Why I Don't Use Special Baby Detergent
You read right, I don't use a special detergent for our babies! Just like everything else, when you put the word wedding or baby in front of it, it seems like the cost doubles!! When you have four babies, you have to be sure to stretch every single dollar as far as you can so I tend to question each purchase and categorize it into needs/wants/extras. Baby detergent is definitely an extra in our family.
We are so blessed! This past weekend a group of women in our community got together and organized a laundry service for our babies. Generally speaking, I've been pretty successful at staying on top of laundry by washing loads constantly. Some days are better than others in terms of how much laundry we make. Spit-ups, accidents, bath times (which I've started doing every night in the last few weeks to add to sleep), all account for extra laundry. So when these incredible ladies offered to help out, knowing how precious every minute of my day is, I felt a huge relief to be blessed with this help. But when these same amazing women offered to purchase the expensive baby soap for us, I realized that perhaps I may be one of the few people who don't use special detergent for my babies.
When the babies were born, they weren't able to wear clothes for about the first month of their lives. Being born at 28 weeks, their skin was not fully developed so they were kept in isolettes where the humidity and temperature were regulated to mimic the womb wearing only diapers. So when the time came that babies were allowed to wear their first clothes, of course, I had a lot of questions. I had looked at the expensive baby detergents during my pregnancy and wondered if it was an additional cost that was really needed. So like all things baby related, I poised the question to the amazing women (and one man) who had become my closest friends and most trusted advisers, the NICU nurses. They told me that while the special detergents were good, often, they were an unnecessary cost and one that I didn't really need to incur unless one or more of the babies had an allergy. They also pointed out that unless we used the special detergent for our entire family's laundry, it probably wouldn't make that much of a difference. Because the babies come in such close contact with us and our clothes, if they truly were allergic, we'd need to launder our own clothes in special detergent as well. So I tried it! I used the same detergent we wash our own clothes in, and fortunately, there were no adverse reactions.
Our babies' clothes, our clothes, all our linens and everything else in our home is washed in plain old Tide (which I've used my entire life, my Mom used, and both my grandmothers used), Fragrance/Dye Free Downy, and I add a quarter cup of Borax to each load. This combination seems to do a great job of getting out spit-up stains from both the baby's laundry and our clothes. It also means that if needed, I can wash the babies laundry along with ours (unless it's Adam's really dirty work clothes) which means except for the cost of extra loads, I don't have to pay extra for babies' laundry, which works out well for us!
As a parent, it's hard not to questions yourself with everything single decision you make. I know every family is different as is every child so what works for us, may not work for you but hopefully by sharing what works for us, someone else will benefit and maybe feel a little less guilty for not buying that expensive bottle of baby detergent and instead, putting that money towards something else, like diapers!