I’ve been getting ready for the newborn stage over here, because baby girl is due in just 2 months! I can’t express how excited I am for another warm summer with a little nothing-but-a-diaper-on baby girl to kiss and snuggle and breathe in.
AND I will be encapsulating my placenta again, too. Read about how I did it with Ember’s Placenta … it was a beautiful experience.
I have such wonderful memories of my first summer with Ember, taking care of all of her needs and enjoying new motherhood. A big part of this for me was doing everything I could as naturally and minimally as possible, to keep her precious little baby self pure and comfortable. So I’ve been revisiting all of the natural baby remedies that worked great for Ember and I, making sure I’ve got plenty of the good stuff on hand for when our second baby girl comes into the world!
I’ve taken full stock, and I can truly attest that LESS IS MORE!! Having only a couple of amazing, natural items on hand will provide amply for many of your baby’s typical needs.
Here is my go-to remedy list for many of the most common issues that new moms come across when caring for their babies. See the bottom of the post for a quick and easy shopping list to create your in-home remedies in a snap!
**ALWAYS buy organic, food-grade (safe for ingestion) oils, extracts, and vegetable tinctures for baby, and use only as directed. Dosage for babies typically requires significant dilution before use. As always, I am not a doctor, just a mama doing her best.
Teething Pain: German Chamomile
This herb is helpful in reducing swelling and inflammation, and promoting relaxation. For babies, just a couple of drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, is all it takes. Apply topically to the outside of the jaw, cheek, chin, and cupid’s bow and massage.
This worked wonders for my daughter. I never gave her teething gel or Tylenol, and always went straight to this mixture for relief. Over time, Ember began asking for her oil “oilo” whenever she needed it!
Colic/Gas: Fennel or Anise
These licorice-like herbs are stimulatory for both mom and baby! For mama, they can help to stimulate increased milk production. When a mother drinks fennel or anise tea, or takes these herbs as capsules daily, it also helps baby through breastfeeding, by stimulating circulation in the digestive tract. This helps to relieve gas by getting the digestive system moving.
Massage also helps! A drop or 2 of these herbs into a carrier oil can be used topically during massage, or even dropped directly into baby’s bathwater after a feed.
Ember never had Colic, but when she was gassy, I would massage her abdomen in a circular, clockwise motion to aid in the flow of digestion through the system. I’m telling you, I could almost feel the gas move through her belly. It may sound crazy, but when I knew the gas had worked its way through, I’d help open her little cheekies a bit to let the gas escape. It worked every time!
I think this one goes without saying. It just works. I drop a few drops into the bath, or a few drops into a hot, wet washcloth to rub the face at night before bed. I always added a drop or two to my coconut oil for a moisturizing baby massage, and still add a couple of drops right to my hands before moisturizing Ember post-bath.
If you aren’t doing baths or massages before bed, try rubbing a couple drops into your chest or forearms before a nap-time or bedtime nursing session, as the baby will take in the scent during snuggle time. Or, dilute a drop in coconut oil and dab it on your baby or toddler’s temples. To this day, Ember absolutely loves the small of Lavender because of these associations, and asks for it whenever she needs to be comforted.
Eucalyptus has been used for centuries to treat a host of ailments because of its naturally medicinal effects. Its menthol-like properties stimulate nasal receptors to open passages and reduce mucus production, which is why it helps to relieve congestion due to allergens, sinusitis, cold/flu virus, and respiratory infections. For more info on Eucalyptus uses, check out Very Well Health.
I like to add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and apply directly to the bridge of the nose, as well as the chest. Other options include adding it to steam for inhalation. Since your baby won’t likely sit and inhale steam from a bowl with a towel over her head, a steamy shower with Eucalyptus oil is just fine! Or, add a couple of drops to a cool mist humidifier at night. The cool mist keeps air moist at night, keeping baby’s breathing passages from drying out and becoming more irritated, while the Eucalyptus oil combats congestion during sleep. Highly recommended combo!
Dry Skin/Eczema/Cradle Cap: Coconut Oil
Ok, so I’ve seen all the crunchy mom Coconut Oil memes………….and yes they are so true. But there’s a reason. Coconut Oil is good. for. everything. Use it in your cooking, your baking, on your hair, your skin, for your wounds, in your mouth…the possibilities are endless. While there aren’t a ton of Vitamins in coconut oil, it does help the body to absorb other sources of vitamins, AND it’s one of Earth’s best natural resources for medium chain fatty acids (which are otherwise rare). MCFAs contribute to energy over body fat, and contain Lauric Acid (also found in breastmilk!) which contributes to increased immune strength!
