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When a beautiful baby arrives into our world, they are pure. As mothers, we all try to keep it that way, not wanting anything to taint our little one’s perfection. These things might range from harmful attitudes, emotions or physical harm. It can also include the chemicals that are rife in our environment. Baby showers are often filled with gifts of wipes and care products that we aren’t sure are good to put onto virgin skin. While we don’t want to wrap our babies in cotton wool or become worried over what is good and bad, it helps to be informed of the best products out there to reduce any future harm.
The below are my favourites that I have used on my baby since birth and will continue to travel down this path of 100% natural and chemical-free products. These are all great gifts for Baby shower presents also.
Starting with the skin, for both myself and my baby we only use 100% organic virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. There are many brands of coconut oil in the market now, which is a positive for the consumer. Not all are organic or virgin and even less are cold pressed. Our favourite is Nui ‘Wild Harvest’ Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s produced from Vanuatu coconuts which are cold pressed to keep all of the goodness. It’s great on your skin and smells lovely, as well as using for cooking and its tastes good too. It’s also great to place a couple of drops into a warm bath.
Almond Kernel Oil is also another great natural oil that I would suggest placing on babies skin or in their bath if their skin is very dry or is showing signs of skin irritation such as psoriasis or eczema.
Sunscreen for both yourself and your baby: WotNot 30+spf sunscreen is my recommendation. 100% natural sunscreen, which is gentle enough for babies. It’s broad spectrum protection, UV-A and UV-B and is enriched with certified organic aloe vera. A positive is that it’s also free from titanium dioxide which is unfortunately in most sunscreens. Also free from chemical UV absorbers, sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, glycols and artificial fragrances and preservatives.
Another option in sunscreen when children start to spend lengthy times in the water and sun is Soleo Organics Sunscreen. As a surfer myself, all other natural sunscreens rub off when in the water for too long. Soleo stays on your face and doesn’t wash off. It’s organic and safe, and protects from both UV-A and UV-B solar radiation. It’s also free of UV-absorbers, titanium dioxide, PABA, SLS, benzoats, parabens, artificial colours and fragrances and synthetic preservatives.
Vanessa Megan ‘Bug Off My Baby’ natural mosquito and insect repellent is a fantastic roll on to have on hand at all times, especially in the Australian summer. Also good to take travelling.
It’s Australian made products that are free from mineral oils, parabens, PEGS, artificial preservatives, colours or fragrances. All Vanessa Megan products are lovely and I recommend them.
There are many good natural nappy rash options on the market now, which is great to see for our babies pure little bottoms. Using a chemical-free cream is the best option to place on such a sensitive area for babies. I recommend Natures Child ‘bottom balm’ which is made from all natural and certified organic ingredients.
Often, we assume that since we may use a body cleanse or soap ourselves, we must use one for our babies. I believe that babies don’t need any or little bathing products. The more natural and the less the better, just warm water and a touch of organic virgin coconut oil is the best option. If your baby is unsettled you can also place a couple of drops of pure lavender oil into the bath to calm them down. If you really want to use a product then I would suggest Gaia baby products, as I do use this brand for other reasons. It’s a great brand which all products are free from parabens, soaps, artificial fragrance, petrochemicals and sulphates. I also feel the same with hair shampoo, less is more, babies don’t need shampoo just water and lots of love and fun at bathtime J
Babies bums are constantly in need of a wipe J When you think about how many nappies you will change in a child’s life that is also a lot of wipes needed. I was lucky to be introduced by a friend, who is a naturopath, to a homemade wipe option. It’s as simple as making up a natural concentrate shown below and placing in a glass jar with a spoon to mix. Then using either a cloth wipe or face-washer or a paper towel/sheet to soak up the water concentrate and use it as a wipe. I find that Viva Towels are the best, as they soak up the water perfectly.
~ 1 tbsp 100% pure virgin Calendula Oil
~ 1 tbsp natural shampoo (I prefer Gaii)
~ 2-3 drops either Lavender or Tea Tree Oil
~ 1.5-2 cups of water
Place all in a glass jug or jar with a lid with a spoon to mix it up. The best thing is that its 100% natural and cost effective.
