Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Babies bums are very very cute, I just love those dimples and chubby litle thigh rolls. We like to keep them cute and pink and soft and happy, however being jammed in nappies all day means they are sometimes pretty grubby and they can also get a bit rashy. I have been really lucky with my wee monster, so far no nappy rash, I consider myself fortunate as nappy rash can be a real hassle – not to mention painful and sore on sad baby bums.
Nappy rash can be caused by a number of things including diet, natural sensitivity, allergies and wet/soiled nappies so there is no surefire cure as far as I know. As a preventative, experts advise plenty of nappy free time and frequent changes amongst other things. People who use elimination communication often state that an absence of nappy rash is one of the best things about it.
I feel that I have been able to avoid nappy rash by using a cloth nappy made of bamboo which is naturally antibacterial and by avoiding commercial wipes. I had been using an unscented version of commercial wipes for the first month of my first son's life but I just kept feeling there had to be a better ways even the unscented ones seem to have a load of unnecessary chemicals and they really aren’t that cheap either. I had been using chux cloths on the the advice of another mum but found they seemed to disintegrate in the wash pretty quickly and I am definitely NOT into hand washing if I can possibly avoid it – who has time? So I gave washing disposable wipes a go and hallelujah! they wash beautifully – actually end up a bit softer than brand new. I just buy a store brand wipe, nothing special and put them in with a load of nappies, I find I can wash them 5-6 times before they fall apart which gives me great value for my buck. I make my own nappy wipe solution for them as well.
Home Made Wipes
1 litre of boiling water
1 chamomile teabag
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will do)2 drops of Lavender Oil or teatree oil (optional)
Handful of Marigold/Calendula Flowers (optional)
A few drops of hypercal tincture (this is optional but excellent for healing)
I just mix it all together, pour it over the folded wipes into a plastic container (icecream is fine but I use a commercial wipes containers made by a well known brand) and once cooled drain off any excess and use as standard. The vinegar stops the whole lot from going smelly and also has an antifungal effect whilst the chamomile and marigold are very soothing and healing on little bums. The lavender oil is good for the skin and adds a nice smell while teatree oil is antifungal but I am wary of using large amounts as there is some limited evidence to suggest that certain elements in the oil can interfere with baby hormones.
Home made Wipes with Oil
1 litre of boiling water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup calendula oil or olive oil
Mix together as above, the oil is helpful to babies who have dry skin or when you have a dried on sticky mess to clean off. If you use cloth wipers like muslins or flannels then you can keep the wipes mix in a squeezy bottle and use as needed.
On the subject of things we put on baby bums I had been a little put off by all of the creams and unguents out there for nappy rash, even a simple barrier cream seems to have a lot of chemicals and Vaseline which is one of the simplest and most common products out there is a by-product of the petroleum industry All of these things contain pthalates which are serious hormone interrupters and are especially risky to small babies and their development. I had been looking into a nice looking natural balm made of beeswax and oil but the cost to purchase it put me off at $18 a tub it just wasn’t going to work out dollar wise. So I investigated making my own balm out of beeswax and olive oil.
I make the balm by melting the wax in a thick bottomed pot at a very low heat and stirring in the oil. Once everything is combined I let cool a little before pouring into glass jars or ceramic containers. Old sugar bowls or cups work well. I try to avoid plastic containers as they can leach oestrogens and BPAS when warmed up. The resulting balm is fabulous on little bums and I also use when I massage my wee man as it’s better than a drippy oil which gets everywhere. If you are using cloth nappies you might find it causes a bit of a build up on the nappy, which can be avoided by using liners (rewashable ones are best) or doing an occasional warm wash. It’s best to use is sparingly anyway to avoid build up. I personally use olive oil as it is not derived from nuts (for possible nut allergies) and is fabulous on skin, it’s also one of the cheapest options to use. This balm is also great for dry legs, cracked feet, gardening hands and even sore boobs - although wash off before the hungry mouth goes on and be careful of cross contamination!
Basic Balm Recipe:
1 part beeswax
8 parts olive oil (any other carrier oil will do)
Melt the beexwax and oil together before stirring gently and pouring into pots. You don't want to let the mixture get too hot as it will denature the oil and possibly crack your jar.
Soothing Balm Recipe:
As for the basic recipe but add a few drops of Lavender oil just before pouring into pots, I use Pacific Blue genus of lavender as it is very low in camphor and suitable even for very small babies.
Antifungal Balm Recipe:
As for the basic recipe but add a further 2 parts of virgin coconut oil and a few drops of manuka or teatree oil just before pouring out.
I order my beeswax online from Happy Valley, they have a great online shop and you can get biogro organic options. The minimum order is 1kg which comes in 200gm blocks.
One of the other things you end up using a lot of is talcum or baby powder, and it seems like yet another opportunity to splash unnecessary chemicals onto our babies nethers, not to mention talcum powder can get into baby’s lungs and cause serious breathing issues. A much simpler and cheaper option is standard ordinary cornflour. I just put it in a shaker and use liberally on wee monster's bum. It seems to keep him a lot drier and more comfortable – it’s a great home remedy for nappy rash, although don’t use it if you think there is a thrush infection as the yeasts feed on the cornstarch. A rash that has a thrush infection tends to sit in the creases and should be treated entirely differently to a standard rash.
I never used to be serious about the products on my skin, I used to believe that if they sold it especially for babies that it must be fine. But that is simply not the case, they do not do long term testing nor do they do cumulative testing. You never know what the cocktail of chemicals we regularly put on our skin will do, so why trust the people who depend on you buying their stuff for the information?