My love affair with coconut oil started with Em. I kept a canister of it in her room and would rub her down with it after her baths in place of lotion, or whenever I’d give her a baby massage. Its a natural moisturizer and incredibly soothing and gentle, plus the unrefined kind smells mildly like coconut so it gives baby a hint of that sun kissed, post-beach smell that us California mamas die for. Coconut Oil is also antimicrobial, helping to heal wounds, combat baby acne, and protect sensitive skin from harmful bacteria. The moisturizing + soothing + antimicrobial/antifungal properties of coconut oil make it a great salve to treat Eczema and/or Cradle cap, too. Just massage into affected area in circular motion (with a soft brush for cradle cap), and repeat often.
Always use unrefined, unbleached, Organic coconut oil. For more info check out Livestrong’s article on Coconut Oil- its a good one.
Diaper Rash: Breast Milk
Breast Milk is antimicrobial, and comes warm n’ fresh- literally customized to your baby’s needs. Breast milk also contains natural probiotics, which help balance the body and the presence of candida (yeast). These properties make it a great, natural substance to apply to a diaper rash. No need to keep a jar of it or make a cream out of it either. Just squirt some right onto the rash after changing, and blow or fan it dry before closing the diaper. The dried milk creates a little protective film over the rash to keep it clean and dry while it heals.
This treatment is so easy, and incredibly effective. This worked for me repeatedly, and was far better than any of the high-end organic diaper rash creams on the market.
Sidenote: Did you know that when your baby nurses, her saliva enters the mammary glands, where it interacts with and changes milk make-up to best suit your child? It produces both nutrients and antibodies in the milk which are tailored just for your baby. Amazing.
When dealing with diaper rash and other skin issues, always remember that a bare bottom, exposed to air and sunlight, is best. Let your baby be free and comfortable, while soaking up Vitamin D from the sunshine!
Eye Infections: Also Breast Milk
Again, Breast Milk is full of natural antimicrobial agents, but is also mild and gentle enough to use internally, making it a rare treasure. It is naturally lubricating, can help unclog tear ducts or combat conjuctivitis. Breast Milk helped Ember’s clogged ducts a couple of times- I’d drop (not squirt) it right into the corner of her eye and it’d clear up any issue quite quickly.
Homemade Wet Wipe Solution:
While we haven’t strayed far from the subject of diaper rash yet, let me share my homemade wet wipe solution recipe! This stuff smells and feels amazing. I always used it in a spray bottle, alongside some homemade flannel wipes that my mama sewed up for me. I kept the wipes dry and sprayed them as needed during changing (or you can spray directly on baby’s bottom). The solution keeps in a jar or spray bottle for weeks!
- 3 cups distilled water
- 2 tbsp. Coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. Castile Soap (I use Earth Mama Angel Baby brand)
- 3 drops Lavender oil
- 3 drops Tea Tree oil
- Boil and cool water, melt oil, add all ingredients and shake together in a mason jar or spray bottle!
Ear Infections: Echinacea
I know so many children with frequent ear infections. Why? Children’s Eustachian tubes often sit more horizontally in the ear than in adults, where they sit more vertically for better drainage. Therefore, it is easier for blockage to occur in children. Blockages can be triggered by buildup from sitting water, allergies, sinusitis, or upper respiratory infections.
First and foremost, do what you can to keep your child’s ears happy and dry in order to prevent ear infections. Keep excess water from ears during bath time, and dry ears well. If you suspect your child has allergies, monitor your diet (if nursing) and/or your child’s diet (if eating solids) in hopes of isolating any food allergens. (If your child has environmental allergies or sinusitis, see Eucalyptus treatment, below)
For regular prevention, early-onset and treatment, rub your child’s surrounding ear area to stimulate circulation and encourage movement through the Eustachian tube. Rub firmly in a downward motion from behind the earlobe, down the neck. Pull gently down-and-outward on the earlobes to open them up. Massage the outer ear and ear opening in a circular motion.
Also use Echinacea to help treat and prevent. Echinacea stimulates the body to produce an immune response, thus creating more white blood cells needed to fight infection! For babies, Echinacea can be taken orally in the form of a tincture or extract. Herb-Pharm , a local company only a few minutes from my home, makes a great one with vegetable glycerin instead of alcohol, which is perfect for little ones. Drop directly into baby’s mouth or add to drinking water (motherearthliving.com).
Bug Bites/minor Scratches: Lavender
Lavender is antiseptic and soothing, so it works well as a first aid ointment. It is helpful at relieving itch and sting naturally, which I prefer over harsh, synthetic ointments. I never used Lavender directly (undiluted) on my baby- I always mixed it into Coconut Oil (which is also antimicrobial). Once she became a toddler and I understood what her body could handle, I began applying directly- a small drop here and there for first aid, or to her wrists or temples for relaxation. Even now, we are never, ever without Lavender oil in our house.
As promised, these are the products I actually use at home. Again, make sure your oils are organic and food-grade. Use as directed.
- Coconut Oil
- German Chamomile Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Fennel Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Lemon Balm Essential Oil (Is also used for digestion, environmental allergies, congestion, and incredible uplifting properties for mamas and babies. I had to add it to the list!)
- Echinacea Extract
- Cool Mist Humidifier