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The Problem with Baby Wipes

By Fredrica Syren:

Being a parent to a baby is exhausting, so doing anything that will make the job a little bit easier is welcomed. For most new parents, just the thought of cloth diapers is out of question because it seems simply impossible. With my first baby, I was interested in cloth diapers, but not knowing what to expect with having a baby combined with people talking me out of using them made me choose the easy disposable diapers and wipes. When I had my second child, I felt confident that I could handle cloth diapers, so I took the leap. I’m happy I did because I never have regretted it. As soon as I committed to cloth diapers, reusable cloth wipes were the next step.

It totally makes sense that disposable wipes and diapers are helpful for convenience and a little extra sanity; however, there is a downside. Anything disposable (especially diapers and wipes) has a huge negative impact on the environment. While diapers might get the most attention, wet wipes are a huge environmental problem, too, and are easily overlooked.

Disposable baby wipes are convenient for not only cleaning up dirty baby bums but are also great for wiping hands, toys — even the computer. The problem with disposable baby wipes is that, first, most contain plastic fibers. And we all know by now what happens with plastic … nothing. And that’s the problem. Plastic is not biodegradable, so it will stay in a landfill for 100-1000 years; and, if we’re unlucky, it ends up polluting our oceans, causing all kinds of havoc to the ecosystem there. Furthermore, store bought wipes are packed in plastic that also is not biodegradable.

Most baby wipes on the market contain harmful ingredients like alcohol, preservatives, fragrances, and cleaning and moisturizing agents that should never come into contact with the delicate body of a baby. These chemicals may also leak into the environment once disposed of in a landfill or flushed down the toilet.

So, what is the better green option? First, you can simply swap disposable wipes for reusable cloths and plain water. That is zero waste, not to mention that it could help reduce the amount and number of chemicals your baby is exposed to. For my babies, I used Satsuma organic cloth wipes and California baby bum wash. The wipes are super soft, and the wash is great on any red bums. My boys loved when I sprayed them with it. The major difference I notice with using cloth diapers and wipes was the reduction in our weekly trash

Alternatively, you can also make your own baby wipes. Wellness Mama has a great recipe for that here.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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