Of course I don’t carry a jar around with me at all times, especially when I’m out or travelling. On these occasions I would highly suggest WotNot baby wipes. You can buy them in three different pack sizes.
WotNot Wipes are:
~ 100% biodegradable and compostable
~ enriched with Australian Certified Organic Aloe Vera
~ free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals, caustics, glycols and artificial fragrance
~ not tested on animals
WotNot is definitely my favourite. The Facial wipes are also great for us mama’s too, made from Australian certified organic aloe vera, rosehip and sweet almond oil. The second option if you can’t get hold of WotNot wipes would be Bambeco wipes.
My 8 month old still doesn’t have any teeth as yet but when his teeth decide to join us I will most definitely be using
Jack N Jill Toothpaste and Toothbrush. Its 100% safe for young children and is all natural, hypoallergenic toothpaste made with organic ingredients. All packaging is recyclable and BPA free, plus its super cute and inviting to young kids learning to brush their teeth.
As for the fun times of teething, Wedela produce a fantastic homeopathic baby ‘teething powder’ that works beautifully to help those teeth through the gums with less pain for our bubs.
Actually, Wedela have a fantastic range of baby products including nappy rash creams, nursing tea, nipple cream plus a lovely pregnancy oil that I used and loved. All Wedela mother and baby care products are natural and use Calendula as the main ingredient and have been developed in conjunction with doctors and midwives. Highly recommend checking this whole brand out.
If you are ever unsure of a product, firstly check out the ingredients on the back or the leaflet and if still unsure its always best to leave it out. Less is best . . . just use love and kisses instead.
Tara is mama of 8 month old Mason and a Health and Wellness coach specialising in natural and non-toxic living. You can contact Tara at email@example.com
So, as you know I am always flagging products that I think are great for baby. There is a special place in my heart for products that are chemical free - natural.
But what about mama??? I have posted before about quitting all my creams and potions while I was pregnant. This was when I discovered Rose Hip Oil which is now my one and only everything (plus a wash cloth and water!)
And I have mentioned that I moved the whole family to WOTNOT sun protection which is just amazing.
Well, recently, my amazing osteo recommended I check out a great site - an online store run out of Sydney called :
They pretty much carry all the skincare and make up you could possible want. They put it through a rigorous screening to make sure that it meets their natural standard. You can buy vegan, non toxic, natural, gluten free - check out their buying policy, it's a great read.
In the words of my osteo: "Her standard is super high with having to be toxic free and natural which I love because I know I can trust anything she puts on there 100%."
And - no they are not super expensive and unaffordable. I think you will be really surprised!
And... yes they do stock for baby as well.
The other day new parents to a beautiful baby boy asked me about skincare. They had heard that J&J did not have a good reputation and wanted to know what else was out there. So, I thought it might be useful to share...
To preface - the vast majority of baby products are laden with chemicals. (As are adult products.) Not only is it difficult to understand, but most of them you can't even pronounce. It takes patience and time to find natural products that work for you and your baby. Everyone is different and every product works differently. The only way to know is to test, unfortunately.
As with anything, check with your doctor if rashes or other skin conditions are not getting better.
My approach has been to limit, in general, how much I put on Caitlin's skin. Mother Nature knows best is my approach... I use products on a needs basis, which is sporadically. We all have natural oils in our bodies that we produce as necessary. When you need an oil for either baby massage or to condition dry skin try Almond Kernel Oil, Avocado Oil and even Olive Oil. Gaia have an organic oil which is produced from multiple oils.
If you need to use powder - buy the natural variety which generally contains cornstarch.
Side Note: If you are using standard powder on your baby - make sure that you don't use it around the genital area, especially for girls. Has been linked to ovarian cancer.
It was at bath time that I finally found something that would work on her skin rashes - chamomile tea. So, basically buy loose tea, put 3-4 heaped teaspoons into a cup and make it with boiling water as you normally would. Leave it there for 10-30mins. Then add the tea through a strainer into your baby's bath, i.e. you don't want bits of tea floating in there. This helps ease heat rashes and nappy rash for Caitlin. I always have it in the house now!
