Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bare Butt Basics: wiping the butt.

When using cloth diapers, it makes sense to also consider using cloth wipes. Wether you use them all the time, some of the time or never is really your choice. There are a few good reasons to use cloth wipes though.

#1 You only need one pail/wet bag. If you are using disposable wipes you need to keep a garbage pail as well as a diaper pail/bag in the area that you change your baby. With cloth wipes, you can avoid having 2 pails and save a lot of space.

#2 You know what is on them. I love how disposable wipes will wipe down glass leaving a streak free shine. I use them to clean my computer screen, my iphone and a few other similar items around the house. Whatever is on disposable wipes that makes them useful for cleaning electronics, is not necessarily something that is good for your babies skin (read the ingredients list). There are a number of sprays or wipe solutions on the market you can use with cloth wipes and many many homemade recipes. Often simple water works just as well. It is nice to know what is being used to wipe down your babies genitals a number of times a day.

#3 Cloth wipes are softer. There are many many different brands of cloth wipes available to buy. Sometimes the cheapest option is to buy a bulk size pack of baby washcloths or even adult facecloths. There are organic wipes, minky velour wipes and many many other types. I will often use one type to do the wash down and then soft fluffy one to pat the area dry.

#4 Cloth wipes get the job done more efficently. I rarely use more than 2 wipes to clean a poopy butt when using cloth. When using disposables it feels like I have to use half a dozen or more to get everything cleaned up. Sometimes even after mopping away with disposable wipes I can still smell poop on the skin. Cloth wipes work better for me, and get everything squeeky clean.

#5 Your hands stay cleaner. I have often ended up with a smear of poop on my hand when using disposable wipes. they are thin and flimsy and bunch up as you are tackling the job. It is very rare that I touch poop when using a cloth wipe. They are thicker, easier to hold on and just seem to get rid of the poop more quickly with less smearing.

#6 They cost less. Like cloth diapers, you buy them once, reuse, wash, reuse and never need to shell out cash to buy them again. If you make your own, or repurpose facecloths you already own as wipes, they are super cheap.

#7 There is less to throw away. If you look at the size of a block of disposable wipes, and think how many blocks that size you will use over 2 or more years of diapering it makes for quite a pile of waste.

Now, there are times that a disposable comes in handy. I have a pack of disposables I keep under the seat of the car and a pack I keep in the diaper bag for emergencies. I use dry cloth wipes at home, and wet them each time I do a change. If I remember to pre wet and pack a small container of cloth wipes before leaving the house that is great, but often I forget and just use disposable wipes when on the road. It is annoying though, as unless I have a garbage can to dispose of the wipes, I have to stuff them into my wet bag with the diapers and sort and throw them out when I get back home. ICKY! Cloth wipes are easier because all I have to do then is dump the travel wetbag into the wash at the same time as I dump my regular wet bag. No need to touch dirty diapers a 2nd time.

One little trick I learned recently is to keep a roll of toilet paper by the changing station. If you have a particularly sticky lump of poop, too much to want to wipe and throw in the wash (yep I am sure you can picture what I am talking about...) you can wipe it off with a little bit of toilet paper, fold it up and leave it in the diaper, and then dump it into the toilet at the same time you deal with dumping the poop into the toilet. Then do your major clean up and wash down with the cloth wipe.

I even know some disposable diaper wearing babies who have their bums cleaned with cloth during diaper changes. I know in the NICU at the hospital, everyone used facecloths as wipes, even though the diapers were Pampers brand disposables. Cloth wipes are much less likely to contribute to rash, leave residue or cause pain on an already rashy bum.

Have fun wiping butts:)

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