When it comes to diapering your baby, there are countless products you can choose from. Since babies wear diapers 24/7, investing in eco-friendly, chemical-free diapers is one of the most important decisions you can make for your baby. Because of such prolonged use of diapers, and the fact they make direct contact with your baby’s skin, the risk of exposure to toxic substances from traditional diapers (even the “sensitive” versions) is high and simply not worth the cost savings that you’d get from mainstream diapers like Huggies, Pampers, and even Costco brands. Eco-friendly diapers will be pricier, but they’re 100% worth it in my opinion because your little one won’t be making physical contact around the clock with toxic substances such as chlorine, dyes, phthalates, and more. The good news is that you now have more options than ever before, including eco-friendly disposable diapers and natural baby wipes. Here’s a guide to diapering your baby, non-toxic style!
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Non-Toxic Disposable Diapers:
- Bambo Nature Premium Diapers: Hands down, this is my favorite diaper brand. Bambo Nature diapers are made in Denmark and contain no allergens, perfumes, or dangerous chemicals. You also won’t find any chlorine, formaldehyde, phthalates, PVC, heavy metals, carcinogens, latex, odor inhibitors, lotions, or any other substances that are known to be harmful. The diapers have a great fit for babies of all ages and they are extremely absorbent, too! We have used these diapers since my son was 1 or 2 weeks old and have never even considered using another brand. They run a tiny bit large for a newborn, so keep that in mind if you have a smaller baby. But we still use them from day 1 – even in the hospital. Even with a full overnight diaper, my son is still dry thanks to the absorbency and breathability. This is also one of the reasons we hardly ever get redness or diaper rashes – baby’s bottom stays dry with these diapers. If I had to pick one of my favorite baby products, it would probably be Bambo Nature diapers! Tip: We have these auto-shipped every month from Amazon so that we can take advantage of the Subscribe & Save cost savings.
- Nature Babycare Diapers: Naty Diapers are another top-rated eco-friendly diaper choice. They contain no phthalates, organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT), allergens, carcinogens, heavy metals, chlorine, formaldehyde, colophonium, dyes, PVC, or any substances known to be harmful.
- Andy Pandy Premium Bamboo Disposable Diapers: Made from bamboo, Andy Pandy diapers are chlorine-free, biodegradable, and eco-friendly. They have no phthalates, BPA, PVC, alcohol, TBT, or preservatives. Andy Pandy diapers use an aloe liner to moisturize baby’s skin, and are breathable to help circulate air and keep baby’s bottom dry. The Andy Pandy diapers are a great option. Try them out and see what works better for your family.
The brands that didn’t make the list include: Babyganics (due to leaking). Honest Company Diapers (due to poor online reviews – stiffness, incorrect sizing, recurring leaks, and quality control issues). Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers (prone to leaks). Broody Chick (not enough information available to make an informed decision).
If you’re using disposable diapers, you’ll need somewhere to dispose of them that will help control odors. If you’d like to keep it simple, you can just use a stainless steel trash bin, but many parents opt to add a diaper pail to the nursery. I previously used the Munchkin Diaper Pail and loved it. It held in odors and was pretty much the perfect diaper pail — until they added a toxic lavender “fragrance” to their bags. So I bought up as many of their unscented bags as I could and switched to the Ubbi once they went out of stock.
Tip: After the newborn stage, when stools usually get more formed (rather than liquidy), you may want to consider flushing their poop before disposing of the diaper, so it doesn’t just sit in the diaper pail and stink up your nursery.
- Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe: A great, simple diaper pail that wins for its ease of use. This diaper pail gets major bonus points because you can use regular kitchen trash bags instead of having to purchase expensive refills. It does a decent job of managing odors, but I recommend storing this in a bathroom (not in the nursery), and keeping some baking soda in there as well. Or, you could get some of these natural bamboo charcoal diaper pail deodorizers.
- Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail: On the pricier and prettier side, we have the Ubbi. It is made of steel, and is quite good at keeping odors in while it is closed. You’ll pay more up front for this diaper pail, but since it doesn’t require special bags like the other diaper pails do (but the company does sell them), you may end up saving money in the long run if you choose to just use tall kitchen trash bags. Thanks to its powder-coated steel and rubber seals, the Ubbi is airtight and locks odors in. It also has a sliding lid that minimizes the amount of air exposure while you drop a new diaper in the pail, which is nice because it really does help. It comes with a childproof lock to keep those dirty diapers where they belong. The Ubbi has a slick design and comes in several color options. We are really happy with our Ubbi after having used a Munchkin for a long time. It’s worth the extra splurge. But definitely get some natural bamboo charcoal diaper pail deodorizers because it does let odors out once you open the pail. I’ve also started using essential oils to neutralize the air in our diaper pail because it got a little…stenchy.
