The following is a guest post by Stacy Karen of A Delightful Home.
Baby care products are usually marketed as “safe” and “gentle,” but many are not. Commercial baby shampoo, soap, lotion, and baby oil often contain unnatural ingredients that are harsh and many times, toxic.
Research shows what we put onto the skin goes into the skin and then to the bloodstream. This makes careful selection of baby products a high priority for many parents.
Although there are natural choices available, finding them can be an arduous task (since many products labeled “natural” are really not). And once we do track them down, the cost can be prohibitive.
The solution: make your own!
Most natural baby care products are quick and easy to make. Truly.
Below are five homemade, natural baby care solutions that will save you time and money (and give you peace of mind):
1. Coconut Oil – A Cure All (Almost)
Nicole has already shared the wonders of coconut oil, and I have to agree: it is amazing. If there is one item I would encourage parents to buy, this would be it.
Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer, massage oil, and diaper rash cream. It is also helpful in removing cradle cap (instructions below).
2. Baby Oil
Regular baby oil is nothing more than mineral oil (also known as liquid petroleum). It is produced when petroleum, from crude oil, is distilled. I don’t feel comfortable applying this to the skin of my sweet newborn, and I know many of you share my concern.
Olive, coconut, and sweet almond oil are great replacements. Not only are they gentle and safe, they actually nourish the skin (something liquid petroleum does not do).
If you would like a little added fragrance, try making the following massage oil. It takes less than five minutes to put together and is perfect for a relaxing baby massage after a bath or before bed. (It would also be a wonderful baby shower gift.)Photo by A Delightful Home
Recipe: Sweet Dreams Massage Oil for Baby
(Adapted from Herbal Crafts by Jessie Hawkins)
Makes 2 ounces
1 tablespoon apricot kernel oil (available at most health food stores)
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon coconut oil (melt over low heat if solid)
5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil
(Babies can be very sensitive to smell. Start with a few drops of essential oil and increase the amount one drop at a time, watching to see how your child responds, or use unscented if concerned.)
To Make: Measure all ingredients into a clean bowl and stir to combine. Pour into a 2-ounce glass bottle. Or, measure directly into the bottle, cap tightly and shake to blend.
(This is a great opportunity to re-purpose any small glass bottles you have saved from herbal formulas, vanilla extract, spices, and so on.)
3. Diaper Rash Cream
As previously mentioned, coconut oil is a good substitute for commercial diaper rash cream. If the diaper rash is not healing with coconut oil, try Calendula Salve.Photo by A Delightful Home
Calendula is known for its calming, anti-inflammatory properties and is generally thought to be an excellent skin healer. Keeping calendula salve on hand will benefit the whole family as it is excellent for treating cuts, scrapes, stings, burns, chapped lips, and rashes!
Making a salve involves a few basic steps: steeping, straining, melting, and pouring. You can find full instructions here.
4. Cradle Cap Treatment
Rub sesame, coconut, or olive oil on baby’s scalp and leave for a few hours. Shampoo off with a mild baby shampoo or diluted Castile soap. Scratch the scalp with your fingers or use a baby comb to remove the softened flakes as you shampoo. Repeat as needed.
Another simple treatment is to fill a small sock or muslin tea bag with a handful of oats. Close tightly with a rubber band and run the sock under water until damp. Rub over baby’s scalp until the oats are milky and make a slight lather. This helps soften the cradle cap which can then be brushed out with a fine-toothed comb. (This idea comes from Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm, which I highly recommend.)
5. Baby Shampoo
Newborns don’t need shampoo, even if they have a lot of hair. As a general practice, I don’t recommend shampoo or baby wash until six months old (or older).
If you feel some shampoo is needed, use a little diluted Castile soap. Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile Soap is a good choice.
For ease of use, measure a small amount (a few tablespoons) into an empty foaming soap pump and fill the rest with water. Add a drop or two of essential oil for added fragrance, if desired. Shake to blend.
Dispensing soap from the foaming pump will make it much easier to handle than the thin (and runny) diluted liquid you would have otherwise. Although this is considered safe for baby, use sparingly as it can be drying to the skin.
I have long searched for a good homemade baby shampoo recipe and have not come up with anything besides this diluted Castile soap. If you have a good recipe, please share!
Other helpful posts:
How to Make and Use Cloth Wipes
8 Natural Solutions for the Common Discomforts of Infancy
Using Fennel Tea to Calm a Colicky Baby
Do you make any of your own baby products? If not, what do you wish you could make?
Editor’s note: This post sure came at a good time for me! I follow many of the same practices as Stacy does for my babies and can’t wait to try her massage oil on my little newborn (pictured at top of post).
Stacy is the wife of a preacher and mother to three rowdy children. She strives to live a healthy, natural lifestyle and is slightly obsessed with all things homemade. She shares about creating peace and joy at home on her blog, A Delightful Home.