned wooden, organic cotton or homemade toys.

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Cloth baby wipes showdown

A couple weeks ago, I made the horrifying discovery that my favorite baby wipes, Kirkland Premium Baby Wipes (from Costco), contained an extremely hazardous ingredient and vowed to switch to cloth wipes. Well, we made the switch and so glad I did for many reasons.

I researched to find the most economical, yet efficient cloth wipes and selected 3 to try (granted there are oodles of cloth wipes out there). I only considered unbleached cotton or bamboo. Two of the wipes I selected were all cotton, one terry and one flannel, and the third was bamboo.

Kissaluvs are my favorite. They are thick, unbleached, undyed, terry cotton with two sides. One side is burley terry loops, perfect for cleaning up bigger messes and the other side is smooth for the final touches. They are soft, effective and not to thick, yet not to thin. But if you are used to a thin baby wipe and prefer something very thin, you may not like these as well. I however, had no problems going from a thin baby wipe to these. Kissaluvs wipes hold a lot of mess too, even with a pretty messy diaper, I only needed 2 wipes and in less messy occurrences, only one wipe was needed to do the job. They also washed very well and though we’ve only used them a couple weeks, they seem like they will be the most durable of the bunch. They are affordable to at $1 per wipe. I give them an A.

BumGenius’ bamboo wipes were also excellent. They were very soft, made of bamboo and a touch of polyester. Bamboo is more environmentally friendly in that it grows quickly and does not require the use of pesticides like cotton traditionally has. They are thinner than the Kissaluvs, but still have a two-sided texture, though more of the two-sidedness of a cheap Gerber baby washcloth, which they reminded me of, though the BumGenius bamboo wipes were certainly much, much softer. These wipes are a tad thicker than a disposable baby wipe, so those looking for a thinner wipe may prefer these. The also did the job well and did I mention they were soft? These would also make great washcloths for baby’s delicate skin. They are a little more pricey averaging $12.95 for 8 wipes. I give these an A-.

The unbleached cotton flannel wipes were also nice. These were the thinnest of the bunch, about the same as a disposable wipe. They were great for smaller messes and were fairly soft. However, you will need to use a few more of these than you would the Kissaluvs, which would mean more washing. They also did not wash as well for me – the ends were rolling after 1 washing, which is not a huge issue, but my concern was they would not be as durable as the other 2 wipes. I did like the fact that they were made of unbleached cotton. But if you prefer a thinner, no frills wipe, then you will certainly like this one. The flannel wipes are also the most affordable at 15 wipes for $9 for the ivory version. I give them a B (To be fair, I may have given them an A- if I didn’t like the Kissaluvs so much! The minus would be for the ends curling.)

As for how I used these wipes, I got a #5 plastic squeezable water bottle from Target and filled it up. All the wipes were roughly the same size and folded in half they fit in a regular wipe container. When I needed a wipe, I squirted one with water and wiped away. I keep (or try to) a small bowl in the closet by the changing table to dump the dirty wipes into. When the job is finished I take the wipes to the laundry room where I have a bucket of water to dump these in. Come wash time, I wring them out, toss ‘em in the washer and that’s it. A little more work than a disposable, but surprisingly, it’s not as much effort than I thought it would be. I work full time, so it’s not like I am looking for things to fill my “spare time” up with. 

How many will you need? That really depends on how often you do washing. If you cloth diaper, it would be easy to toss these in the wash and you could get by with less. Since I planned on 1 time a week and my daughter is 2, I figured I could get by with a few less, but baby #2 will be here in 15 or so weeks, so I also considered that. I got 20 of the Kissaluvs, 8 of the BumGenius and 15 of the flannel wipes (counting individual wipes). I probably go through half this in a week with the 2 year old, but I know the new baby will require much more! Probably starting with 20 is reasonable, more if you have a younger baby (who poops more) and plan to wash only once as week.

Care is also very easy. I received a little “instruction” manual with the wipes. It was recommended that they be washed and dried 3 times before use to help remove the natural oils. This was probably the most painstaking part. I washed and dried them with towels, then with bed sheets, then with more towels… But soon we were up and running.

Again, I am glad I made the switch. I feel like this is a win-win-win. I feel good that these are gentle on my daughter’s bottom, both in softness and lack of chemicals being “applied” at each wipe. I feel good that I am not adding to landfills, and these are being washed with items that I wash weekly anyway, so I am not using extra water or electricity to wash the wipes. We will still use disposable wipes for on the go, but I will make sure they are unbleached, chemical-free and safe, like Seventh Generation or Tushies wipes . As a last resort we will use Pampers Sensitive wipes since they are more readily available, though they do contain parabens, so will not be my first choice, but who does not run out of wipes on the go? Happens to the best of us…

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