This was the episode that changed my mind about wet wipes.
I had just given birth to my first child and had been sitting in the Paediatrician's clinic waiting for almost 2 hours. I just became a mum a couple of days before so being outside with a newborn was quite a teeth grinding moment for me.
Me: Oh dear, baby just pooped. I need to change his diaper first.
*Rummaged through my bag and took out a diaper and wet wipes*
Doctor: You do know that babies don't really need wet wipes? Water and some cotton wool would be a better option. Wet wipes contain chemicals that are common allergens.
Me: *shocked* Really? But I thought that's what Mums always use? It was in the list of "things to buy for a newborn".
Doctor: Well, it's up to you. We don't use any chemicals after each toilet session, so why does the baby need it?
His comment gets me thinking each time I pull out a wet wipe. I have 3 kids now, and to be honest, I can't live without wet wipes. Why?
- Convenience. What's more convenient than pulling out a few wipes during diaper change?
- I hate fibres from cotton wool. I tried to be the model mum by using cotton wool and water. Water is easily assessable everywhere so that's convenient, but changing a baby/ toddler (especially active ones!), you need to be quick. I hate pulling out those fibres that get left behind, its just such a messy experience.
- Calculated risks Given that the option to me at that time was wet wipes vs cotton wool with water. I guess the risks of toddler falling off the changing table is higher than the risks of chemicals on my baby's skin? I hope I'm right on this *finger crossed*
When we started Bare Nuhcessities and started brainstorming about what we wanted to offer, it got me thinking about the gap that currently exists in the market.
I'm a Mum so I started thinking about what I felt was inadequate and needed improvement. That passing worrying thought at each diaper change kept crossing my mind (I'm still breastfeeding my youngest so imagine the number of diaper changes I deal with every day!). I knew I needed to change the world (I mean bridge the gap).
So I did some research. I finally decided that i should learn more about wet wipes and it's dangers.
What I found out:
1. Chemicals are there for a reason. Know that musty smell of damp clothes during rainy days? Do you know that's also the smell of bacteria populating your clothes? Bacteria needs 2 things to grow - air and water. So guess what happens in a packet of wet wipes, if the wipes are just water + wipes, no chemicals added? Hello, bacteria growth and musty smells.
2. Wet wipes are usually made of polyester, a common allergen. Polyester, one of the synthetics used to manufacture wet wipes is a necessary evil. You know how our toilet paper (made with natural fibres) disintegrate when they come in contact with water? The same would happen to wet wipes if natural fibres are used. But did you know, 1 out of 4 kids is allergic to polyester?
3. Synthetic fragrances are also there for a reason. I always ask this, why would kids even need scented wet wipes. They smell so good! So back to point no 1, fragrances are added to cover smells. Guess what happens if you opt for no fragrance? More preservatives would be required to avoid bacteria growth! Yikes!! Do our kids really need this? And I'm sure you know fragrance dries the skin too!
4. Preservatives. I am sure with the above points, you know why preservatives are needed; and I'm sure you've heard about the danger of one of the most common preservatives use - Paraben.
Now, after knowing the above, pulling out wet wipes seems harder. My kids are now slightly more grown up. I have started making it a habit to make even my youngest sit on the toilet bowls and let me rinse then instead of use wet wipes.
It isn't as difficult as I thought, there is only one problem. It would be better if there's a disposable cloth, something like a wet wipes (doesn't disintegrate as soon as it touches water, and has a wavy surface to be an interface between me and my kids by product :p).
So here comes Bare Natural Dry Wipes, my dream disposable cloth:
- Made of natural plant fibres, with no polyester. Not only does that minimise allergens, but it also saves the world (sort of!). As its made out of natural plant fibres, it is biodegradable in 21 days and doesn't harm the environment.
- Good interface, so that my hands don't come in direct contact with what I'm trying to clean off. Unlike tissue paper which disintegrates or leaves remnants, I like the interface that wet wipes gives.
- Safe. Very important to me after finding out more about the danger of wet wipes. Since water is easily available everywhere, I just need a disposable cloth to do the job.
We searched the World for this!
We searched high and low, and finally we found our dream disposable cloth - dry wipes. Just exactly (physiologically) like wet wipes, fits all of our 3 important criteria and more (they are Oeko Tex certified free from harmful substances too - means double assurance! Yay!) We've made it travel friendly too (smaller diaper bags, yes please!).
In addition to our criteria, i also love these things about our dry wipes.
- I can use the cleansing liquid of my choice. It could be water. Or if you are like me and like the idea of essential oils and how they help in our daily lives. You could dilute oils in a suitable spray bottle and carry it with you - spray, spray, spray and wipe, wipe.
- I don't need to gamble. I no longer need to worry about the long term effects of those wet wipes with chemicals, or risk polyester allergies, etc.
Know I'm not putting my babies at risk gives me peace of mind. This burden off my shoulders, it really feels good.