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Keeping a baby clean without using chemicals...

(45 Posts)
MildWest Wed 27-Aug-08 09:02:38

Expecting first baby in November, and currently trying to stock up on stuff we might need but want to avoid using chemicals/perfumed products as much as possible. As ever, finding the advise a bit conflicting so looking for some 'real life' recommendations...

Bathing - reckoning on just using water for first 6 weeks, then switching to a gentle green product without SLS/parabens. Any recommendations of something not-too-expensive?

Massaging - read somewhere you can just use olive oil after the bath - natural and cheap, assuming it doesn't leave the baby smelling a bit odd?!

Nappy changing - not really experianced in just how bad the nappy aftermath can be! So, thinking about using cotton wool and water at home (or perhaps washable wipes) with a pack of eco wipes for out and about. Good idea or bad?!

Nappy cream - sudocream seems to have lots of petro-chemical ingrediants in it. Anyone got recommendations for a more natural alternative, perfereably a cheap-ish one?

Anything else that people use?

GooseyLoosey Wed 27-Aug-08 09:05:46

Have to say on the washing front, we used nothing other than water for the first 2 years (and they never seemed to be dirty or smelly to me!). Actually still do use mostly just water and they are now 4 and 5.

Cotton wool and water just fine at home and good idea about the eco-wipes out as the cotton wool canbe difficult in places where they don't have any water!

Never did anything like massaging.

HensMum Wed 27-Aug-08 09:09:10

Halos n Horns is SLS and paraben free but it might be a bit too perfumed for your liking - I always think it smells a bit like bubblegum! But it's cheap and available from Tesco...and Boots I think...so you can go and give it a sniff and see if you like it.

We used olive oil on DS when he was tiny as he had horrible dry skin. It did remind me of preparing a chicken to roast and he did smell a bit but it did the trick. Neal's Yard remedies do a baby oil that's suitable for newborns (their massage oil is not, if I rememeber right) that smells a bit more pleasant but is quite pricey.

Washable wipes are great! I found them better than cotton wool on newborn poop as it can be quite sticky. I use water and washable wipes at home and ordinary wipes when out and about.

Burt's Bees nappy cream is nice. I got a tube in TK Maxx. Still not cheap but less than you'd pay elsewhere and it's lasting really well. I tend to use that as a preventative, especially at night and a bit of Sudocreme if I see any redness.

intravenouscoffee Wed 27-Aug-08 09:11:07

We massaged DD with olive oil from birth cos she had very very dry skin initially. Worked brilliantly well, she has gorgeous skin now. Although I do think it makes her smell a bit like a traditional pizza on occasions it was worth it for the soft skin. And also v cheap. Have also made my own wipes with chopped up facecloths soaked in chamomile tea and olive oil but only started doing that recently (based on a thread on MN)and I think it would have been a bit of a faff with a newborn tbh.

laidbackinengland Wed 27-Aug-08 09:11:09

We use wipes that I made out of a cheap fleece blanket cut into squares (wipe shape). I put them in a tupperware luchbox and pour over a cup of camomile tea. You can then just throw the wipes in with your washing (unlss they are really dirty and you might want to soak them or something first - but I rarely bother). A packet of camomile tea bags lasts months and I have only used the one fleece blanket in 18 months - s have saved loads of money. DS3 has never had nappy rash either. I take the wipes out and about too, just carry a little bag to put the dirty ones in to wash at home.

hazeyjane Wed 27-Aug-08 09:14:18

I second Halos and Horns, smells like sweets, but ok on my dd's eczema.

We used coconut oil on dd's for massage (about 80p from Superdrug), also good on her eczema.

For some reason all the eco wipes made dd1's bum sore, the only ones that don't are huggies pure!

Of all the nappy creams we have tried (pretty much all of them - sore bums are a bit of a feature in our house) Bepanthen seemed the most effective and gentle.

Good luck!

kiskidee Wed 27-Aug-08 09:18:01

Never mind just using water for baths for the first 6 weeks, you can just use water for the next 2 or 3 yrs.

DD has eczema and at 3.5 is only just discovering soap. I use regular bars of soap and she picks it up and pretends to bath herself. Other than that, she never uses any soap or bath gels etc.

Philomytha Wed 27-Aug-08 09:18:56

Honestly, we didn't use much but water for bathing for about the first year. We still don't use a lot of stuff unless he gets mucky. Olive oil is good for massage and also for cradle cap. I find washable wipes and water easier to cope with than cotton wool, which makes a mess, and you can just bung them in with the nappies. Sudocreme does work very well on nappy rash, though, so I use it if he gets any - I tried more gentle methods but they didn't make a blind bit of difference whereas Sudocreme cleared it up within a day. There's a local business selling homemade nappy cream that I also use.

MrsTittleMouse Wed 27-Aug-08 09:20:26

Agree with everyone else - water is just fine, you don't need any soap or detergents. We used olive oil too, on the advice of the midwife, as DD has dry skin, and it worked really well. DH used to call it "basting" her, which upset me a bit (too hormonal!), but that was the only disadvantage.
In fact, DD is almost 2 and we've never used any soap or baby bath on her. She does have special oil for the bath now, due to her dry skin, but that's on prescription.

