Image by Sergiu Bacioiu
By Nina, Modern Alternative Pregnancy editor
When I was expecting my first child, one of the most frequent gifts I got was baby care products. Shampoos, lotions, baby powders. Some of them I used up quickly, while others were never touched (until my son learned to walk and spilled them on the floor). As the years went by, I learned more about natural living and the chemicals used in a lot of our skin care products. By the time I had my fourth, we had done away with all of the toxic products in our home and chose to make our own skin care products for our kids.
Thankfully, they were all very simple and required few ingredients:
One search through the Skin Deep Database will show you that many lotions aren’t suitable for using on babies, with some containing known carcinogens, even though they’re developed specifically for infants. While babies may have occasional dry patches, for the most part, they don’t need lotion. However, if your baby does have dry patches or you want to prevent them in the future, you can easily whip up a homemade moisturizer.
These two oils are quite moisturizing and also have antimicrobial properties. You can safely use them to moisturize your baby’s skin. You can whip the two of them together (1/4 c coconut oil to 2/3 c shea butter) for a creamy moisturizer.
In our home, we wash our hair with water. That’s it. Shampoos can strip hair of natural oils and create a buildup on the scalp, especially commercial shampoos. Washing your baby’s hair with plain old water will keep their scalp clean and you won’t have to worry about getting soap in their eyes.
If you’re fond of shampoo or, say, your toddler accidentally puts coconut oil in the baby’s hair, you can opt for diluted castile soap. I like for Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild. If you can’t find that, I’d go with the lavender or orange version (for baby’s delicate skin). To make your own baby shampoo, add the following ingredients to a bottle (I like foaming soap dispensers):
- 1 oz liquid castile soap
- 4 oz water
- 2-3 drops pure lavender essential oil (optional)
Frequent baths can dry out your baby’s skin. Instead of bathing your baby on a daily basis, try going a day or two between baths. You can also wet a washcloth and spot clean as needed. Like in those folds that tend to smell a little cheesy.
Since babies don’t get too dirty, they’re usually fine with being washed with water. If you need something a little stronger, I suggest a gentle soap, like diluted castile soap, to wash your baby. The recipe above works great or you can use a pre-made baby body wash that’s free of toxic ingredients.
Frankly, I never used baby powder. We never really needed to. But I know that some babies do need it and I’m happy to offer a non-toxic alternative that isn’t likely to can an allergic response, as some are. Bentonite clay powder is a great alternative for baby powder. It’s one simple ingredient that has a reputation as a healing clay.
To use it, simply buy some bentonite clay powder and store it in a shaker bottle, like a spice shaker.
Baby oil is recommended for moisturizing baby’s skin, preventing moisture loss and to use for infant massage. However, commercial baby oil contain artificial fragrances that can irritate baby’s skin. Instead, I suggest using coconut oil or jojoba oil. Both oils are great for moisturizing and massage. Coconut oil even boasts antimicrobial properties and can help heal diaper rash. If you’d like, add 3-5 drops pure lavender essential oil to 4 oz. of oil for a relaxing effect. Just store them in glass jars – essential oils should not be kept in plastic.