Have you ever heard of an herbal bath? How about an herbal bath to help calm your little one and help them sleep?
That question alone was enough for me to question “HOW” and say “tell me more!!”
Scents that Calm Your Baby
Using scent is a widely accepted way of calming a baby and getting him or her ready for bed. Don’t believe me? Look at the aisle of baby products on the store shelves. Lavender bottles of nighttime lotions and bubble baths show you that special scents calm a little one in to the perfect slumber.
For my little one I have created a bath time routine with herbs and scents that are healing, calming, and soothing. We choose to do bath time usually right before bed and use natural oils as a moisturizer.
Are Store Bought Products Safe?
The shelves of the supermarket or Target give me so much anxiety. Why? Because most of those baby products are full of toxic chemicals. I know, right? How does that even make sense? Something for a baby should NEVER EVER be in the same sentence as “toxic chemicals”, but it is.
Johnson and Johnson Bedtime wash contains perfume or “fragrance,” which can contain as many as 200 undisclosed chemicals. Those chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertility, and allergies. Bedtime lotion has Phenoxyethanol which has been said by the FDA to depress the central nervous system.
Recently in the news Johnson and Johnson has taken a huge hit having to pay out $4.7 BILLION in a baby powder lawsuit because of claims that the baby powder has been linked to ovarian cancer. To me, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to toxic chemicals in our cosmetic products. The problem is, it takes someone getting hurt or a huge story like this to break before people question what they are putting on their and their baby’s skin.
Stories like these encourage me to take the research in to my own hands, instead of waiting for a major story to break.
Our skin is the largest organ we have as humans, absorbing most of what we put in on it. Imagine these toxic chemicals going in to your little one’s immature organ system. 🙁 It isn’t just bedtime bath products either. You can download the Think Dirty App to search what rating your favorite baby products (and your products) are earning in terms of toxicity.
Bathing a Baby Too Much is a Thing
I only bathe our little one once a week or twice a week, depending on the circumstances. And when I do bathe him, I opt for herbal baths instead of bubble baths or baths with soapy washes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ official recommendation is three baths a week tops during the first year of life. Your infant doesn’t need much bathing if you wash the diaper area thoroughly during diaper changes.
Generally, everything that a newborn or infant comes into contact is water soluble. This means that water is all that’s required to clean the skin. In fact, unless there is visible greasy soiling of the skin, or the child has reached the age where their armpits/groin/feet have started to smell, there is no reason to wash the skin with anything other than water.
Frequent bathing and baby bath products can cause bigger problems for our little ones.
Baby skin is delicate and most soaps will strip that delicate skin of much needed moisture. Use soap only on areas that are caked with secretions, (such as oil or sweat) which are not easily removed with plain water. Soap time should also be limited to less than 5 minutes on baby’s skin, this is why bubble baths aren’t best for skin as it strips the skin of moisture.
Stripping moisture and natural oils from the skin through bathing can lead to redness, dry skin, or eczema.
I also had a mom share with me that the baby wash recipe helped heal her daughter’s eczema. How amazing is that? Nature is so beautiful!
Bath Time Routine for Baby
My bath time routine is fairly simple for us. I choose to have herbal baths for my little one (I explain why below) and use natural oils as moisturizer for his skin. Simple, no fluff and no bottles of commercial bath time products.
Herbal baths have become one of the ways I can soothe my irritable, teething baby just before bed. Even if he is not irritable, choosing to add herbs to the bath water instead of bubble bath is better for his skin. Herbs in warm water not only clean my little one, but they give off a luxurious scent that let’s his senses know bedtime is around the corner.
Herbal are also healing to our bodies and skin. Don’t limit herbal baths to your baby consider them for yourself, Momma!
We use sweet almond oil (here) as a moisturizer after bath. Almond oil has vitamins and emollients safe for baby’s sensitive skin. Since babies don’t care if they are oily, it is a great oil to use for a little baby massage just before bed. I use almond oil most nights before bed, even if we don’t do a bath.
