Tag Archives: natural baby

DIAPERING & SKINCARE


This blog is an excerpt from another blog that I did all about Newborn & Baby Skincare.  If you would like to read the entire article click here.   This article will focus specifically on diapering and pampering your baby’s bottom.

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 cloth vs disposable diapers (I’m working on that one too…so many blogs so little time) but I do need to address possible diaper allergies since we are on the topic of skincare.

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

HOMEMADE GRIPEWATER RECIPE

After a few nights of no sleep and a very unhappy newborn, I finally got the energy to research why my sweet little angel turned into a monster over night.  Ok so he wasn’t a monster but his painful cries and tense little body was scary to say the least.  He looks like Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas when he is angry.  I learned that colic is a broad term used for fussy babies that is generally linked to digestive issues.  I did another blog all about this that you can check out here.

Gripe water is one of the Mommy Remedies that every mom I know has used.  Many moms tout it as “Mommy’s Miracle”!  I had to learn more about this magical concoction that everyone was speaking of.  Gripe water has been around since 1851 and is considered a traditional medicine to treat colic, intestinal discomfort, hiccups & more.  The ingredients in modern day gripe water are mostly ok, however like most items sitting on store shelves consisted of preservatives & additives.  Here is a breakdown of common ingredients…some great, some not so good…

Safe Ingredients
Aloe vera – alleviates bloating and flatulence.
Anise seeds – promote easy digestion.
Angelica – works great for an upset tummy.
Blackthorn – relieves pain and discomfort due to abdominal cramps.
Caraway seeds – enhance digestion and prevent flatulence.
Cinnamon bark extract – improves the process of digestion and helps get rid of nausea.
Cardamom – relieves nausea and vomiting and promotes easy digestion.
Chamomile – helps maintain the health of the stomach.
Dill extract – helps get rid of nausea, offers relief from flatulence, brings back the sick stomach to normal position.
Fennel – works great for the upset stomach and provides quick relief from cramps.
Ginger root extract – helps prevent indigestion and nausea.
Lemon balm – helps get rid of flatulence.
Peppermint – is required to settle down the stomach as it works great for nausea.
Unsafe Ingredients
Alcohol – It can ruin the bodily systems. Feeding the baby with an addiction inducing element is very dangerous. Alcohol can cause drowsiness.
Charcoal Vegetable Carbon – It lowers the effectiveness of other drugs, which is quite dangerous. It can cause dehydration, swelling or pain in the stomach.
Dairy – The baby can be ‘allergic or intolerant’ to lactose. Lactose can make the baby suffer from excessive gases.
Gluten – The baby can be ‘gluten intolerant’ or ‘allergic to gluten’. Gluten can be harmful for intestinal cells.
Soy – Certain kinds of soy may restrict the body from absorbing nutrients, leading to long-term health problems.
Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) – It can affect the health of the baby seriously. It can affect the pH of the stomach, blood pH, functions of nerves and muscles.
Yeast – It promotes storing of fats in the body, making the baby overweight.
Citric Acid – It can be harmful for the delicate digestive system of the baby, in various ways. Excessive consumption of citric acid is harmful even for adults. It can lead to nausea, loose motions and vomiting. It can act like an allergen for some babies.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/gripe-water-for-newborns.html
As you can see there are benefits as well as some nasty side effects to using over the counter gripe water.  This is exactly why I decided to create my own.  Here is the recipe that works best for my little man but you can adjust based on the needs or your kiddo from the safe list above.
MY HOMEMADE GRIPE WATER RECIPE
Ingredients:

  • 2 c. distilled water
  • 1 slice (about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. dried chamomile (or 1 tea bag’s worth)
  • 2 tsp. dried fennel, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. dried cardamom, crushed
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. food grade vegetable glycerin or natural sweetener to taste (no honey until baby is over a year old; also avoid no- or low-calorie sweeteners like stevia, xylitol, erythritol, or artificial sweeteners)
  • 1/4 ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan or tea kettle.
  2. In a muslin bag combine the ginger, chamomile, fennel, and cardamom.  If you do not have a tea bag that is ok but you will have to strain the contents very well to make sure that no small pieces remain in the mixture.
  3. Remove the water from the heat and add the tea bag (or loose herbs).  Allow to steep for about half an hour.
  4. Remove the tea bag (or strain the loose herb).  Add the glycerin or other non-honey sweetener and cinnamon to the tea. Store in an airtight, glass container in the refrigerator or freeze into ice cubes.  I always freeze measured out doses so I can easily administer with a glass bottle.

Dosage:  Do not exceed 6 doses in a 24 hour period

● 0-3 months: 1/2 tsp. (2.5 mL)

● 3-6 months: 1 tsp. (5 mL)

● 6-12 months: 2 tsp. (10 mL)

 

My little guy loves this stuff.  He actually gets mad that he can’t have more.  It actually tastes amazing and I have even tried it for my own digestive issues with great success.  As always do your own research & consult your physician or midwife before administering anything new to your child.  Check out the full medical disclosure here.