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NEWBORN SKIN CARE

The Little Guy just turned 5 months and I still can’t believe how fast the time has gone.  I swear I was just pushing this little guy out just a few days ago.  I had someone ask me about skin care products for use on babies…so I figured why not blog all about it!

Popular lore would love for us to think that every baby needs pink lotion slathered on their skin, baby oil on their cradle cap and baby powder on their bottoms.  Don’t get me wrong, my first kid used it all.  I loved the smell of a squeaky clean baby.  The smell of baby wash will forever be etched in my mind.  The doctor actually smeared it all over as he was being delivered.  I have no clue why, I guess to make his exit smoother?  Knowing what I do now I would have smacked her mid-push…having a Doula during that delivery would have been priceless, oh well, live & learn.

In this blog I will go over my little guys skincare routine along with products that I recommend and ones I definitely avoid.  I will focus primarily on the first 6 months but most of this information will be great for your older children as well as adults.  Please keep in mind that skincare is not just limited to soaps & lotions.  Chemicals, fragrances, detergents and dyes in clothing can cause irritation, dryness, chafing, and rashes.  If you are breastfeeding your food choices can effect your little ones skin too.

SKINCARE AT BIRTH

It’s important to remember that a newborns skin is very sensitive and requires little intervention when they first arrive.  Some babies are born with a white coating called vernix caseosa, which protects their skin from the constant exposure to amniotic fluid in the womb. Babies born after 40 weeks are born wrinkled and with little to no vernix caseosa.  This is perfectly ok but if your baby is born with the vernix caseosa, rub it into the skin, do not wipe it off.  It will protect the baby’s skin from infection outside of the womb too.

Vernix is a white substance that protects the baby's skin from the amniotic fluid & even infection.
Vernix is a white substance that protects the baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid & even infection.  This baby was born at 37 weeks..
Kihre was born at 42 weeks w/ no vernix.
Kihre was born at 42 weeks w/ no vernix at all.

It is a common practice in hospitals to wipe off the vernix.  Then again there are a lot of hospital practices that I do not agree with, exactly why Kih was born at home.  I won’t get into that in this blog but here is a link to an awesome blog on Natural Newborn Care.  It discusses everything from waiting to cut the cord to the best way to administer Vitamin K.  Check it out, it’s well written and informative.

WHAT TO AVOID

Before I get into the specifics of newborn skin care, I need to tell you that everything that we have been programmed to believe about skin care comes from a multi-million dollar industry.  I know it is hard to believe but the unsurprising irony is that none of that is necessary. Your baby’s skin is far better off with minimal intervention. The fewer soaps, shampoos, and lotions that you apply to your little one’s incredible new skin, the healthier and more perfect it will be.

Mainstream baby products contain numerous toxic ingredients that will enter your baby’s body if used. The best option is to stick with natural, nourishing, and edible ingredients such straight oils (olive, sweet almond, coconut) and fragrance-free bar soap, although omitting soap and rinsing just with water is usually fine, too. (If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, don’t use it.) Your baby may not have that stereotypical baby-powder smell, but he or she will be healthier in the long run, and that’s all that matters.

That being said, when you do buy baby anything you should avoid these ingredients without fail.

