It's official, I'm "nesting"! I've entered this interesting stage in my pregnancy, the final stretch, where all I can think about and all I want to do is prepare for our baby's arrival. While with most women this stage involves massive amounts of cleaning, for me (unfortunately for James) it means an obsessive unending stream of creative projects!
They range from the borderline absurd (see modernist infant visual stimulation cards above) to the useful and enjoyable - a mobile and goat art (duh) for the nursery, flannel burp cloths and wipes, a ring sling for babywearing, and natural baby skincare.
We plan on using our Farmstead Milk Soap when bathing our babe after lots of great feedback from happy parent customers (apparently it also removes poop and puke stains from fabric - good to know!), but hadn't thought much about other baby care products until recently. After some research, I decided to add baby powder and a diaper cream to my project list.
DIY Talc Free Baby Powder
Why talc free? There is some controversy regarding the safety of talcum powder. Back in the day, it contained asbestos (a known carcinogen), but from the 70's forward, all talc used in bath and body products in the US is asbestos free. So what's the issue? Some believe that even the asbestos free talc is carcinogenic and studies have been unable to prove otherwise. Bits from the American' Cancer Society's page "Talcum Powder and Cancer" like this:
A few expert agencies have evaluated the cancer-causing nature of talc.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO). Its major goal is to identify causes of cancer.
- IARC classifies talc that contains asbestos as "carcinogenic to humans".
- Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies talc notcontaining asbestos as "not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans".
- Based on limited evidence from human studies, IARC classifies the perineal (genital) use of talc-based body powder as "possibly carcinogenic to humans".
It is not clear if consumer products containing talcum powder increase cancer risk. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk. There is very little evidence at this time that any other forms of cancer are linked with consumer use of talcum powder.
Until more information is available, people concerned about using talcum powder may want to avoid or limit their use of consumer products that contain it. For example, they may want to consider using cornstarch-based cosmetic products instead. There is no evidence at this time linking cornstarch powders with any form of cancer.
made me think that it might not be a bad idea to look into alternatives. As for cornstarch, it's a great talc replacement as long as your baby doesn't develop a yeast diaper rash (apparently relatively common) in which case you're actually feeding the yeast with the corn starch. Also, the majority of corn starch used in baby powders are going to be from corn that was conventionally grown with pesticide use and is genetically modified.
Enter healing clay! Bentonite is a clay formed from the weathering of volcanic ash and is rich in minerals. It is silky smooth and non irritating as well as highly absorbent. It is purported to aid in healing all sorts of skin ailments - everything from acne to eczema - including diaper rash.
This couldn't be a faster or easier project! You can use the bentonite clay powder straight up as is, or you can infuse it with essential oils**.
You'll only need:
- 5 drops of oils (I chose to use lavender because of its antiviral properties and soothing scent, but frankincense is also another good choice)
- 1/2 c of clay powder
Simply put your clay into a ceramic or glass mixing bowl, disperse the essential oil over the surface of the powder and mix with a spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Once mixed you can put into a powder shaker and you're ready to go! You can easily make your own container by drilling holes into the lid of a vitamin bottle, or repurpose an empty spice jar.
This powder isn't just for babies! You can use it as a dry shampoo or body powder to keep dry on these sticky summer days.
Hope you and your little one enjoy!
**Please note: Some people are opposed to using essential oils when caring for children and babies. I've found that most popular natural baby skincare lines use them safely and successfully for their healing and sensory qualities and have chosen to do so as well. This is something for you to research yourself and decide what is best for you and your baby.