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Purchase the "Do It Yourself" Cloth Diapering Handbook: The most complete and comprehensive introduction to cloth diapering today! Endorsed by Natural Family Online.

Quick, Easy Solutions to Rash-Free Diapering

By Susy Goins

Teetering on the thin line between mainstream and crunchy-granola lies the life of a new parent. It’s a future full of so many things: hope, joy, frustration, lost sleep … and baby butts.

I’ll be the first to admit that I love baby butts. They are cute, round and soft. A baby carries around its own padding. Newborn bums sit perfectly in your hands. And when that bum is swathed in a diaper -- better yet, a cloth one -- the baby butt boogie is hard to resist.

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Preserving the perfection
With such a cute bum to care for, you’ll want to make sure it stays unmarred by rashes and other irritations. So what can you do? Make some natural choices.

The first choice is to choose cloth diapers. Now, now, I hear you moaning and see you rolling your eyes. But really, I have three kids now, all of them have been cloth diapered. My 15-month-old is still in diapers. You can choose a diaper service if you prefer – look, Ma, no washing! -- or you can wash them on your own. I do, and I’m still standing.

Another natural choice is to let your baby go buck naked every so often. Nothing like Mother Nature to dry out an irritated bum. Throw a towel under a pre-crawling baby or chase a mobile child around with a towel. Make it a game. Naked, laughing butts are great!

So your baby has a rash
What if your angel bum still develops a diaper rash? How radical is this: If you have breast milk handy, apply that to your baby’s bum. My daughter had a rash that cleared up in a day with breast milk.

Making your own ointments is easy and not as labor intensive as you might think. Many of the ingredients can be found in better grocery stores or health food stores.

This recipe was given to me through an e-mail list by a fabulous toiletry maker by the name of Shucky, aka Sylvia LaReverend:

Calendula-Comfrey Diaper Ointment
1 lb. coconut oil (in the oil aisle; do try to buy the organic kind)
2 good handfuls calendula petals (health food section; don’t let the per pound price put you off; the petals are not heavy)
Comfrey leaves (don’t use on a pregnant woman)

Melt the coconut oil in a stainless steel pan. Add the herbs. Cook the herbs on low heat for about 30 minutes; the petals should be crispy, not burnt. Filter the ointment into jars. Use as needed.

Try an oatmeal bath. Grind up oatmeal in your coffee grinder for a pleasant soak in the tub. Another way to get the benefits of oatmeal without the mess is to put some regular oatmeal (not baby oatmeal) in a small cotton bag and let it soak in the tub with your baby. Squeeze water through it every so often.

Ointments and balms
Try olive oil or shea butter on your baby’s bum. These are thicker emollients. Olive oil is readily available in any store; buy the higher grade virgin oil to get the most benefit. Shea butter can be found in the health food section with other body butters like cocoa and mango.

You don’t have to use the zinc oxide ointments on your baby’s bum. Yes, they do create a barrier, but they also dry into a powdery residue and can make cloth diapers smell like fish. Petroleum also makes a good barrier, but it is comedogenic (clogs pores).

Natural wipes solutions
You can make your own baby wipes to help in your campaign against Ugly Baby Butt, too. A wet cloth is basic -- almost too easy, huh? Here are a few recipes for wipes you can try:

Wipies One
3 cups of water
1/8 cup olive oil
4-6 drops tea tree oil
6-8 drops lavender oil

Combine these in a sealable container and shake vigorously; add 1 tablespoon of your favorite baby wash or soap, and mix with a spoon until combined.

Baby Wipes Solution
Add 2 drops of tea tree essential oil or lavender essential oil to 1-2 cups of distilled water.

Anti-Fungal Baby Wipes
1/2 cup distilled water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 Tablespoon calendula oil (Remember the coconut oil recipe a few paragraphs back? That would work here.)
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 drop tea tree essential oil

Use a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Pour in all the ingredients, cover the jar and shake to blend. Place your wipes in a container, and pour on enough solution to moisten them. Store any extra solution in the fridge. It should stay fresh for a long time, especially if you use distilled water. The vinegar and essential oils discourage yeast growth, which means you shouldn't have too much trouble with these wipes getting moldy. If your baby has a really red, raw diaper rash, you might not want to use these wipes because the vinegar may cause a burning sensation.

The wipes themselves
Once you have your solution mixed up, choose your wipes. A roll of paper towels (recycled is very cool) cut in half with a bread knife gives you a lot of wipes. I haven’t personally had much success with the bread knife part, but tearing them in half as needed works, too. Or you can cut up a towel and finish the edges or use flannel or other cotton fabric. And what about those blue shop towels? Or inexpensive wash cloths?

As for storage, use a zipper baggie for travel or a small plastic storage container with a lid for home. Shoot -- be subversive and recycle a commercial baby wipes container for your homemade wipes!

Thanks to the numerous people I have communicated with via e-mail over the years and many postings across the internet for recipe ideas and information.

© Susy Goins

An informal student of natural health for years, NFO Editor Susy Goins received her certificate in homeopathy from the American College of Health Sciences. The self-proclaimed out-of-the-mainstream mama of three is a writer, belly dancer, actress, costumer and cook and will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage to her husband.


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