  • Talc-used as a drying agent, mostly used in baby powder, it is a natural mineral however it is carcinogenic.  In recent months it has been linked to Ovarian cancer because of use to keep the female nether regions dry.  My mom used Baby Powder daily and died from Ovarian cancer, not a scientific study but I’m convinced it played a role in her death.
  • Fragrance-The problem with fragrance is that it’s a catch-all term for whatever secret ingredients companies wish to add (they are not obligated to reveal what’s contained within ‘fragrance’), and are generally made of coal- and petroleum-derived synthetic chemicals.  Most of these chemicals are known to cause problems in every system from the nervous to digestive systems.
  • Propylene glycol-This chemical is a penetration enhancer that is easily absorbed by the skin and may be carcinogenic. Its job is basically to open up all the pores and let the other chemicals in. Propylene glycol is used in wiper fluid and to de-ice airplanes, and yet it is often found in baby wipes, which is not safe. Look out for polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polypropylene glycol (PPG) on labels, too.
  • 1,4-dioxane and Ethylated Surfactants-The Environmental Working Group found that 57 percent of baby soaps are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Although it’s never listed as an ingredient, 1,4-dioxane is often present in beauty products because it is a contaminant or by-product that occurs when “ethylene oxide, a known breast carcinogen is added to other chemicals to make them less harsh” (There’s Lead In Your Lipstick).If you see any ingredients that contain the letters eth, then that is an indicator of the presence of 1,4-dioxane. Stay away from polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG.
  • Mineral Oil or Baby Oil-is essentially mineral oil mixed with fragrance, what a nasty combination to call Baby Oil.  Mineral oil is a cheap byproduct of petroleum processing and works like plastic wrap on the skin.  This inhibits the skin’s natural ability to release toxins and breathe.
  • Parabens-these nasty little things are in everything from soaps, body washes, shampoos and moisturizers, including the ones marketed as baby safe.  They are neurotixins and are linked to reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption and skin irritation.  Avoid anything with the word paraben in its name, as well as benzoic acid and propyl ester.
  • Triclosan-If it says ‘antibacterial’ it likely contains triclosan, which is a carcinogenic endocrine disruptor.  Although it makes sense to keep babies away from unnecessary bacteria, it is the wrong approach to raise them in completely sterile environments.  By doing this we inhibit their ability to create a naturla resistance and immunity, increase the likelihood of allergies, and render antibacterial treatments less effective for when we truly need them.  It is not recommended to use antibacterial soaps and body washes.

Ok so now that everything you have ever known to be good for a babies skin is basicly poision, what should you use?  Below I have broken out different areas of skin care for newborns from diapering to cradle cap and back to bathing.

UMBILICAL CORD CARE

While the umbilical cord performed the magical feat of nourishing your LO in the womb, it is still kinda yucky as it dries up and falls off.  The good thing is that it requires little maintenance.  Here are a few tips to help it heal and fall off as quick as possible.

  • Keep the area dry at all times.  There is no need to fully immerse your newborn into a bathtub before the cord falls off.  If you need to bath the baby simply use care to keep the cord as dry as possible.  If it gets wet it is not the end of the world but it can slow the drying process.
  • Keep the area clean.  It is important to keep the diaper from sitting on the stump.  This can introduce urine bacteria and cause infection, it will also keep the area moist and unable to dry.  Air is super important for scabbing process to take place.
  • Apply Goldenseal Root Powder.  Goldenseal Root is a natural antibiotic that will help the scabbing.  You can simply dab a bit of the powder onto a clean cotton swab and apply to the stump, paying special attention to the base.  Be sure that you do not “double-dip” the cotton swab into the powder.  Do this 3x a day until it dries up.  Make sure that when the stump falls off you discontinue use, as long term use is not recommended.  Also please note that this bright yellow powder will stain so please take care.
  • Keep baby in loose fitting clothing so it doesn’t rub the cord.  This is again so air can flow freely to the area.
  • Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not remove the stump.  No matter how badly you want to , do not remove the stump.  It can cause bleeding that will not stop.  This can be serious.  Trust me, it will fall off when it is good and ready.

DIAPERING

I must admit that I did not make an investment in Newborn cloth diapers.  I did receive 2 as a gift but obviously that isn’t enough for a full day.  You should actually have enough for 2 days incase something comes up and you can’t get to the wash, that means 24 minimum.  I did use the NB cloth diapers I had daily along with disposable ones.  Ok so this isn’t a blog about diapers (I’m working on that one too…so many blogs so little time) but I do need to address possible diaper allergies.

Contact dermatitis

Disposable diapers are quite possibly the reason for your little ones red bum.  No seriously, they are filled with materials that are not only possible allergens but also known to be toxic.  Irritation caused by constant contact to these irritants or allergens is known as Contact dermatitis.

