By KAREN PETERS
When my first son was born, I didn’t think twice about running out and purchasing the usual fare: petroleum jelly, baby oil, and the moisturizer that we all associate with that magical "baby smell.” I had about seven or eight baby bags already packed with all these products—everything I thought I needed to take care of my baby. For sure, I believed that the products everyone else was using would be best for my new baby.
It didn’t occur to me that the typical baby products would contain harsh, toxic, or carcinogenic ingredients, but I was wrong; when I finally started reading the labels, my eyes were opened to another reality entirely. It really snapped me out of my new mommy daze and made me remember that I was born knowing everything I needed to know about how to incorporate more natural products into my baby's skin care regimen. After all, the wise mothers who came before me embraced nature as they cared for their children, and an internship in the bush of Cameroon, Africa, inspired me to start mixing up natural and organic shea butters and essential oils and herbs in the lab, a.k.a. my kitchen. I've long created natural, simple, freshly made, healthy products for grownups who shunned ingredients that were deemed toxic, irritating, or cancer-causing (and believe me, there were thousands of them).
Right then and there, I got “the wake up call” and started fashioning some of my grownup products for my baby's delicate skin. Everything I blended for him was natural and had no more than four or five ingredients. When it was bath or bedtime, he would coo and ooh about our annointing rituals using the wonderful, safe products that I made especially for him—one of the best, most powerfully nurturing gifts that I could offer him. I could rest easy knowing that I was massaging his skin with healthy, nourishing baobab fruit seed oil instead of coating it with a by product of gasoline and kerosene (mineral oil, also known as baby oil). It did me and my baby good to soothe his mild eczema with shea butter and lavender instead of flammable, chemically-treated hydrocarbons (petroleum jelly). He and I were happier cleansing his tender little arms and legs with a wash made from olive and coconut oil instead of antifreeze and solvent ( 1, 4 dioxane is found in more than half of the baby washes on the market and is an ingredient used to make coolant and bubbles).
Now that all of my boys are past the baby stage—my youngest is 3, yeah!—and I no longer blend baby care products in my kitchen, I literally make it my business to share what I know with other mothers and encourage the blending of something sweet and beautiful for babies. Now I host Honey B.U.N.S. (Babies Use No Synthetics) gatherings where a bunch of us mothers get together around our sacred blending pots and add a lot of love, blessings, and super simple ingredients to create some of the most incredibly nurturing baby washes, oils, and lotions for special, spiritual and most perfect beings—our babies!
Here, a simple but special recipe you can make all on your own—safe for you and your babies. It's simply delicious. Enjoy!
Basic Recipe for Gentle Massage Oil
What you'll need:
16 oz. jojoba oil (this oil is most similar to the components in human sebum, our inherent moisturizer.)
16 oz. sweet almond oil (moisturizing and gentle; easily absorbed)
16 drops of lavender essential oil (this is not fragrance, but a pure essential oil for soothing any skin ailment)*
8 drops of Roman chamomile (this is not a fragrance, but a pure essential oil for calming)*
4 4-ounce bottles
1 32-ounce jar
Pour all ingredients into the 32 ounce bottle or jar; shake well and pour evenly into the four, 4-ounce bottles. Enjoy massaging your baby with this special, delicious elixir.
Note: Natural does not always mean best for your baby. There are some babies who are sensitive to many things, including ingredients that come from the Earth, such as essential oils. If your baby is prone to allergic reactions or has sensitive skin, simply use jojoba oil without essential oils. Also, please note that all ingredients with the exception of the jars can be purchased at Whole Foods or your local health food store.
About our MyBrownBaby contributor
Karen Peters is founder of The Peace & Beauty Project, a nonprofit organization that encourages girls to honor natural beauty while making health conscious decisions. On Wednesday, November 11 at 5 p.m., she will host a "Babies & Bubbles Baby Care Workshop" to help moms learn about the ingredients that are safe for babies' skin. To learn more about Karen's organization and her workshop, click HERE or call 407.339.7529.