I love the smell of lavender in the bath - I have used J&J Bathtime in the bath. I love the smell and a tiny amount in the bath is enough. But unfortunately J&J is far from natural. I also used the Gaia sleeptime bath which was also good (and organic). The one flaw with Gaia is that it is not as aromatic as J&J Bathtime, but I wonder if a drop of lavender oil in the bath wouldn't do the trick?
I have also used the QV Bath Oil which came highly recommended by a number of people but I'm not sure how much of a difference it really makes to her skin and it contains products that are not recommended - its ingredients are parabens and petrochemical based.
Nothing beats the Chamomile Tea for Caitlin.
One of my favourite products to use in the bath, which I have already shared on this blog before - the Konjac natural sponge. Love it.
I have been experimenting in the baby wipes area and am happy to report that I have found the most amazing wipes. Bambeco wipes are not only natural but also biodegradable. I order them in bulk online. I have tried a lot (although not WOTNOT as yet) and Bambeco it is. The reason why I like them is because:
- they are strong without being overly thick;
- they are gentle but effective cleaners;
- they are moist but not soggy;
- and the fact that they are bamboo, with natural ingredients is a major plus for me.
Nappies & Nappy Rash
I have a graveyard of nappy rash products - none of which have worked except for Amolin and the chamomile tea bath. Let me say though - they work at the very early stages of rash and on mild rash only. Once it has taken hold - which happened when the teeth were coming through - the only thing that helped was Hydrozole. A few days and it was all clear. Hydrozole is a cortisone based cream and should not be used on an ongoing basis. Before using something like this on your baby, check with your doctor.
If you are concerned about chemicals on your baby's skin look no further than the average disposable nappy. (And don't even get me started on mattresses and cotton). We have written about nappy options in the past - find it here. There are a lot of factors which need to be considered but generally, for many reasons, cloth is best.
Make sure to gently brush baby's head (or hair if they have any) from early on. It helps clear oils which can build up and cause cradle cap. So a bit of gentle brushing with a soft haired brush everyday. If cradle cap does develop, don't worry it's nothing serious, all you need to buy is a special brush & glove set which you use during bath time. It doesn't take long, and easy to do, and gets rid of it quite quickly. It may come back but just keep using the brush set.
For shampoo/body wash I have used Aveeno and Gaia. Much of a muchness in terms of result. Aveeno claim natural but the ingredients label on the back tells a different story. Gaia is organic and easily available.
Last but not least - sunscreen. The chemicals in sunscreen are a shocker - and have been linked to cancers and skin conditions. Solve one problem create another 10.... I bought WOTNOT natural sunscreen originally for Caitlin but we have all now started using it.
So there you have it - this is my list. There are of course other products. My list may not work for you, but I hope that it gives you a starting point. There are some great shops around now that stock organic and better for baby products, like Little Green Footprints & Nourished Life.
On a final note, I know it seems like a lot, so my suggestion is go step by step if it's all too much. If you want to make a major change to baby's exposure to chemicals then start with one or more of the products that spend the most time on or near the baby's skin - nappies, under clothing, mattress or skincare products.
And, if you want to be more careful with chemicals around the baby, look at the home cleaning chemicals as well - including the dish washing liquid. There are a great natural alternatives. Check out our older posts here.
A while back – at the baby show, we purchased the Kuu Konjac sponge, a natural sponge derived from Konjac root plant.
We bought it to trial it. At the show the representative told us that it is a biodegradable product that actually degrades as you use it. So we bought it to trial it, to see whether it lives up to the story. In short – it does. It’s a great product. Great for soft baby skin. And we were told it would start to degrade after 3 months, which it did, but it only really become unusable after 5 months of bathing baby every day.
You can get more information from the manufacturer website, but to give you a quick summary:
- 100% natural
- Free from colours, additives and preservatives
- Very gentle on baby’s soft skin
- Very soft once water has been absorbed, but dries hard
Frankly it’s not cheap. $8,95 for one sponge. But I certainly think it’s worth it.