Common Allergens in Disposable Diapers that cause Contact dermatitis:

  • Dioxins-the residue left over after using chlorine to make the diaper material white.  According to the WHO (World Health Organization) Dioxins are highly carcinogenic and exposer can cause skin reactions, altered liver function and disrupts the immune, endocrine, nervous and reproductive functions.
  • Sodium Polyacrylate-this super absorbent compound is a mixture of cellulose from trees and crystals from polyacrylate.  You may have seen it before, it looks like little jelly crystals on the baby’s skin.  It was removed from tampons because of toxicity concerns, only to be reintroduced in diapers.  There are not long term studies but it is said to be linked to skin irritation and respiratory problems.
  • Tributyl-tin (TBT)-according to research published by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, tributyl-tin can trigger genes that promote the growth of fat cells, causing obesity in humans.
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)-These include chemicals such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. According to the EPA, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some VOCs are even suspected of causing cancer in humans (EPA.gov).
  • Other Yucky Stuff-Other skin irritating chemicals often used in disposable diapers include dyes, fragrances, plastics, latex and petrolatum’s. Adhesive chemicals are used in the sticky tabs to close the diapers and dyes are used to color and make the patterns and labels that mark diapers. Perfumes and fragrances are used in some disposable diapers to help mask odors.

There are a few ways to tell if the irritation is caused by Contact dermatitis.

  • The rash can take up to 2 days to appear after contact with irritant
  • Redness is accompanied by bumps, puss or blisters that cannot be resolved with diaper rash
  • No matter how many times you change your little ones diaper or how dry he/she is, the irritation will not go away
  • Irritation is not limited to areas that pee and poo are present, ie the area on the tummy where the waist band rubs
  • Irritation is only present on contact areas and does not spread

This can most easily be remedied by changing the brand of diapers that you use.  We have been using Babyganics brand diapers, they are free of chlorine, latex, petroleum and fragrances.  I started with Honest and they work about the same but Babyganics is more pocket friendly.  Of course the best, most earth-friendly option will be the cloth diapers.  Cotton or Bamboo fabrics are best for babies sensitive skin.

Irritant Diaper Dermatitis better known as Diaper Rash

Irritant Diaper Dermatitis or Diaper Rash is caused when moisture is trapped between two skin surfaces.  It is due to infrequently changed diapers, diarrhea, new foods and allergies.  My lil guy goes through about 8-12 diapers a day.  I simply change him as needed when he is awake and every time he wakes up from a nap.  That being said, he still sometimes has a little red on his bottom after a poo.

Diaper rash usually clears up in 1-3 days when diaper is kept dry.  Topical ointments can be applied to provide a barrier from the moisture and to help soothe the irritation.  Most over the counter products will contain petroleum jelly.  Harmless right?  Wrong!!  Although it has been used as a cure all for many years, it is a by-product of the oil industry and has been known to have carcinogenic effects.  This simply stated means that it has the potential to cause cancer.  Its purity cannot be guaranteed as the refining is not regulated.  Petroleum jelly also clogs the pores not allowing skin to breathe, one of the skins most important functions.  So my take on this is stay away from it.  There are plenty of unharmful and renewable natural alternatives.

I like coconut oil because it is anti-bacterial  & anti-fungal and use it on a regular basis just for general maintenance.  It works great for minor irritations caused by wet diapers.  When my LO has his poopie days (breastfed babies do not necessarily go #2 everyday) he gets a little irritated on his bum.  On those days I use Baby Bee Bum Butter from Walnut Hollow Workshop.  Love this stuff, it makes his bum go from red to taupe in no time flat.  Even better all the ingredients are natural & beneficial.  You can get it from the Fredericksburg Farmers Market.

BABY BEE BUM BUTTER
BABY BEE BUM BUTTER

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are full of the nasties…there are some good brands that have natural ingredients with out all the toxic ones.  I found an awesome blog from Safe Mama, that goes over all of the ‘Safer’ baby wipes.  These are however very expensive.  An alternative is to just make your own at home.

I don’t use anything special to wipe his bum only simple ingredients.  I mix some castile soap and water on a baby wash cloth (I use different wash cloths for diapering and bathing).  I wipe his bottom, let it air dry and toss the soiled wash cloth in a wet bag for washing within 48 hours.  I like this option for two reasons, 1) It is earth and tree friendly and 2) It is inexpensive.

