There is no manual on “having a baby” so as parents we turn to the next best thing: baby magazines. Inside the pages of these books are long lists of everything a newborn baby
needs: changing tables, high chairs and nursery furniture, lots and lots of clothing, bedding and blankets, baby shampoo, oils, soaps, cleansers, bottles and sterilizing kits, baby milks and foods, and packets and packets of diapers.
I’ve always been very big on the all-natural route. It takes just a little bit more planning to find cloth diapers and toiletries made from natural ingredients, organic baby food and clothing made from organic cotton and wool. The only problem is that for most of us, going all-natural can be way too expensive.
There are many items that you can obtain second-hand from family or friends and second-hand stores. Another way to save money while going green is to make some items yourself. Natural baby wipes are an excellent example – not only can you create a skin-nourishing formula that will be much better for baby’s skin than the chlorine and chemicals in store-bought wipes, but you can use flannel or terry cloth “towels” that can be washed and re-used rather than added to the land dump.
There are many places to purchase natural wipes, but why not try making them yourself? Here’s how.
The Cloth Wipes
If you’re like most of us, you probably received fifteen million receiving blankets at the baby shower. Despite what the magazines say, I promise that you won’t be using these nearly as much as you might think. This is the cheapest way to make your cloth wipes – but you can also visit the craft store and get a couple yards of flannel for just a few bucks.
Going the purchased flannel way, make sure that you first cut the yards into blocks about the same size as a regular receiving blanket (just a bit longer than a square).
1. Cut each flannel receiving blanket or sized flannel material into four strips from top-to-bottom. Try marking out the lines with a pencil and ruler to make them evenly sized.
2. Cut each strip of flannel into three blocks, from left-to-right. Again, you’ll find your efforts much more worthwhile if you measure the strip evenly before you cut.
3. You should have 12 squares now, measuring about 7″ x 7″ (possible a bit thinner if you used flannel material rather than receiving blankets). Now, take two squares and set them together. If you sew by hand, trim the edges with pinking shears to avoid fraying. Otherwise, machine-sew them with a tight, even zig-zag stitch.
4. Repeat this process until you have about 24 wipes.
The Wipes Cleaning Solution
When my daughter was born, she was allergic to everything from her milk formula to the detergent I washed our clothing with. It took a few minor changes to fix these problems, but her diaper area was constantly red and irritated no matter how often or carefully she was changed.
I threw all my herbal books across the kitchen table and started listing baby-safe ingredients that would help heal her skin, and ended up with this cleansing solution that, combined with the flannel cloth wipes, was all-natural and helped her skin.
While herbal products are a safe, natural way of care, you shouldn’t use any skin product until your baby is at least 48 hours old. During this time, a clean cloth and warm water are best – definitely do not use any commercial, chemically-created products at this time.
The all-natural ingredients in this baby wipe wash, including lavender, aloe, and rosewater, will nourish your baby’s skin while effectively preventing and healing diaper rash.
1. Fold your cloth wipes in thirds length-wise and place in a “shoe box” sized plastic container with tightly securing lid.
2. Gather the following ingredients: lavender essential oil (not fragrance oil!), rosewater & glycerin, aloe vera gel, and castor oil.
3. In a bowl, place about 1 cup’s amount of aloe vera gel. Add to this the lavender oil, about 7 drops, and about 1/2 cup of rosewater & glycerin. Mix very well with a wooden spoon. When well mixed, add about 3 tablespoons of castor oil, and mix again. If the solution is still “thick”, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you have a liquid solution that can be poured.
4. Pour the cleaning solution over the cloth wipes in the plastic container, and place the lid. The solution will make its way through the layers of cloth within a few hours and be ready for use.
Alternative: Instead of combining the solution over the cloth wipes, you can store each separately. Place the cleaning solution in a 4-8 oz. bottle and when ready to use, mix 1/4 cup wash with 1/4 cup warm water to cleanse baby using the cloth wipes.
By taking little steps along the way as our children are growing, we can add to their health without adding to the burden on the environment.