All purpose baby balm

While writing my post on my homemade baby wipes, I mentioned my love of coconut oil.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many things I use this stuff for!  I love it for moisturizing my skin, my hair, my child, not to mention cooking and baking.  In part, I love only having to buy one thing instead of 6.  Especially when that one all-purpose thing actually works!

Since my son hit around 3 months old, he started drooling.  I know, big shock!  There are days when we’ve gone through 2 or more bibs just trying to keep his clothes dry.  My big concern here was obviously not his clothes – it’s really not a big deal if they get wet.  They’ll dry, and no-one will ever know the difference.  The thing I was concerned about was his skin.  In the same way that babies get diaper rash from having wet diapers in contact with their skin, they can get drool rash from having the skin on their face and even their chest (if they drool like mine does!) wet for too long.  So, once I saw a red bump or two starting to form on his face, I felt a need to jump into action to make something to treat it with.

Enter my favorite coconut oil!  In this instance, coconut oil provides a couple of benefits.  Firstly it acts as a barrier to keep moisture away from the skin.  It also has antimicrobial properties to help clear up any infections that might take advantage of damaged skin.  You can read some of the research on this here.  I added some aloe vera gel and a drop each of lavender and chamomile essential oils and there we have it – a balm that works wonders on his drool rash.  Just make sure you dilute the essential oils enough – 1-2 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil for babies.

Now, you’ve probably noticed that I call this stuff “all purpose baby balm”, but all I’ve talked about so far is drooling.  If you have babies you’ll know how sharp their little nails are, and have no doubt felt the pang of guilt when you get them up from a nap and see yet another scratch on their face, since they managed to wriggle their way out of the mittens you so diligently put on them when you put them in the crib (side note – I’m thinking of trying to “alter” a pair of our mittens to see if a homemade addition will make them slightly more baby-resistant, so stay tuned for that!).  Well, this stuff really helps with healing those little scratches.  Because the products are natural, there’s no concern about putting them on open scratches, and the moisturizing and antimicrobial properties of it help to speed up the healing process.  The healthier the skin is, the faster it will heal.  We haven’t had any diaper rash since we started using the homemade wipes, but if I see so much as a hint of it, this stuff is going straight on there too!

 

Update:  We started using this on our son’s cradle cap, and it worked wonders – put it on at night, and then brush it out in the morning.  It also worked really well treating some dry skin that he got from sweating in his sleep sack overnight (we had the swaddle ones, but were just wrapping the swaddle around his abdomen because he started rolling so we can’t swaddle his arms anymore).  We just applied a small amount a couple of times a day (typically when getting him dressed in the morning and undressed in the evening), and it cleared up the dry skin in a couple of days.

Homemade baby wipes

Welcome to homemade mama! Please join me on my journey as a mama who loves to make things herself, from baby wipes to family meals and everything in between.

Welcome to homemade mama!

As the name suggests, I’m a mama who’s basically obsessed with homemade stuff!  This site is where I will post my favorite tips, instructions, recipes and basically anything related to things that I love to make.

I always loved making things myself, but since I got pregnant with my son, it has really become something of an obsession for me.  Where most women seemed to get their “nesting” drive to deep clean the house and organize baby clothes, the only thing I wanted to do was make things for the baby.  Literally, day and night, I would think about things to sew and crochet, and the two weeks before I went in to labor was almost entirely spent on baking and preparing slow cooker meals until we couldn’t fit one more thing in the freezer!

I’ll be honest, a big part of my inclination towards homemade products is to save money. Pre-made stuff can get so expensive, that I often wonder how much I could save if I did it myself.  The rest of it was inspired by my parents.  Even as a child I loved baking with my Mum – not the cake in a box style (not that there’s anything wrong with that if it works for you), but what I consider to be real baking, from flour, eggs, butter etc.  She would knit sweaters for me and my sister, sew things for us, and even my Dad, who worked crazy hours, would find time to build things for us.  As a child I sometimes wondered why you would do that when you could just buy things, but now I really appreciate the love and care that went in to everything that my parents did for us.

