DIY Baby Care for Your Cheap Bum
A dear friend of mine had six children. She stayed at home with them, and her husband had an average-paying job. She once told me that one secret to their financial stability came in the form of making their own toiletries and bathroom items, specifically those for diapering the baby. Here are a few of her tried and true tricks, along with some additional information to get your started!
Baby wipes are grossly overpriced. While they are so convenient and come in many different scents and varieties, I sometimes think they add up to a higher bill each month than my diapers! Here are the directions for making your own baby wipes:
Using the strongest paper towels you can get (Viva are my favorite), cut one roll in half. Remove the cardboard roll. Make a solution of 1 cup boiling water, 1 T baby lotion, 1 T baby soap (I like any No More Tears variety), and 1 T baby oil. Place ½ roll of paper towels in a reusable container (an empty baby wipes box is ideal.) Pour solution over towels and allow to cool before using.
Do they work? Sure. But they have their drawbacks. They aren’t as strong, and they dry out easier than regular baby wipes. You also can’t use them in a wipe warmer (that I know of.) But it costs less than $1 for a tub, compared to $3.50 -$4.00 for those you buy at the store. The savings may be worth the trouble for you! (Another option is to try reusable baby wipes. These are soft cloths that you can wet, wipe, and toss in the wash with your cloth diapers.)
What about diaper rash products? Most babies will get a rash sometime in their young lives, and there are many safe and effective options for parents to buy in the stores. Still, some parents opt for a homemade remedy for little red bottoms. Here are the most popular:
For an alternative to Desitin or those zinc-oxide-based creams, simply mix equal parts zinc-oxide (found in your sun health section of the store) and Aquaphor. This isn’t exactly cheaper, but some parents find comfort in knowing exactly what’s in their diaper cream.
I haven’t used this yet, but others swear by mixing Milk of Magnesia (Mylanta works well) and cornstarch. The Mylanta neutralizes the acid that can irritate baby’s bottom after a bout of diarrhea, and the cornstarch keeps baby dry! (NOTE: Due to the inhalation dangers associated with talcum powder, cornstarch has been considered a safe replacement for the talcum used years ago in most diapering powders. You will want to avoid using cornstarch on an area of yeast infection or irritation, as it will aggravate this condition.)
There are still mothers who swear by using good old Vaseline or petroleum jelly for their baby’s diaper rash. The cheapest remedy at about $1 for a generic tub, it can help to form a protective barrier against wetness and stools while the baby’s little bottom is healing.
Another natural remedy to consider is the gel from an Aloe Vera plant leaf. (Aloe is a handy plant to have around the house anyway, as it is highly effective in treating burns and other minor skin conditions.)
If you can save a buck here or there, parenting can be a little less painful for your wallet. But while there are all kinds of ways to save money on baby care, it is important to understand that your baby’s health and well-being are priceless. Check with your doctor first before trying any homemade remedy that doesn’t make sense or seems to good to be true, and if you have any other tips we haven’t mentioned, please share with us!