By the time our fourth child came around, I’d jumped on the minimalist bandwagon and gotten rid of everything but the essential items, including those skin care products specifically for babies.
And you know what? He was perfectly fine! (Ok, he’s actually pretty silly, but I attribute that to his weird parents, not his lack of unnecessary baby products.)
Instead of rounding up a bundle of baby-specific products, we just used what we had on hand to take care of all of his needs:
At one point, we had more than 10 bottles of baby lotion – that we rarely used. So we got rid of them. Instead, we used a mixture of shea butter and coconut oil that rubs into the skin without feeling greasy.
This combination is super hydrating and is even a multi-purpose remedy for diaper rash ointment! I’ll share the recipe below.
Diaper rash ointment
We used a store-brand diaper rash cream for a long time until I figured out that the reason my baby cried every time I put it on was because it burned. A lot! (I figured this out by putting it an irritated patch of skin I had. Ouch!)
So I set out to make my own ointment to use in the event diaper rash did occur (prevention is best, naturally). I needed something that was:
Soothing – Irritated skin needs something soothing, not a product that burns. After doing a little research, I decided that shea butter would be perfect because it penetrates deeply to hydrate the skin. It’s anti-inflammatory and soothing to the skin, in addition to promoting healing.
Anitfungal – One of the causes of diaper rash is yeast, caused by fungal growth. I knew my baby needed something that would knock out any yeast that might be growing and that would inhibit its growth in the future. Coconut oil was the perfect choice because of its antifungal properties.
To make a simple ointment that can be used to treat and prevent diaper rash and hydrate baby’s skin, you’ll need the following:
- ¼ cup coconut oil, at room temperature (find coconut oil here)
- ¾ cup shea butter (find it here)
- 3 drops tea tree essential oil (Please be sure to get essential oils that are free of any additives or pesticides that may further irritate your baby’s skin. See what we recommend here.)
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
In a bowl, whip together the coconut oil and shea butter for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix it up with a spatula a bit to make sure you get all the stuff off the bottom. Add the drops of essential oil and start whipping again. Do this for another minute or so until it looks like frosting.
Scoop it into a clean jar, slap a label on there and store it in a cool, dark place. Rub a little on baby after baths (get the diaper area!) for hydrated skin and diaper rash prevention.
Shampoo & Body Wash
Frequent washing can dry out baby’s sensitive skin, so we when we washed our littlest, we only rinsed him off with water every couple days. If he needed soap, it was usually because he smelled like cheese (milk + skin folds = yucky smell) or because a big brother or sister decided to put coconut oil in his hair.
In that event, we’d just use castile soap (I use castile soap for many purposes). In a foaming dispenser, I’d add the following:
- 1 oz. liquid castile soap (we use an unscented kind)
- 4 oz. filtered water
- 3 drops lavender essential oil (find 100% pure essential oils here)
- 3 drops orange essential oil (alternately, you can use 3 drops lemongrass and the combination will smell just like Fruit Loops)
Disposable diapers are expensive! After our second child was born, we realized how much it was going to cost us to have two kids in diapers at once, so we quickly switched to cloth diapers. We tried prefolds and covers for a while, fitted diapers and covers, and then finally settled on a one-size pocket diaper.
The initial cost of these diapers was more than the others, but the savings over time were unbeatable. They grew with the kids and were easy to put on them – even our babysitters were willing to use them.
If circumstances keep you from using cloth, or you need a heavy-duty nighttime solution, as we did with our youngest, try a disposable diaper that’s free of chlorine and other harsh chemicals that will soak into your baby’s skin (in a very sensitive area). (Find some here.)
I found these diapers cheapest online through a subscribe-and-save program, but I also watched ads from a local store that carries them, as they would occasionally have a sale that was cheaper than the online cost.
Diapers and wipes go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, it’s easy to make wipes yourself that don’t add to landfills and are free of potentially harmful chemicals. In our house, we just use small wash cloths.
When we need some, we get them wet (we’ve found two is usually the most we need) and use them as we would a disposable wipe. They’re far more durable and make it much easier to clean up even the worst messes. If you’d like to soak them in a solution so you don’t have to go to the sink before you change a diaper, try these easy homemade baby wipes.
Frankly, we never really needed baby powder. However, some babies do and I’ve found a great alternative that isn’t likely to cause an allergic response, as some commercial baby powders do. That alternative is bentonite clay powder.
It’s just one simple, healing ingredient that can be stored in a shaker bottle for easy application. (Find bentonite clay here.)
I love infant massage and at one point bought a special massage oil just for that purpose. Baby oil is also recommended for this use. Unfortunately, most are made with mineral oil and many include artificial fragrances that can cause skin irritation. My DIY solution? Coconut oil.
You can use it solo or add 1 drop of lavender essential oil per tablespoon for a relaxing effect that’s safe for baby. If you do opt to add essential oils, use it all up at once or store it in a glass jar.
What natural alternatives have you tried for your baby?