LazyLinePainterJane Wed 27-Aug-08 09:20:49

DS is 3 and I still just use water in the bath. Apart from the occasional pack of eco-wipes when he was in nappies I only ever used reusable wipes and water.

mrsbabookaloo Wed 27-Aug-08 09:28:44

Cotton wool is a bit of a nightmare to be honest. Try it at first, but i found it leaves too many bits behind, and you can't get them off!

I use mostly just water, and if she's mucky or for hair washing, I use earth friendly baby stuff - you can get it from quite a few places now.

charitas Wed 27-Aug-08 09:54:18

I just put a drop of olive oil in the water for washable wipes as it helps the stickier poo slide off. Red clover or chammomile cream might be good , I occasionally use my lahonish ( excuse spoilling) on piglets bum and it seems to work well

Teaandcake Wed 27-Aug-08 10:06:53

Mostly just plain water here. We use washable cloth wipes with water at home (no extra hassle when washing cloth nappies anyway) and large cotton wool pads (60p from Tesco) with Weleda baby lotion when out 'n' about. We have never used wipes. Apart from all the chemicals which of course stay on the skin and not washed off they're not eco friendly to dispose of.

We always carry a pocket pack of tissues in the changing bag and a v small spray bottle with water in it to wipe mucky hands and face. Works a treat, no chemicals.

I discovered Waitrose Bottom Butter before my DS was born, fabulous stuff, used at every nappy change. No petrochemicals just olive oil and vanilla so smells gorgeous too.
Can't get hold of now for love nor money since Mumsnetters discovered it was a great facial moisturiser. grin

For occaisional bottom redness (not had any full blown nappy rash yet) Sudocrem or Drapalene will sort it out within 1-2 nappy changes. I would recommend these only when needed, if used all the time then they won't work when you really need them to IYSWIM.

Just water in the bath too. Just occaisionally a wash down with Weleda baby soap if v grubby and a proper rinse off with the shower.

HTH.

AnnVan Wed 27-Aug-08 10:17:24

Where can I get hold of Weleda products? Interested in getting the calendula nappy cream, but never see it ANYWHERE!

GooseyLoosey Wed 27-Aug-08 10:18:56

You can get in online here.

snowleopard Wed 27-Aug-08 10:24:22

I'm going to be a pedant here! I'm all for minimising unnecessary stuff on a baby's skin, but please remember that there are "chemicals" in everything - everything is made of chemicals, including our bodies, and ther is not some dividing line between safe "natural" chemicals and dangerous "artificial" or "petrochemical" ones. Petrochemicals are natural, they come from oil which is formed from fossilised natural biomass, and often petrochemicals such as coal tar are great and trusted eczema treatments. And some products which plaster "natural" all over themselves may contain chemicals that can be harmful to babies, for example lavender essential oil is in a lot of them but it can irritate skin and has been linked to hormone disturbance in baby boys.

here

Yes avoid cosmetic products and just use water instead, that's great, but don't think that "natural" = safe.

<having a Ben Goldacre moment>

mrsbabookaloo Wed 27-Aug-08 10:39:04

Very good point snowleopard.

EssieW Wed 27-Aug-08 10:41:37

Weleda stuff is great.

But we mostly use just water (DS is 16 months).

Washable wipes are great. So much more effective than disposable wipes - which smell awful and don't do the job. We do sometimes use them when out and about though

AnnVan Wed 27-Aug-08 10:44:31

Well I'm going to be using reusable nappies,(just prewashing them now actually) so using washable wipes should be doable, seeing as I can then just wash them in with the nappies. Oh where's a good place to get a cheap fleece blanket to make some nappy liners and some wipes?

PortAndLemon Wed 27-Aug-08 10:49:02

You don't have to use anything other than water for ages. DS is 3.5 and we still mostly use just water (if he's particularly filthy and water isn't cutting it then we'll use product, and we wash his hair every couple of weeks, but water does him fine most of the time - and he is a muddy puddle magnet, so if we can manage with water I suspect most people can).

MildWest Wed 27-Aug-08 11:13:10

Great tips everyone, thanks. I agree that 'natural' isn't always perfect and t bh am more concered about parabens and SLS' than petrochemicals, but there's a money-saving aspect to this as well as a green one - i.e. if I can save myself money AND not generate too much rubbish, then I'll be doubly happy!

What does the camomile tea do when used with washable wipes, am intrigued?!

laidbackinengland Wed 27-Aug-08 12:33:40

annvan - you can pick up a fleece blanket from ikea for £1 or £2 . Bargain smile

HensMum Wed 27-Aug-08 15:29:06

Tescos also do white facecloths for 20p each. I use them for wiping DS's face after meals as discovered them too late to use as washable bum wipes but if I had my time again I'd buy a stack of those as they are nice and big.

AnnVan Wed 27-Aug-08 15:37:38

Hmm - interesting. I might take a look at the tescos facecloths actually.
Thanks for the Weleda link as well - have ordered some nappy cream.
I am gradually starting to feel ready or the arrival of a baby into my life.

crokky Wed 27-Aug-08 15:41:10

My baby is 5 months old. She's had vitually nothing chemical on her.

Bathed in plain water only. Nappies changed with cotton wool and water. (This will change after weaning!). Massaging - I don't do it. Nappy cream - only need if baby gets sore. I've only used once in 5 months for DD.

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