Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived”
— Helen Keller
Like many, my sense of smell is acutely linked to memories. Gardenias remind me of my mom, as they were her favorite flower. Eucalyptus reminds me of my dad coming home after a day of work trimming trees. Sunscreen brings me back to the beach filled summer that I met my husband. With everyone so keenly associated with a smell in my memory, when I was pregnant I wondered what my baby’s signature scent would be.
“That Newborn Smell!”
I had zero experience with babies and children before having my own, but had always heard others talk about how amazing newborns smell. I had heard it described as sweet, clean, indescribable, even vanilla-like! I couldn’t wait to experience this smell for myself.
Why does my newborn smell so bad?
Imagine my surprise when my newborn ball of perfection had a FAR from perfect smell. Instead, My baby had a Linus style stink cloud around him. It took me at least a week to realize that the decaying flesh smell on my fresh newborn was, in fact, decaying flesh- the umbilical stump! Even after googling “why does my baby smell so bad,” multiple times- I still don’t know if every baby smells this way or if we just hit the smell lottery. I will never forget the intensity of the stink that wafted up after peeling his warm body off mine after a long nursing session- pee yew!
Thankfully, we had a saving grace in the scent department. Somebody gave me a diaper balm (Earth Mama’s) at our baby shower and after a diaper change and some slathering of this stuff, he smelled like the fresh, sweet, flowery baby I had hoped for.
How I came up with my copycat recipe
When we ran out of it, I went to buy some more and realized how expensive it was- $13 for 1 oz! I looked at the box and for the most part it consisted of familiar ingredients, so I decided to invest in some of the other ingredients and make my own!
When labeling food for purchase, the ingredients are supposed to be in order of highest quantity to least. I assumed that this would be the same for the diaper balm, so I based my ratios on that concept.
Essential oils vs. extracts
Essential oils are oils extracted from the aromatic parts of plants. Extracts are made by soaking those parts in water or alcohol. Generally speaking, essential oils contain more of the medicinal benefits and extracts are made to preserve flavors and smells. You’ll find extracts often in baking (vanilla extract for example) and perfumes.
I decided to omit the 4 extracts to keep the cost down since I didn’t have them on hand. However, each of them do serve a purpose and I may invest in some of them for future batches and other projects (especially Calendula for the lovely smell!)
Also known as pot marigold, calendula flowers are known for their soothing effects and pleasant floral scent. It is safe for use on sensitive skin and is found in many natural baby products. If I were to pick just one of these extracts, this would be it because it smells so good!
St. John’s Wort Extract
This star like yellow flower is a traditional remedy for depression when taken internally, and has antibacterial properties when used topically like in the diaper salve.
This white flower is considered a pesky weed to most, but has valuable antioxidant and inflammatory properties when used on the skin.
A well known treatment for sunburns in many cultures, plantain extract helps to heal skin while also providing germicidal and antibacterial benefits. I decided the tea tree oil shared the latter two benefits so I didn’t feel the need to include this for stability (I’ll keep any extra diaper balm that I’m not using in the fridge until I need them).
Diaper Balm Recipe
Yield: Approximately 8 ounces
Add all ingredients except for the essential oils to a sauce pan (you can use a double boiler to be extra careful not to burn it).
2. On very low heat, warm until everything melts.
3. Take off the heat and add in your essential oils.
4. Pour into storage containers and let cool and harden at room temperature. Once it’s completely cool, check that the consistency is to your liking. If it is too soft, you can re warm and at more beeswax. If it’s too hard, you can add more olive oil or jojoba oil. Depending on the season and how warm your house it, your needs may change.
5. Refrigerate for at least a few hours (this helps the beeswax settle in so it won’t seize up later) and keep extra containers in the fridge until ready to use. My first batch I skipped this step and after about 3 weeks they all had little waxy beads in them. If this happens, just rewarm in a hot water bath or microwave and store long term in refrigerator after it sets up.
Homemade Diaper Rash Cream (Balm)
- Small pot
- Containers for final product
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup shea butter
- 1/4 cup Jojoba oil
- 1/4 cup Beeswax
- 10 drops Lavender essential oil
- 5 drops Tea tree oil
- Add all ingredients except for the essential oils to a small pot (you can use a double boiler to be extra careful not to burn it).
- On very low heat, warm until everything melts.
- Take off the heat and add in your essential oils.
- Pour into storage containers and let cool and harden at room temperature. Once it's completely cool, check that the consistency is to your liking. If it is too soft, you can re warm and at more beeswax. If it's too hard, you can add more olive oil or jojoba oil. Depending on the season and how warm your house it, your needs may change.
- Refrigerate for at least a few hours (this helps the beeswax settle in so it won't seize up later) and keep extra containers in the fridge until ready to use.
Drum roll please! The whole reason why I make copy cat recipes like this is because of the savings. This is one of many products I love that come from trusted companies who use high quality, organic ingredients. If I could afford it, I would happily just purchase from them!
Alas, I cannot afford it. So considering how easy it is to make a simple salve like this, I resorted to DIY. With all that said, let’s check out how much we save by making this easy recipe!
Yields 4 2oz jars
Total Cost: $14.84 for 8oz (including new jars!)
- Olive oil 1/2 cup 2.63 15.33 2L
- Shea butter 1/4 cup .93/oz 1.86 14.95 1lb
- Jojoba oil 1/4 cup 3.78 16.24 8 oz
Beeswax 1/4 cup 2.73 10.95 1 lb
Lavender oil 10 drops .08 24.25 15 ML Bottle
Tea tree oil 5 drops .09 26.75 15 ML Bottle
Jars $3.68 (.92 each)
*Approximately 300 drops per 15ml container essential oils.