A Little Balm Here and There
All those adorable, kissable baby chubs come at a cost. Those deep creases that never see the light of day get such an angry red. Enter Baby Balm! I apply the Baby Balm right after a bath and rub it in to those persistent streaks in the neck, behind the ears (where it gets a little crusty, too), under the arms, and of course on the bottom.This is a really good preventative measure that cuts back on the need for strong intervention after a raging rash breaks out.
Plus, since the Balm is completely unscented, nothing covers up that wonderful baby smell. I’m enjoying the baby smell so much more this third time around than in the past. I think one of the main reasons is that the smell was drowned previously by those heavily scented conventional baby products. But there is simply nothing better for the heart than having my sleeping baby on my shoulder and getting to breathe her in.
I realize all this may be, well, obvious based on the name of the product, but so much of what I will write about is the versatility of the products. While there are other uses for the Baby Balm (such as removing wedding rings before labor) the use for which it was originally intended is especially terrific. I will also point out that the ingredients are completely understandable and if your little one ever does decide to taste test the products in your nursery (as my first born did), there’s no need to call Poison Control for this one.
Using Castile Baby Mild Soap on Babies
I use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Baby Mild Soap on my baby, even though it is not “tear free.” Consider that babies have been washed with normal soap for a really long time before the advent of “tear free” stuff. In fact, most of us who are now washing babies were washed with non-“tear free” products ourselves, and we survived. We have to be careful to keep it out of the eyes.
To understand why I chose to abandon the realm of “baby friendly” products demands the question, “What makes ‘tear free’ products ‘tear free’?” “Tear free” products have a neutral pH. Irritation to the eyes is caused primarily from a deviation in pH. Our eyes have a very narrow window of tolerable pH, around 7.54+/- 0.01. This is ever so slightly alkaline (a pH of 7 is neutral). Dr. Bronner’s Castile soaps are around 8.9, a pH not at all irritating to our skin. To lower the pH would neutralize the cleaning ability of the soap.
So, using a product with a neutral pH that doesn’t irritate a baby’s eyes but still gets a baby clean may seem like a no-brainer – until you look at what these products are made of. I never use the word “soap” regarding these substances because they are not, in fact, soap. Soap is a natural (i.e. directly from nature, not synthetic) product made by reacting animal or vegetable oils (in Dr. Bronner’s case olive and coconut oils) with an alkali. Baby products that go by names such as “cleansers”, “baby wash”, “shower gel”, or the like, are made from non-soap surfactants, which almost always mean petro-chemicals, or derived from petroleum. They are very mild petrochemicals, but petrochemicals all the same. Additionally, such products will probably have synthetic preservatives which can be irritating to the skin. (We use Tocopherols, aka vitamin E.)
So, although it’s not good for the eyes, our Baby Mild Castile soap is awesome for babies’ sensitive skin. It does not contain any of the essential oils that the other soaps have and it has twice the concentration of saponified olive oil which makes it even more moisturizing.
How to wash a baby with our Baby Mild Castile soap:
First, I don’t use any products on my baby’s face. I use a wet wash cloth to wipe her face gently. Then, I add a couple drops of the pure castile soap to the washcloth. The washcloth helps immensely. First, you don’t use or lose as much soap. Secondly, it is easier to control where the soap goes, and you don’t have it running all over the baby. Thirdly, the soap is diluted on the wet washcloth and isn’t applied strongly to my baby’s skin. I use cup of water to rinse the soap off. It rinses very easily. To take care of her head, I tip her head back so that the water and soap run backwards off of her head. I’ve also heard that there are little bath visors babies can wear to keep the soapy water out of their eyes when rinsing their heads. I haven’t tried them, though.