I know that diaper rash is a pretty common occurrence with babies, but the day that my son started to get it, I started wondering whether we could use something other than those expensive store bought wipes to get the job done.  Looking around the internet, I found a lot of tutorials for homemade wipes using tolls of paper towels, and while that was a huge step in the right direction for me, I wanted something reusable.  At bath time one day, I realized that we had a drawer absolutely full of washcloths, and since he was only having a bath 3 times a week (at most), we probably didn’t need that many.  And so began our journey into the world of homemade, reusable baby wipes…

For the liquid, I figured we really needed very few components – something to clean his skin, something to moisturize his skin, and something to make it smell good (especially given the end of the baby we’re putting it on!).  At one of our baby showers we were given a huge amount of Johnson and Johnson baby bath products, including the bedtime bath soap.  Hmm… stuff for cleaning the baby…!  It’s also lavender and chamomile scented, so that kills 2 birds with one stone!  If you were specifically looking for something to reduce the number of chemicals you use on your little one, castile soap would be the way to go, with essential oils to add some fragrance and some additional benefits like lavender to reduce skin irritation (see where we’re going here?!).  Just make sure if you add essential oils to really dilute them for use on babies (1-2 drops per tbsp carrier oil).  For the moisturizing aspect, my favorite product without a doubt is coconut oil (I actually like it so much that it also forms the base of my all purpose baby balm and homemade baby lotion, but those are posts for another day), and I also decided to add some aloe vera for some added skin care.  3 ingredients = happy mama!  I added these to boiled water while it was cooling but still warm enough to melt the coconut oil, let it cool, and then poured it over a stack of pre-folded washcloths inside of our wipes dispensing box that we had on our baby registry.  I kid you not, he hasn’t had a hint of diaper rash since I started using this mixture, and we obviously haven’t had to buy a pack of wipes again!  Since pre-soaked wipes would be likely to dry out in the diaper bag, I keep a few dry cloths in there with a small spray bottle containing at most 1/4 cup of the mixture.  It just needs a quick shake before use, and then I spray it directly onto my son’s skin (you could spray the cloth if you prefer).  The portable box I have for the wipes is one that was given to me by a friend, but it’s so beautiful that I’ll post a tutorial soon for you to make one yourself.

Here’s my homemade wipe recipe:

1 cup cooling boiled water

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp baby bath soap (or other soap of choice)

1/2 – 1 tsp aloe vera gel

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This quantity is enough for 25 – 30 washcloths without leaving them dripping wet.  Once we figured out that this was definitely going to work for us, I stocked up on extra washcloths with some from our local dollar store – they come in boxes of 4 for $1!  If you’re concerned about using cheap ones, we also really love the bamboo ones that we were given.  The washcloths are folded so that they pop up in the dispenser.  To do that, lay one on your surface and lay the next one on top so that they overlap by half.  Fold the bottom one over the top one, then add another one on the same side as the first one, again overlapped by half.  Continue this process until you have a stack of your required size.

The main issue I foresaw with this was washing them – would we be doing it every day, would they all end up stained bright orange (as baby poop tends to be)…?  Our solution to this is a very simple one – cold water and baking soda.  I keep a bowl of this next to the changing table, and just dropped the used wipes in it.  Then once the box is almost empty, I wash them by hand.  I know it sounds gross, since they’re actually used for wiping up poop, but the baking soda handles pretty much everything.  I just use hot water and some soap, and voila!  Clean washcloths that don’t look like they’ve been anywhere near baby poop!  Since we live in an apartment and don’t have the means to dry them outside, I hang them to dry in the bathroom on this wonderful octopus looking thing that I got from ikea!  And then we start the process all over again.  And again, and again, and again!

If you try these, let me know what you think!