That being said, disposable wipes are so convenient, especially when you are out and about and they still save tons of money.  Here is a recipe for Natural Homemade Baby Wipes from Wellness Mama that I just love.  I actually recommend you bookmark her site, it is great.  The most important thing to remember is that you need to always make small batches.  Enough for 1 to 2 days only, after 48 hours water will start to grow bacteria even with essential oils.

THANK HEAVEN FOR LITTLE…BOYS!  Just not their circumcisions…Ouch!!

No seriously!  I’m glad I have 2 boys.  Ok well except for the circumcision part…ouch!  I’m not going to get into my opinion on this but since it is such a common practice and it is skin, I will get into the care.  When my first son was born, he was circumcised in the hospital.  I can only imagine being whisked away from your mothers arms and taken into a room with strangers that hold you down and cut off a piece of your skin.  Only to be left with a raw, tender wound that is left to sit in a closed diaper, stinging every time you pee.

I’m not judging either way….one of my boys is circumcised, the other is not.  If you do choose circumcision it does require special cleaning & care for the first 7-10 days.  Since the wound will most surely come in contact with urine & poo, it is imperative that you clean the area well.  Do not use soap.  All you need is warm, NOT hot, WARM water.   You should come home with a peri bottle.

PERI BOTTLE

If you did not, you can get one from your local drug store.  Please don’t take the baby in a drug store, ever if you can avoid it.  Obviously because sick people go there to get medications & prescriptions.  Just put warm water into the peri bottle and squirt the area to remove any yucky bits.  Please be careful not to get the umbilical cord wet.  It is important that it dries, as noted earlier.

Let the area air dry, you can fan with a diaper too.  Change the diaper constantly,  sitting in urine is the worst thing for irritation.  It is very important to apply a lubricant that will keep urine off of the irritation as well as keep it from sticking to the diaper, ouch!  As noted previously I don’t use petroleum based products because of its carcinogenic nature.  Besides it is not a renewable resource therefore not earth friendly.  I don’t know about you but I would like my LO to have a planet to live on.  Anyways, enough on my tree hugging tangent…yes…I hug trees and so will my LO.

There are a few natural remedies to help calm the irritation and help the wound heal faster.  As I wrote earlier, Coconut Oil is like magic for irritation because of its calming & anti bacterial properties. You can simply dab some on a cotton make-up pad and apply to the tip at every change.  This will keep the area moisturized and from sticking to the diaper.  It will also keep the area germ free.

Coconut Oil & Organic Cotton Make-up Pads
Coconut Oil & Organic Cotton Make-up Pads

You can also melt some beeswax in a double boiler & add coconut oil for an extra barrier from moisture.  I would use a mixture of 1 part beeswax to 6 parts coconut oil.  You can adjust the formula but don’t make it too hard because you want it to smooth on easily with out much resistance on the skin.  Make sure you melt the beeswax first as it has a much higher melting point than the Coconut Oil.  Then add the Coconut Oil at the end.

Beeswax Melting with Coconut Oil
Beeswax Melting with Coconut Oil

Give it a good stir and pour into an airtight glass lid and it will keep for a year or two as long as you don’t introduce any water into it.  This mixture is great for a diaper rash ointment as well.

Beeswax & Coconut Oil Mixture Cooled
Beeswax & Coconut Oil Mixture Cooled

THE DREADED CRADLE CAP…

Infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis better known as Cradle Cap is a greasy, yellowish scaly rash that is very common within the first year of life.  It doesn’t seem to cause discomfort to the baby and is fairly easy to remedy with some coconut oil or olive oil and a soft baby brush. Most of the sites that I read said it was normal and wasn’t a clue to the health or cleanliness of the baby.

I still had to wonder if it was linked to some sort of nutrient deficiency or allergy.  I couldn’t help but think that there had to be some underlying cause.  After a lot of research I found that cradle cap is associated with a number of different factors including hormone breakdown, yeast in the digestive tract, food allergies and inflammation.  So obviously nutrition or lack of is a contributing factor.  It makes sense since a properly working and nourished digestive system is imperative to health.  I did a whole blog on the Newborn Digestive System that will give you great information on how it works.

