The very first thing I ever made for my daughter, Aveline Grace, when she was born was this foaming baby bodywash. I knew she had a serious heart condition (hypoplasia of the right heart (HRHS), tricuspid atresia (TA)) and like I said before, I just wanted to do something for her that would be good for her, that wouldn’t be harmful to her in any way. When she was born the doctors let me hold her for about 15-20 seconds and then they took her right away to the NICU so they could perform her first procedure, which was to close a hole in her heart that was dumping out oxygenated blood instead of pumping it back into her brain and her system. My husband followed her right away (that had been our plan, we knew this was coming) and I stayed behind (where could I go, really) in the birthing room to get fixed up. Mike, my husband, had come up with a bit of a brilliant plan to use his phone to FaceTime me while I had his iPad – this way I could see where he was going and what was happening even if I wasn’t there. There was only so far he could go since he wasn’t allowed into the operating room they took Aveline to but he stayed right outside the door and stayed as long as they let him.
I wanted to create something that would be:
b) fuss-free, and
So I started researching what was out there. The biggest help I had in that department was Pinterest and the blogging world – I’m a big fan and
obsessed dedicated Pinner and love to hear other peoples’ stories. But also the best start on this that I got was from a blog post by My Merry Messy Life (love her!). It was simple, to the point, and flexible. Water, castile soap, some essentials oils, and you’re on your way! And that’s the way I did it at first, too.
I LOVED this bodywash – to the point where I made some for myself. It’s so easy! The one thing I altered right at the beginning was that I wanted it to come out foamy like the hand soap bottles because I wanted to make it as easy as possible to get through bath times since my daughter wasn’t a big fan of baths in the beginning. There would be lots of splashing and some insecurities there, so I would just pump and go! No need for fussy hand towels or even loofahs (do babies even really need those?). So I cleaned out a foaming pump of hand soap I’d finished with and used the new baby bodywash I’d made. Tada!!
Castile soap is really wonderful because it’s generally a naturally mild soap, emollient, and free of artificial foaming agents, harsh cleansers, petrochemicals, anti-bacterial agents – and it’s biodegradable. It’s essentially a plant-based soap. What’s not to love?!
So what’s so great about this bodywash? Here’s what I’ve discovered.
For one thing, all castile soaps are not made equal. In fact, ‘castile’ is a term that’s been stretched and pulled to the point of deformity these days. Originally, castile soaps were made strictly with olive oil and animal fat (read tallow), but today most are made with a variety of oils, are over processed, and the term has come to basically become synonymous with a basic, all-purpose, all-kinds-of-stuff-within soap.
Now I originally used Dr Bonner’s castile soaps because they’re pretty widely available. There’s a coop in Montreal that has some, or you can order some on Amazon, or in Canada you can also find a bunch of Dr Bonner varieties on well.ca. They have a kind that is “baby mild” and is a great starter if you want to start making your own baby bodywash.
These days I use Voyageur Soap and Candle’s Natural Pure Castile soap because it’s a 100% olive-based castile soap. This kind of soap is great for sensitive skin and baby skin. In this baby bodywash I also use a little bit of sweet almond oil for an extra asking conditioning touch (feel free to use any carrier oil you may prefer), and aloe vera for its lovely skin-healing and hydrating properties. You can use either or both of these two items in your own bodywash, it just depends on your preference. Just offset the difference by doubling the amount if you choose to go with just one of these items.
With essential oils it gets a little tricky – why? Well, not all essential oils are safe for babies. There are only a few essential oils that are safe for newborns, and they are: chamomile (Roman or German), lavender, frankincense, tea tree, lemon, and orange. Since I like more calming scents for my kids, I chose lavender for this bodywash, but feel free to use whichever combination you like – so long as it does not exceed 3% of the total weight of the recipe. There’s a great guide here on which essential oils are safe to use on newborns and growing kids, although I’d say feel free to buy whichever brand you prefer.
What I also do now is I make a chamomile infusion instead of using plain water to mix in with the liquid castile soap. I use dried chamomile flowers and infuse them into a hot pot of water overnight, letting it cool, then strain it and incorporate it into the soap mixture. An easy (and budget-friendly) way to do this is to go to your local grocery store an get some chamomile tea that you can steep into your own water. Chamomile has wonderful calming properties and is great to help hydrate dry skin, soothe minor skin irritations, and is also a natural cleanser. Good for you inside and out!
Here’s the whole recipe right here:
Lavender & Chamomile Baby Bodywash
- 1.75 oz Chamomile tea (use 1 tea bag and steep for about 30 minutes)
- 2 oz Liquid castile soap (Dr Bonner's Baby Mild or any other mild liquid castile soap is fine)
- 1 tbsp aloe vera (optional)
- 1 tbsp carrier oil (ex: sweet almond, apricot kernel, castor, olive) (optional)
- 6-12 drops Baby-safe essential oil (ex: lavender, chamomile, orange, or lemon - make your own combination)
- 1 foam pump bottle
Pour your tea (or use simply water!) into a clean foam pump bottle. Then slowly pour in your liquid castile soap - if you go too fast, it'll foam up. Then add in your aloe vera and/or carrier oil, and the essential oil of your choice. Attach the cap of your pump bottle and voila! An all-natural, safe, sweet-smelling bodywash for baby!
I like to swap chamomile tea for water but feel free to use water in your soap, especially if you would like to emphasize other scents through your essential oil blend.
Easy peasy! Bonus – it’s an incredibly affordable soap to make if you have the ingredients to make it.
Do you have your own twist on your baby’s bodywash or soap? I’d love to hear about it 🙂