Conventionally produced cosmetics and personal care products often contain poisonous substances, many of which were synthetically derived from petrochemicals. These ingredients have the potential for causing cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, allergic respiratory reactions, and skin and eye irritations. Many chemicals found in cosmetics don’t cause immediate visible signs of toxicity, but affect our health negatively over time through repeated use.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that we can do something about it. As parents, making our own baby products on the basis of all natural ingredients not only saves us money, but also ensures that our babies’ delicate immune systems and developing bodies are not unduly taxed by toxic and allergenic ingredients.
Even better, baby products using simple, natural ingredients are easy to make. You can pick up most of the ingredients you will need on your next trip to the local shops. Supermarkets and natural food stores carry almost everything you will need, and specialist ingredients should be available in your pharmacy.
Baby massage oil is one of the most versatile baby products. It can be used on baby’s skin, in the bath, or massaged into the scalp to treat cradle cap. Baby massage is one of the most fulfilling forms of nurturing you can give your child. It aids digestion, relieves colic, eases tension, regulates breathing, and spurs growth. Massage offers your infant not only the comfort and stimulus of touch, but a full range of enriching sensual experiences: eye contact, a soothing voice, and a familiar scent.
You can make your own baby oil using pure almond oil, which is hypoallergenic and has a slightly warming effect on the body, aiding relaxation. If your baby is allergic to seed and nut oils, you can use olive oil as a base instead. For babies older than 6 months, you may wish to experiment by adding a few drops of essential oil to the base oil. Excellent choices for babies include lavender (to achieve a relaxing, sedative effect), geranium (to ease nervous tension and to counteract negative moods), myrrh (to ease coughs, colds, and bronchitis – also beneficial for digestive problems such as colic in infants), and ylang ylang (use sparingly for a highly relaxing and uplifting effect).
Baby wipes are another product which you are sure to use every day. Why not make them yourself? You will save money, and your baby’s delicate skin will thank you.
To make your own wipes, mix one fourth cup of almond or olive oil with two cups of distilled water and one fourth cup of baby shampoo (choose a natural brand). To this, add 8 drops of lavender essential oil and 5 drops of tea tree oil (optional). Now, prepare a roll of paper towels to become baby wipes. First, cut it in half. You now have two short rolls. Remove the cardboard center. Place a short roll in an airtight, waterproof container (you can use an old baby wipe box or a tupperware container) and pour the solution over the towels. Put the lid back on the box and turn it upside down so the solution is absorbed. Alternatively, if you use cloth or flannel wipes, keep the solution in a jar or spray bottle and apply as needed.
Even the most well cared for baby bottoms occasionally suffer a bout of diaper rash. Most diaper rash creams on the market today are formulated on the basis of bee’s wax, and many do-it-yourself recipes contain the same ingredient. If you wish to avoid animal products, you can use jojoba oil instead. Jojoba oil is perfect for baby skin due to its great nutritional properties. Its structure is very close to human sebum so it is easily absorbed.
Jojoba oil allows the skin to breathe, unlike other oils. It nourishes the skin and moisturizes it at the same time. To further enhance these beneficial properties add 5 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil (both act as anti-bacterial agents) for every 2 ounces of oil. Wheat germ oil with its naturally high Vitamin E content complements this jojoba oil mixture. Adding a few drops will also help preserve this product. Pure Vitamin E Oil is a good alternative if you cannot find wheat germ oil.