You can also infuse your oil with lavender or other herbs if you would like.
Why I Choose Herbal Baths for Our Baby
Certain herbs are known to have a soothing or calming effect for our mind and body. Choosing herbs over chemical bubble bath is my way of infusing the air with gentle, calming scents that have helped us create a calming bath time routine.
Herbal baths are an ancient therapeutic way of treating disease, insomnia, and muscle discomfort. Herbs can be healing soothing dry skin, eczema, and abrasions. Balneotherapy is a type of water therapy that uses bathing with altered water. Almost all ancient cultures prescribe therapeutic bathing rituals to promote overall wellness and calm the skin, our body’s largest organ.
Our bath time is about healing instead of just getting clean.
Herbal baths can also be used when a child is ill or needs extra detoxification, you just choose herbs and minerals suited for the age of the child and need.
I was using a mild soap all over during bath time, until I started to research further about the necessity of soap during a bath for our baby. When I do use baby wash, I use a homemade version without any harsh chemicals and I typically keep the wash around his booty for obvious reasons.
What Herbs to Choose for a Baby Herbal Bath
First I want to note herbs and essential oils are NOT the same thing. Essential oils are a higher concentration of herbs and botanicals. I do not recommend adding them to you baby’s bath and/or before you do, thoroughly research safety of essential oils around children and babies.
There are readymade herbal bath blends for baby. I purchased a Baby and Me Herbal Bath Blend from Divine Motherhood Services. This is her Facebook and here is her Instagram.Evelyn Diaz makes her herbal bath blend using organic chamomile, oat straw, Calendula, Rose, and Lavender.
You can also make your own blend of bath herbs and store them in a glass jar until you are ready to use them at bath time. I have shared a combination recipe below for you to try.
You will want to put your herbs in a small tea sachet or mesh tea ball so that the petals are not floating around in the bath and getting stuck in baby cracks. Just hook or secure the tea to the side of the bath and let the herbs soak in the water. The water will change colors, just like tea in a mug.
I add my herbs to a container with very hot water and let them steep for 20 minutes, then I add the herbal water to the bath. This allows me to steep the herbs in hot water, without being concerned that the bath water will become too hot. Just add water to the bath until it is the appropriate temperature for baby.
Here is the blend that you can make on your own.
Baby Herbal Bath Recipe
In a medium glass jar mix the following dried herbs:
- 1/2 cup dried Chamomile flowers (order here or here)
- 1/2 cup dried Calendula Flowers (order here or here)
- 1/3 cup dried Lavender (order here or here)
- 1/3 cup dried roses (order here or here)
Add 1/8 cup to a muslin tea sachet (here) and place in warm bath water before bathing baby.
Herbs for Bath Time
Here are some of the benefits of each of the herbs listed above.
Chamomile for Baby
Chamomile is known for it’s relaxing and soothing properties. It is often the main herb in sleepy time tea because it helps relax the body and eases tension before bedtime.
Calendula for Baby
Calendula is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. Calendula heals the skin making it a perfect herb choice for redness, diaper rash, or irritated dry skin.
Lavender for Baby
Lavender is a calming and relaxing herb. There’s a reason why it is added to as a synthetic scent in baby bedtime bath and body products.
Rose for Baby
Rose water is great for sensitive skin as it is soothing. The gentle scent is also calming to the nose.
If the combination of herbs is what is holding you back from trying a herbal bath for your little one, I encourage you to start small. Start with just chamomile or chamomile and lavender combination. Your baby will reap the benefits of one or all of the herbs combined. Just start small and find the best combination that works for you.
I have to add in a disclaimer. Always watch for allergies when using herbs for YOUR baby. I have not had any problems myself, but I have to let you know that not all babies are created identically. Make sure the bath water is cool enough for your baby and never leave your baby unattended in the bath or near water.
Mix you bath herbs BEFORE baby is in the bath, put them in the bath, and test the water temperature BEFORE adding your little one! ((But I know you already knew all of this 😉 )