Cradle cap is often the first sign that your baby may be having trouble processing what they are ingesting.  Babies on formula have higher incidence of cradle cap because it is tougher for them to break down.  Breastfed babies who suffer with cradle cap may be having difficulty processing mother’s milk due to an allergen in her diet.  It is important to identify what is causing the cradle cap because the inflammation in the system will often progress beyond the scalp and cause eczema.  This puts the baby at higher risk for allergies and asthma in the future.

My LO had a slight instance of cradle cap at three months, it was very slight but was directly linked to me eating dairy products.  About two weeks after I stopped consuming dairy, mostly cheese & kefir, his cradle cap & eczema cleared right up…I will get to the eczema later but it was also directly linked to the dairy as well.

While I patiently waited to see if my diet changes would remedy the cradle cap,  I simply applied coconut oil or olive oil and let it sit for 20 minutes or so.  If it is severe enough you can put a baby cap on to heat up the oil and get it deeper into the skin.  I also expressed breastmilk and applied liberally on the cradle cap.  Let me tell you, breastmilk is like magic for any skin ailment that your LO may have.  I did not have to use a brush to remove any flaky skin because it was so slight but you can use a soft baby brush to gently loosen the flakes so they can be wiped off.

Best Oils to Use on Cradle Cap

  • Almond Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Shea Butter

Most of the research I found said to use a gentle shampoo to remove the cradle cap.  I find that shampoo, especially most commercial shampoos dry out an adults hair and skin so I know it is even more damaging and irritating to a babies sensitive skin.  I use an unscented handmade bar soap from Walnut Hollow Workshop for my LO head to toe.  Then again my LO is still bald at 5 1/2 months.

BATHING

At first your infant will require little bathing.  A sponge bath with warm water is enough until the umbilical cord falls off, this can mean the first “real” bath won’t be until one to four weeks after birth.  After that they can graduate to weekly or bi-weekly baths in a baby tub or a sink will work just fine too.  You don’t need to use a large amount of soap on their delicate skin, they really aren’t getting dirty at this age.

I used my Earth Mama Angel Baby Angel Baby Body Wash & Shampoo initially.  It is great for quick washing since it foams.  It is Castile Soap based so it is very gentle but it is not tear free.  I was just very careful when I wiped him clean.  At this point I still don’t dump water onto his head, I find simple wiping to suffice.  If your LO has cradle cap and needs a good rinse then simply lean him/her back and be careful not to get in eyes.

I stopped using the product after he started getting eczema around 3 months.  I am not saying the product caused eczema, I actually know now that it was caused strictly by my diet since it healed with my dietary changes.  I did however change to an unscented hand made bar soap while I waited for his skin to heal.  I didn’t have any of my Shea Honey Oat Organic soap made so I had to buy something else.   I fell in love with it, it is very simple, pure and effective.  I get the soap from the Walnut Hollow Workshop.  Yes I love their products, so simple, effective and  so baby perfect.  I love it just as much as the soaps that I make but I love to support local businesses, especially when I know the owners personally.  I know they live by holistic principals and ensure only the purest quality ingredients go into all of their products.

I still go by the weekly, bi-weekly schedule unless he has a diaper blow out, I definitely bathe him afterwards.  Other than that I just wipe him down with warm water on the off days.  Remember what I said at the beginning, Less is Best.  Too much washing will dry out skin whether you are 0 or 95 years old.  Your skin creates its own moisture glands that produce sebum.

Sebum makes its way to the skins surface through the pores and keeps it waterproof.  It’s a barrier in two ways: It keeps too much water from getting into your body, and it prevents you from losing too much water through your skin. Sebum also protects skin from bacterial and fungal infections.  If you constantly wash off the sebum, your babies skin will lack this natural defense.

Once your babe is over 6 months he/she will start to be more mobile, possibly crawling.  You can also begin to introduce solid foods slowly at this age, the WHO suggests 6 months as the earliest that anything other than moms milk should be given to your LO.  As you can imagine these milestones will bring a whole new level of mess to clean up.  You will find food particles everywhere from the creases of their neck to the folds in their chubby little thighs.  At this stage you should use your own discretion, if your LO is messy, give him a bath but no more than 4-5x a week.  It also helps if you simply do a quick wipe down with warm water and a wash cloth after each feeding.

