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Why reusable wet wipes could harm your baby

Wet wipe baby crying

Every parent loves a good frugal shortcut – but there's one corner you shouldn't be cutting when it comes to caring for your baby

The cost of essential baby products can quickly add up, and many parents are also keen to reduce the number of wipes they send to landfill. But if you're tempted to switch to home-made reusable wipes, take care over the ingredients you're using on your baby's skin.

The International Federation of Aromatherapists (IFA) has warned that increasing numbers of parents are using essential oils, along with flannels and water, to clean their baby during nappy changes.

The fragrances smell lovely and are often thought to be soothing – but the charity warns that the use of essential oils can be irritating, or even toxic, to babies.

Oils are absorbed into the baby's bloodstream via the skin, and few parents will be aware of the chemical composition of the particular oil they've chosen, according to IFA Chair, Colleen O’Flaherty-Hilder.

The IFA recommends parents seek professional advice if they are in any doubt.

How should you wash your baby?

Advice from midwives and NICE is to avoid using any skincare products for the first 30 days of your baby's life. You should only use plain water and cotton wool to wash them – and if your baby needs it, just a dab of nappy cream.

For particularly stubborn poo, or meconium nappies, vaseline or olive oil can help shift things, but any other harsher products are not recommended. Essential oils are totally unsuitable, and potentially dangerous, for newborn skin.

If you're interested in aromatherapy, then you should still avoid using essential oils on a baby under six months old. And the IFA emphasises that even then you should always follow the advice of a qualified aromatherapist before introducing oils to your baby.