Natural, Non-Toxic Diaper Creams:
The EWG recommends limiting baby’s use of personal care products to the absolute minimum required, but it’s still a good idea to have a natural, organic diaper cream on hand in the event of diaper rash or redness on baby’s bottom. I would recommend only using it when you see redness or diaper rash, rather than slathering some on after every diaper change. Some helpful tips for diaper rash:
- Use chemical-free diapers such as these. If you invest in eco-friendly diapers, you’ll find that your baby won’t get many rashes and you’ll only need to use the diaper cream on occasion.
- Use baby wipes sparingly, preferably only when baby has pooped.
- After wiping baby’s bottom, allow the area to dry before putting on your baby’s diaper.
- Experiment with using a layer of organic coconut oil or breast milk instead of diaper cream.
Despite this, your baby may still get redness or rash on their bottom. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have these products on hand.
- Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm: Made in the USA, Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm is an herbal salve that safely and gently reduces diaper rash and redness. This is the diaper cream that we have been using since day one and have had great success with it! Bottom Balm is non-toxic and contains no artificial dyes or fragrances, petroleum products, mineral oil, Vitamin E, phthalates, or parabens. Like many other products made by Earth Mama, the Bottom Balm is vegan and gluten-free. This is the cream to have on hand for diapering your baby! The manufacturer suggests also using the Bottom Balm for bug bites and scrapes.
- All Natural Boudreaux’s Butt Paste: Have this on hand for when you need to call in reinforcement. In the event that baby has a harsher diaper rash that the Earth Mama Bottom Balm isn’t tackling, you may want to use Boudreaux’s All Natural Butt Paste. Its active ingredient is Zinc Oxide (16%), the same stuff that powers mainstream brands like Desitin, although in a less concentrated amount, but it is made without petroleum products, BHA, and harsh fragrances. I wouldn’t recommend using this product on a daily basis, but it is good to have this on hand. Boudreaux’s also makes a Maximum Strength Formula for extreme cases of diaper rash. It’s not the same formulation as the all natural paste, but it does contain a higher dose of Zinc Oxide (40%).
Non-Toxic Baby Wipes (Disposable):
In general, I feel strongly that anything that touches baby’s body directly should (preferably) not contain harmful chemicals. That’s why it’s so important to choose natural, gentle, non-toxic wipes.
- Water Wipes: They’re called Water Wipes because they are made from 99.9% purified water. The other 0.1% is grapefruit seed extract. The company calls these “the world’s purest baby wipes” and for good reason – they are chemical free, and essentially free of much else. While some other wipes can possibly cause diaper rash, given their harsh ingredients, Water Wipes are so pure that they may help possibly prevent diaper rash. They have EWG’s best rating of 1, but it turns out that grapefruit seed extract can commonly contain contaminants such as methylparaben and triclosan, which are exactly the harmful chemicals we are trying to avoid. Water Wipes has confirmed to me that they test every batch of grapefruit seed extract for contamination. This is why I have continued using Water Wipes despite the concerns over their use of grapefruit seed extract. But as with any wipes, use them sparingly (preferably only when baby has pooped). EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1.
- Honest Company Baby Wipes: While I’m not always a fan of Honest Company products, I do recommend their wipes. They have an EWG rating of 1, and their wipes are free of fragrances, alcohol, chlorine, phthalates, formaldehyde carriers, parabens, phenols, quaternary ammonium compounds, SLS, lanolin, and most allergens. While these wipes are about $5 on the Honest Company website, Amazon charges a higher price for the wipes but includes free shipping for Prime members. So unless you’re making a large purchase from Honest Company ($50 or more) that will give you free shipping, you’ll pay less if you purchase these from Amazon. EWG Skin Deep Rating: 1.
- Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature Unscented Baby Wipes: Made in the UK, Jackson Reece wipes don’t contain alcohol, parabens, fragrances, chlorine, lanolin, SLS, SLES, petrochemicals, phenoxyethanol, or benzoates. More than 99% of the wipes are made from naturally derived ingredients from renewable vegetable or plant extracts. EWG Skin Deep Rating: 2, due to possible additives in one ingredient.
Organic Baby Wipes (Reusable):
If you’d like to avoid disposable wipes altogether, or only use them while away from home, you can purchase or make reusable wipes. You can cut terry cloth or flannel fabric into wipe-sized squares and simply keep a spray bottle filled with water on baby’s changing table. If you’d prefer to purchase some cloth wipes, here are some great options.
- Under the Nile Terry Wipes – 100% organic and made from Egyptian cotton (and made in Egypt), Under the Nile is a wonderful brand! We used these wipes and they were great. They did thin out after some use, but we have been using them for almost 2 years and haven’t needed to replace them yet. Also consider their Sherpa Wash Cloths.
- Organic Bamboo Washcloths – Made from premium organic bamboo, and certified by Oeko-Tex, these wash cloths are soft and gentle on baby’s skin. The reason we didn’t go with this brand is because they’re manufactured in China, but they’re still a good choice given that the fabric is certified.