HAIR CARE

Hair care is very simple early on.  Just as the skin needs sebum for moisture, so does your hair.  As noted before it is very important that you don’t strip away these oils.  It is also important that whatever you use doesn’t get into the babies eyes, whether it says tear-less or not.  Especially since the eyes are still in the early stages of development.  I say better to not take chances.  In the beginning you can simply use a wash cloth with warm water, wring it out and wipe the baby’s head during his/her sponge bath.

FullSizeRender (3)

I still do the same thing not that he is in the baby tub.  There is still no need to douse or dunk his head into water.

Once he starts eating foods, which I don’t know how much longer I can prolong.  He so intently watches as I cook or prepare foods.  I’m trying to hold to the saying that “Food before one is just for fun!”.  It’s hard when he is practically yanking the food from my hands.  Solid foods are a monumental step and a very messy one.  You will definitely find food particles on the LO hair and everywhere else you can think of, even places you can’t imagine.  In this case you may need a gentle cleanser to remove the particles.  I use the same soap that I use for his skin since it is very gentle and cleanses very well.  I use a very small amount, so little you can barely see the bubbles, remember less is more! I know you are thinking ‘My gosh did she really say that again?’  Yes…because it is important to reprogram your thought process and that takes repetition. I still use the wash cloth to gently massage the area.  I then rinse the wash cloth and wipe off.

When they get to toddler stage and have a little more hair, there are lots of natural easy options.  You can make your own with castile soap and a little bit of water.  I found a great blog site, Gimmie the Good Stuff and they have a great post on Non-toxic Baby Shampoo, The Good, The Bad & The Sneaky.

BEST MOISTURIZER FOR BABY

So after we give the LO a bath, we have to replenish the oils that we have stripped in the cleaning process.  If you use a good, natural cleanser you will minimize the need to apply moisturizers.  There are tons of natural moisturizers in the form of butters, oils and even waxes.  I try to use ingredients in their raw form before mixing.  For example if you use Sweet Almond Oil and your LO has a reaction to it, then you know to keep ’em away from almonds.  When using products that have numerous ingredients it is hard to tell which ingredient is the culprit.

So far we have used Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil & Shea Butter.  Since I know that he doesn’t react to them, I can mix them interchangeably, depending on his needs.  Coconut oil is by far our favorite, with Jojoba & Avocado coming in close second.  Below is a list of the beneficial moisturizers that nature provides.  This is far from a complete list however these should cover the majority of your LO needs.

  • Apricot Kernel Oil:  The perfect choice for babies, this oil is quite similar to Sweet Almond yet it does not generally pose an allergy risk. This oil is also expeller pressed with a light yellow tint. Odorless and can be used undiluted as a base oil. Shelf life: 2 years.
  • Avocado Oil:  Avocado oil is mild, nourishing, semi-fatty oil, rich in lecithin and vitamins, including A, B and D. It is ideal for relieving itchy, dry and sensitive skin and works well blended with light oils such as Apricot Kernel Oil.  Shelf life: 1 year.
  • Castor Oil:  Castor oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties and is high in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 beneficial fatty acids. Its unusually high ricinoleic acid ratio makes it beneficial to skin and hair.  In fact, castor oil has traditionally been used topically for acne and other skin conditions, as well as hair loss, rashes and more.  This is another highly viscous oil and blends well with lighter oils.  Shelf life: 2 years.
  • Coconut Oil: If you want ultra soft, smooth and non-greasy skin, use coconut oil! Highly absorbent, antibacterial and soothing, this oil is perfect for all skin types. You should only use unrefined raw Coconut Oil. Solid at room temperature, this oil is white (clear as a liquid) and smells just like a coconut. The perfect base oil, it can be used 100% undiluted except when needing a liquid-at-room-temperature base, then it should be blended with another oil. Shelf life: 2 years.
  • Jojoba Oil:  Thick and mineral-rich, Jojoba makes a wonderful addition to a carrier oil. However, this oil is not to be used undiluted as it can either be too thick/sticky or slightly irritating. This oil is a deep yellow and generally odorless. Should not make up more than 10% of an oil blend. Shelf life: 2 years.
  • Olive Oil:  Olive oil has long been the standard for herbal alchemy, although this heavy-weight oil is quickly being replaced by more absorbent mediums. This oil is thick, greasy and does not absorb easily. It is best used for conditions that need serious hydrating, like ultra dry hair or skin. Even still, it is best used diluted in another carrier oil, making up 10% of the final product at most. This oil ranges from light yellow to dark green depending on the press and variety. Shelf life: 2 years.
  • Shea Butter:  This vitamin and mineral rich butter comes from the Karite tree in Northern Africa.  It has a distinct nutty smell and is a great addition to any skin care routine.  It has a 6 spf and is generally safe for all skin types as long as it is unrefined.  Word of Caution, Unrefined Shea Butter ranges from ivory to yellow, it will stain clothing.  Simply make sure it is fully soaked in before dressing and use a very small amount.  Shea Butter does pose a risk to those with tree nut allergies or latex allergies, use with caution for young children or anytime where allergies are unknown. Shelf Life: 2 years.
  • Sweet Almond Oil:  A wonderful base oil and highly absorbent Sweet Almond Oil hydrates and softens without clogging pores. This oil is odorless and can be used as a base oil without dilution. Look for expeller pressed oil with a light yellow tint. Sweet almond oil poses a risk to those with nut allergies, use with caution for young children or anytime where allergies are unknown. Shelf Life: 2 years.

