Bringing a baby into the world is like nothing you’ve ever experienced. They are so sweet and small, and their skin is so sensitive. So why would you want to harm them with harsh chemicals and strange synthetic products?
Thankfully, it’s so easy to make natural alternatives to the paraben, phthalate and preservative filled junk that fills the shelf at your nearest pharmacy. All the recipes below can be made with ingredients easily found at your neighbourhood supermarket or online.
Edible baby lotion
Not only is this quick to make, it lasts forever and is made entirely out of edible ingredients, so it is 100% safe for baby.
- 1/2 cup almond oil
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup beeswax pellets
- 1 tsp vitamin E oil
- 5 drops of your favourite essential oil (I use lavender because of its sleep-enhancing properties)
- 8 oz mason jar
Warm all ingredients in a double boiler until completely melted. Allow to cool, stirring occasionally, until no longer liquid. Whip with an electric mixer until creamy, then transfer to mason jar for storage. Store out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dark place.
Natural baby powder
Talc can contain asbestos and is thought to cause cancer as well. But corn starch can be used as an alternative – it’s just as good as keeping babies cool and preventing diaper rash. If you want baby to smell even better, add a vanilla pod or two. All you need is one of those large shakers (normally used for flour or Parmesan cheese) and a bulk container of corn starch.
Hypoallergenic laundry detergent
With all of the dyes, optical brighteners, chemical scents, and surfactants, laundry soaps carry their own burden when it comes to baby. The following recipe is only three ingredients and has been used personally by me to clean some heavily soiled diapers, so I can guarantee it works!
Grate the bar of soap (I used a regular box grater, but you can use a food processor if you want to save time). Combine with borax and washing soda. Store in an airtight container. Just 1/8 of a cup of powder will wash a standard load of laundry.
Baby soaps can contain as many harsh chemicals and additives as laundry detergent. Because baby skin doesn’t produce oil, you don’t actually need surfactants and degreasers to clean your infant. Newborns can benefit from sharing the tub with some strongly brewed chamomile tea, just make sure the tea has cooled before you add it to the tub. It is said that chamomile tea has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and can possibly help with staving off minor yeast infections of the skin.
Another option is my personal favourite; the oatmeal baggie. Oatmeal is excellent for babies who suffer from eczema – you’ll notice many commercial eczema lotions and soaps often contain oatmeal. So save your dollars, and make a trip to the supermarket instead of the pharmacy for organic oats and cheesecloth.
Start by cutting your cheese cloth into 15cm squares, about 3 layers thick. Place 1/4 cup of your oats into the centre of the cheese cloth, and then tie the top left corner and the bottom right corner together into a tight knot. Repeat with top right corner and bottom left corner. You should be left with a little pouch that looks similar to a dumpling.
Soak a baggie in your baby’s bath, allowing the oats to infuse into the bathwater. As a bonus, gently scrub baby with the oat baggie to get rid of any accumulated dirt.