Using safe, chemical-free, all-natural products around the home is never more important than when you have children. Babies are extremely sensitive and entirely dependent on you to make choices that will keep you healthy and happy.
On top of that, kids can be expensive! Babies come with more accessories than Barbie, all necessary to be able to keep them warm, dry, fed, rested, and suitable for taking out in public. Fortunately, taking the all-natural, homemade route for baby care products can also save you a bit of money
Making your own baby food is extremely quick and easy. You might think that there is some kind of complex formula that explains the volumes of baby food being manufactured and sold, but the truth is that your baby’s food doesn’t need to come pre-made any more than yours does.
In fact, babies can eat just about the same things as an adult, with a few important restrictions. For the most part, they just need the food to be ground or mashed so that it is easy for them to eat before their teeth grow in. As a result, you can usually use the food you eat yourself to make the food, eliminating the need to do much extra shopping for your infant. And when you make your own baby food, you know exactly what you are giving to your infant!
There are a few foods that it is best not to give to very young babies. Foods to avoid are:
- Swallowing hazards – Nuts, raisins, popcorn, nut butters, or unpeeled fruits are all chocking hazards or foods that children under the age of two will have difficulty swallowing.
- Honey – Feeding honey to children under twelve months puts them at increased risk for infant botulism.
- Turnip greens, spinach, collards, and beets – These vegetables can reduce an infant’s hemoglobin levels due to high volumes of nitrates.
- Egg whites – Children under twelve months may experience an allergic reaction to egg whites.
- Acidic fruits – Fruits with high acidity (such as citrus) can be harsh on an infant’s stomach.
There are special blenders for making baby food, but most food processers or coffee grinders will also do the job well. In order to make dryer foods soft and easy to swallow, it is a good idea to add some liquid to the food so that it has a similar consistency to oatmeal. Breast milk is an ideal thinner, although water, cow’s milk, formula, or broth will also work.
If you make a large amount of baby food at one time, it is a good idea to freeze it so that it does not spoil. One popular tip is to use ice cube trays to freeze cubes of pureed foods. Once frozen, you can pop the cubes out and store them in a plastic bag. You can then easily defrost the amount you need for individual meals.
Baby Massage Oil
Soothing oil is great to have for infant massages or just to soothe delicate skin. All you need to make a safe and simple baby oil is calendula and chamomile flowers and olive oil. For infants, it is ideal to use organic flowers and organic extra virgin oil. The oil itself helps to draw in moisture to your baby’s skin, while chamomile and calendula both have soothing and healing properties for skin infections or irritations.
To make the baby oil, fill a mason jar half full of the flowers and then fill the remainder of the jar with oil – leaving a bit of room at the top so that you can mix it. Allow the mixture to sit for six to eight weeks, shaking it occasionally, and then strain out the flowers using cheesecloth. You may need to strain several times to make sure that all particles from the chamomile and calendula are gone.
To make a soothing cream for your baby, combine herbs with oil and beeswax. The first step is infusing the oil with the herbs just as you would to make a massage oil. For a cream, use primarily almond oil or olive oil with a little bit of essential oils for scent. For herbs, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, and lavender makes a great combination that will soothe and smell nice.
Allow the herbs and oils to infuse for a minimum of two weeks. Use cheesecloth or another fine strainer to remove the herbs from the oil. Once the oil is strained, heat the oil and add grated beeswax (approximately one-third of a cup for four cups of oil) until the beeswax melts. You can take a small amount of the mixture and place it in the freezer to make sure that it has the right consistency. Add more beeswax if the cream is still too runny.
There are a couple of options for homemade or reusable baby wipes. One option is to use reusable cloths along with a homemade spray to clean and soothe your baby’s bottom. If you are already cloth diapering, then adding a few more cloths to the wash is probably not an inconvenience. Another option is to make your own disposable baby wipes using paper towels.
Both the spray and the disposable wipes will involve similar liquid ingredients. Baby wash or shampoo, a little bit of olive oil, and water are all you need in order to make a solution that will be ideal for sensitive baby skin.
If you are using reusable cloths, all you need to do is mix one tablespoon of baby wash and one tablespoon of olive oil together for every cup of water. Simply spritz the mixture onto a cloth with a spray bottle in order to use it.
For disposable wipes, take a roll of paper towels, remove the cardboard tube, and cut the roll in half. Mix your liquid components into an empty baby wipe carton or other similarly shaped container. Turn the carton upside down to soak the towels, and dispense them as you need them.
To make wipes that are even more soothing or to help heal skin irritations, you may add aloe vera gel and calendula oil to the other ingredients. Use about a quarter-cup of aloe vera and one tablespoon of calendula for every two cups of water.
Baby Oatmeal Bath
An oatmeal bath can be a great way to create super-soft water for your baby’s bath, with super-soft skin as a result. Simply blend whole oats to a powder in a food processor and mix them into the bath water. You don’t need that many oats to have the desired effect – approximately one cup will do the trick.
Human breast milk is universally acknowledged as the best food for babies. However, circumstances do sometimes arise that make it impossible for some mothers to breastfeed or to breastfeed exclusively. In that case, mothers will need to turn to infant formula. While a variety of infant formulas are on the market, some mothers prefer to make their own formula so they know exactly what they are feeding their baby and can control the quality of the ingredients.
Compared to the baby care products we have discussed so far, making homemade infant formula is a somewhat involved process. There are quite a few ingredients needed to make sure that the formula is nutrient-rich, easily digestible, and palatable for your baby. However, experienced DIY-ers or determined DIY novices will find the process very manageable in spite of the steps involved.
If you would like to attempt homemade infant formula, The Weston A. Price Foundation is a terrific source for multiple recipes, detailed instructions, and tips from people who have given the process a try.
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