Severely Dry, Flaky Skin…better known as Eczema

Eczema affects the skin in flare-ups. Your baby’s skin may have dry and itchy patches of skin most of the time, but during flare-ups, these areas worsen and become inflamed. This happens as his immune systems overreacts to substances he’s allergic to.  Both bottle-fed and breast-fed babies can have eczema.

I won’t turn this into a lesson on nutrition.  I will say that most of the information that I found on eczema states that it is not based on the nutrition of the baby.  I don’t know if I can fully stand behind any of these claims.  Especially since it is  so closely related to allergens.  I do know that breastfeeding is best, if you are able.  It is specifically designed for your baby and it is great for mom’s health too.  I also know that babies that are breastfed can get eczema just like formula fed babies.

That being said if your baby is breastfed and they have eczema, there are many things that can be a factor.  My LO is breastfed and had eczema and digestive issues in his early months.  I went through the whole elimination diet to see what if anything was causing his issues.  I ended up discovering that he had an allergy to dairy.  When I eliminated dairy from my diet his digestive issues and eczema only slightly improved.  It was only after adding pro-biotics to my diet, did his digestive issues clear up, but he still had eczema…

So I was back to the drawing board and very sad that I could no longer eat cheese. I had read somewhere that Vitamin D deficiencies could lead to eczema and other skin related issues.  Made sense to me because he was born right when it started to get cold outside so he had not gotten much sun exposure, neither had I.  Only one week after taking 2000iu of Vitamin D daily, I noticed a drastic reduction in his flakiness and in two weeks his eczema had cleared up completely.

I’m not saying that Vitamin D and Pro-biotics will clear up eczema,  I tell you my story because I am convinced that eczema is linked to deficiency and/or allergies.  If you are breastfeeding please consider an elimination diet along with getting a complete work up from your physician to see if you have any Vitamin or Mineral deficiencies.

If you baby is formula fed, you may want to consider changing the formula that you are using.  I want to emphasize that no matter milk or soy based, formula should be Organic.  Non-organic formulas are mostly made of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) ingredients, these cause an entirely different set of issues that I will blog about later.   Below is a list of ingredients that you should always avoid, so do your due diligence and read all labels.

formula

Click Here for an awesome Blog on How to Find the Safest Organic Formula by FoodBabe.com.

Formula-organic

So as usual, what was supposed to be a quick blog has turned into a mini novel.  There is so much information out there and I’ve only helped to scratch the surface here.  I do hope that the information is beneficial for some new mommies out there.  If you have any questions or just want to chat about the info in this blog, please contact me at stephanie@edensbalance.com.

As always please discuss everything with your licensed physician as I am not a physician.  I do think natural is the best way to go but please see full Medical Disclaimer here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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