Diaper wipes which are alcohol-free and unscented to prevent irritation are perfectly fine for newborns. However if you observe the baby’s bum looks red after using a wipe, then stop using wipes and go for cotton balls or squares dipped in warm water.
The emergence of any technology is always need based, so as the diaper wipes evolved over time.
Traditionally most of mothers used the clean cloth scraps, which were washed and reused. During 1950s, some companies began selling disposable wipes for hands (on the go use). People started using them for babies as well during travel.
This triggered specifically branded wipes for baby use during 1980s, and gained popularity soon. Now in modern era where both parents work, its used not only for wiping bums but also for complete body, we will see how it affects on baby later in this post.
In simple terms Diaper wipe is a small moistened piece of paper used for cleaning baby’s bottoms as well as their face, hands, and other areas that need some cleaning up.
Are baby wipes safe to use on a newborn?
Yes, Pediatricians and Dermatologists agree that baby wipes can be used for the newborns. However most of them also recommend playing it safe and wait until your baby’s at least 1 month old. Also in case your baby’s bum looks red after you’ve used a wipe, check it out, it may be due to some reaction.
Newborn often have sensitive skin which can develop redness or rash after use of wipes, in that case experts suggest to use cotton balls with Luke warm water. Again after a month or so you can try using regular diaper wipes.
Keep it simple, start with unscented once
Market is flooded with different types of baby wipes advertising use of scented ones, extra thick, all natural, refill packs, flip top packs, and more! Although scented once sound to be attractive to feel fresh and avoid foul smell, it may not be good for the baby! Some of the ingredients may trigger an allergic reaction due to sensitive skin of your baby.
I suggest to use alcohol-free and unscented versions to prevent irritation. In case you feel there is issue using simple regular wipes, in that case simply try changing the brand till you can find a suitable one for your baby. If at all problem persists, then consult your pediatrician please.
Better to follow traditional way for your newborn
In my opinion, best is to follow the traditions, what I mean is use of an ultra-soft paper towel or clean cloth dipped in warm water. If at all you feel, use it along-with gentle baby wash soap. Once the bumps are cleaned, dry them with soft towel and then only put on fresh diaper, this practice will prevent diaper rashes.
This traditional way can go up-to the baby grows well, but since the babies need to dine every three hours, their pooping frequency will also be more and practically it may be difficult to carry on manual cleaning for more than a month.
So I suggest to carry this pain of manual cleaning at least for the first month.
As your baby gets older than a month, the skin sensitivity reduces and you can now switch over for wipes, anyway this will be required while you travel or go outdoors.
What diaper cycle did I observe for my baby?
For me, it was like somewhere around eight diaper changes a day! And every-time you change a diaper, I used to clean my baby with wipes. At the same time I also used to clean the baby hands, face and body with wipes.
My mom suggested to apply an ointment after every diaper change. This really helped my baby by creating a physical barrier against the elements of pee and poop and this way the baby also could sleep comfortably after diaper changes. I think ointments do help whether or not you choose the kind with zinc in them.
Contact allergy phenomenon
In most common way, contact allergy arises due to repetitive exposure to a specific ingredient to baby’s skin.
While most commonly baby wipes being used for overall cleansing purpose, the whole skin of baby get exposed to those ingredients again and again, this may cause stimulation of body’s immune system, which starts at the skin. The body may spontaneously decide if it wants to be allergic to a specific ingredient.
These ingredients may include the preservatives that are used in products to prevent bacteria, mold, and fungus growth, however they may be the culprits of contact allergies.
In short, even though the preservatives play an important role in germ formation prevention mechanism, they can also be a cause of contact allergies!
Just a caution!
A Pediatrics study carried out in the year 2014 revealed that cause of contact allergy in children was use of methylisothiazolinone (MI) which you can easily find in half of the baby wipes in market.
Please note that methylisothiazolinone (MI) is not a new preservative and safe for use, however it is still a rare cause of contact allergy.
Further some of them contain a soap ingredient called sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), which can linger on the skin and break down its naturally protective fatty barrier.
Reference for above sentence taken from Dust, Food, And Baby Wipes Have Been Linked to Infant Allergies in a New Study
So what I meant to say here is that, be aware! And use the diaper wipes with caution. Restrict the use to minimal as you can. At least this will lesson or mostly eliminate changes of developing contact allergies to ingredients in baby wipes. Less exposure Less chances! so simple it is!!
Finally I am going to use diaper wipes with caution
Again baby wipes are fully safe and can be used from the first day. I could reduce the risk of irritating my baby’s tiny bottoms, with application of an ointment after every diaper change. This helped to soothe and protect my baby’s skin in between the frequent diaper changes.
Further I avoided using the baby wipes for cleaning baby’s mouth, hands, feet, and whole body, but used only for bums, this substantially reduced risk of my baby’s exposure to potential allergies.
My suggestions on choosing right once:
How to Choose the Best Wipes for your Baby?
Having said that I did extensive research before deciding if at all I will use diaper wipes and now after a year of using different types and brands I am able to write down a small guide for you on selection of diaper wipes.
Of-course, in few uses you will also be able to make out which works best for your baby, and reading this guide will lesson the time for selecting the best diaper wipes for your baby.
Brand Name vs Generic
Entry of newborn brings lot of joy and happiness, as well as expenses too. So one of the important thing that comes to my mind is the budget.
Savings come from using a store brand or generic products which are generally cheaper.
