Every parent wants the best for their baby. There’s good food, clean sheets, and a loving family. It doesn’t stop there, though. Many commercial baby products have hidden chemicals, much like the ones used by adults. Do your little one a favor and use natural alternatives instead.
After all, homemade body products are becoming the norm. More and more people are turning to remedies like coconut oil and honey. Consumers are learning about the chemicals in toiletries – and they aren’t happy.
Baby products haven’t been let off the hook. For example, a 2008 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics tested 163 infants. Researchers compared the use of infant care products to urinary levels of phthalates.1 These man-made chemicals are linked to growth and puberty problems, like delayed pubic hair development in boys. Some phthalates may also cause early periods in girls,2 a factor that increases the risk for chronic disease later in life.3
Yet, despite these effects, phthalates are used in all types of products. The researchers in the Pediatric study found more than seven phthalate metabolites in 81 percent of the 163 infants! As for the toiletries in question? Shampoo, lotion, and powder – three baby essentials.4
This is only one chemical. What else are commercial products hiding? To be safe, reach for these five natural alternatives instead.
Natural Alternatives For Commercial Baby Products
1. Petroleum Jelly
In the world of babies, diaper rashes are very common. Friction from a diaper may cause red, tender skin around the butt, thighs, and genitals. Sometimes, irritation might stem from dampness or stool. Petroleum jelly will save the day. It’ll act as a barrier, helping keep moisture at bay.
Most parents use powders, but the American Academy of Family Physicians warns against it. The powder may irritate a little one’s lungs.5
2. Coconut Oil
No medicine cabinet is complete without coconut oil. As a natural moisturizer, it’s known for soothing skin problems and redness. On diaper rashes, it can work just as well. Like petroleum jelly, coconut oil acts as a barrier. Its moisturizing effect will also calm the irritation.6
3. Olive Oil
Baby oil, or mineral oil, is a widely used product. It’s used to moisturize a baby’s body after a shower. Instead of using a commercial version, try organic olive oil. One single ingredient sure beats a cocktail of questionable chemicals. Don’t have olive oil? Try organic castor, grapeseed, or apricot oil.
4. Castile Soap
From cleaning to skin care, castile soap is a must for every household. It has countless purposes – including baby shampoo. Choose one that’s unscented and made for sensitive skin. Better yet, the whole family can use it as a gentle shampoo.
5. Shea Butter
Infants are very vulnerable to sun damage. However, experts don’t recommend using sunscreen on babies under six months.7 The solution? Use shea butter, a natural sun protectant. You can even mix in some zinc oxide for extra broad-spectrum protection.8
Even with natural sunscreen, little ones need extra protection. Opt for bonnets and lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs. Stay under umbrellas and use strollers with sun-protective covers.9
One would think that baby products are gentle. But when it’s made in a factory, you can never be sure. By using these natural remedies, you’ll save money and use less chemicals.
|↑1, ↑4||Sathyanarayana, Sheela, Catherine J. Karr, Paula Lozano, Elizabeth Brown, Antonia M. Calafat, Fan Liu, and Shanna H. Swan. “Baby care products: possible sources of infant phthalate exposure.” Pediatrics 121, no. 2 (2008): e260-e268.|
|↑2||Zhang, Yunhui, Yang Cao, Huijing Shi, Xiaoxiao Jiang, Yan Zhao, Xin Fang, and Changming Xie. “Could exposure to phthalates speed up or delay pubertal onset and development? A 1.5-year follow-up of a school-based population.” Environment international 83 (2015): 41-49.|
|↑3||Shadyab, Aladdin H., Caroline A. Macera, Richard A. Shaffer, Sonia Jain, Linda C. Gallo, Margery LS Gass, Molly E. Waring, Marcia L. Stefanick, and Andrea Z. LaCroix. “Ages at menarche and menopause and reproductive lifespan as predictors of exceptional longevity in women: the Women’s Health Initiative.” Menopause 24, no. 1 (2017): 35-44.|
|↑5||Diaper Rash. FamilyDoctor, American Academy of Family Physicians.|
|↑6||Verallo-Rowell, Vermén M., Stephanie S. Katalbas, and Julia P. Pangasinan. “Natural (Mineral, Vegetable, Coconut, Essential) Oils and Contact Dermatitis.” Current allergy and asthma reports 16, no. 7 (2016): 1-11.|
|↑7||Sun Safety Tips for Infants, Babies and Toddlers. Skin Cancer Foundation.|
|↑8||Beasley, Donathan G., and Thomas A. Meyer. “Characterization of the UVA protection provided by avobenzone, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide in broad-spectrum sunscreen products.” American journal of clinical dermatology 11, no. 6 (2010): 413-421.|
|↑9||Sun Safety Tips for Infants, Babies and Toddlers. Skin Cancer Foundation.|