However when it comes to baby wipes, store brands need to be selected carefully. As an example, if the wipes are too thin, then you may need to use them more each time, means eventually more consumption! So all the savings that you thought of wipes off! Even I have seen some store brands or generic wipes with strange slippery texture, making it much more difficult to clean my baby.
Branded once although calls for spending more initially, they tend to be available in higher thicknesses, good texture thereby finally saving your money. And if you get some coupons, you will mostly end-up paying equal to the store brand or generic brand and the eventual savings will be substantial.
You may like to look for stores that offer double coupons and give you a good bet & the best price.
Scented vs Unscented
Now again this is one more marketing thing exercised for the modern age couples!
Think twice before you go for the scented once, if your baby have sensitive skin then it might be a long term trouble.
If you ask me I will suggest to avoid scented once and go for normal. Remember some babies will have issues on the bums or anywhere (if you use it for cleaning the body) as well as the fragrance can be irritating to baby.
So best is to remain simple, basics work here.
Save some money, Bulk buying!
DO NOT BUY them before arrival of your baby!
Remember you need to try it first, every baby skin sensitivity is different, and you don’t know if the wipe works best for her or not. So if the baby ends up with a skin sensitivity issue, you will simply waste the bought wipes for nothing!
So to begin with buy one smaller package from different brands and types, this will make you try on your baby and if found suitable you can search for the bulk orders.
Most of the stores and brands offer jumbo packages of baby wipes (as an example warehouse stores, such as Costco or Sam’s Club) you can go for them to save some money and frequent trips to stores.
Also these stores do offer multi-packs offers at good price deals, you may also get coupon deals.
Many popular online stores like Amazon do offer attractive offers for wipes often with huge discounts (I think they save on store costs) so try searching for offers and compare them with local stores.
Another advantage of online stores is auto-ordering possibility, which gives you complete freedom. They will get to your door till time you cancel the auto mode.
Most popular and inexpensive brands are Huggies One and Done wipes, you can get them in a mega-size box, tht gets more discounted with a subscription option. Most of the reviews are positive for these wipes.
Container Types – Box or Flexible bags?
If you are using them at home, best is to get the flip-up lid design plastic boxes. If you are using them during travel then go for once which come in flexible plastic bags with rigid flip-up tops.
Plastic box with a flip-up lid design – my suggestion is for home use
The box is easy to keep in standing position, very easy to grab the wipe with single hand during cleaning. So while no-one else at home to help you, its easy to get the job done easily.
Further you get refill wipes at cheap price for pop-up containers. So you avoid buying new plastic box (Thereby reducing the plastic pollution) and get savings each time. Also the plastic boxes are easy to store in cupboards.
Flexible plastic bag with a rigid flip-up top – my suggestion is for travel
Another popular type is using a flexible plastic bag with a rigid flip-up top that contains wipes. Advantage is to backpack them during travel, also they are like throw away type, you need not bother about the container.
These wipes are use and throw type package, so not refilling needed. The price of box gets compensated in cheap plastic bag packaging. Simply throw the old one out and grab a new bag.
Disadvantage of these plastic bags is its loud crinkling sounds while you’re trying to take the wipes out, which means during night time, your baby will get disturbed so as your husband.
While you get to the stores check twice if you are buying a plastic bag package or refill package, they look one and the same! So read on the pack for what you are buying for.
Special once for travelers
Further to these two types, you get other choices, first is a rigid plastic box that opens up in some way to allow access to the wipes.
This travel packs are really convenient because most of the diaper bags, diaper clutches, and quick-change stations provide a built-in spot for the container, so it forms a wipes dispenser. Again the travel boxes can be refilled with the same pop-up wipes you’re using at home.
Second type contained in a plastic bag, with a sticker-type top. They are really compact to go into your backpack, just stuff them in available room. These are good for a short duration, since the sticker tops tend to lose the ability to stay shut by the tail end of the package.
I came to know about this important aspect during first time cleaning of my baby’s poo! I realized that specially while cleaning poo, I need thicker wipes! So I began buying extra-thick one for poo cleaning activity, after-all they don’t leak the poo!
Specialty Wipes (Water wipes)
If you are facing an issue of rashes on baby bums using standard wipes, then you may like to try special wipes like water wipes.
There are multiple options with soothing ingredients built in or plain water wipes.
Organic :Natural or organic ingredients are best suitable many times for babies. Further such wipes degrades more quickly in the land-fills making them more eco-friendly.
However such specialty wipes are bit costlier than standard wipes. However, trend is to go for organic products as well as care for the environment, even it costs bit more.
Once used for poop cleaning, question is where to throw them up? General thought is to flush them up quickly to get the freedom! Putting normal wipes into flush system may cause choke-up, hence it is necessary to use special flushable wipes.
Although care shall be taken not to put too many wipes into flush at the same time, remember the septic system may get choked up or unable to handle too many wipes causing new plumber bills! So even they are flushable type, flush them with due care, during first use, observe for any clogs or slow drain issues after flush.
From the desk of Olivia
I want to bring your attention to the new research which indicates that use of some baby wipes and soaps have possibility of damaging the protective barriers of the baby skin, thereby contributing to the increased rate of food allergies in children!
So why not to reduce the use of baby wipes to minimal or at least avoid going for the fancy once!
Choice is your.
Do let me know your own experience about using wipes and tips or suggestions for mothers around.
References for this post are taken from the following websites:
Dust, Food, And Baby Wipes Have Been Linked to Infant Allergies in a New Study – https://www.sciencealert.com/dust-food-and-baby-wipes-linked-to-infant-allergies