I’ve been a mom for almost 2 years now, and I guess my very first steps into the search for more natural and organic cosmetics started during my first pregnancy. It was organic belly oil I was after, and then more and more after the birth of Miss Jyve.
I could not get my hands on anything that was pure or natural enough for my baby, so much so that I did not use any product on her at the beginning except for diaper cream, which for the clueless first-time new mom was from the pharmacy. Only water and cotton wool for washing at the start, and she turned out just fine! I’m of the belief that babies should be exposed to as few chemicals and cosmetics as possible, as their little bodies adjust to the outside world. Even water(!) which can be harsh on the skin, so not too frequent baths either. We didn’t have too many throw-up episodes to deal with probably because Miss Jyve was exclusively breastfed, and babies don’t get too grimy in any case so it suited us fine. And I just looovvveee that new baby smell. Also quite frankly as busy moms, we don’t always take the time to understand what ingredients are in all the products we are using. I wasn’t one to load on the products for Miss Jyve – just an occasional light massage with 100% pure organic sweet almond oil, and her grandmother actually commented on how she has the nicest and softest skin!
The breastfeeding cream I first came across was 100% pure lanolin, sold to me by the breast pump company, which I was told by the lactation consultant is ‘good’, so I continued with it till I read about what lanolin actually was, and how it was extracted and produced. It wasn’t even that effective in healing, nor was it easy to apply. I hated how sticky and goopy it was, which tugged on already-tender and torn/bleeding skin. I was slightly horrified and uncomfortable that lanolin cream was one of the top recommendations to moms all over the world as a breastfeeding aid.
I wasn’t happy that my baby was ingesting lanolin with her breast milk, as the cream does not need to be washed or wiped off with each feed. And quite frankly, your nipples are so sore at that point that you hardly want to touch them.
So I started looking around, and never actually found one organic enough for my use. Even certified organic products can contain as little as 15% certified organic ingredients to attain a certification. I can’t really recall what I got my hands on in the end, but I think breast milk seemed to have been the answer at that point, though I never felt it was too effective or protective.
Fast-forward to this pregnancy where I’m better equipped with the expectations that full-time breastfeeding demands, so I’m thinking ahead.
This is the very first cosmetic I’ve made, which I’ve been using since I’ve been plagued by extremely dry, flaky and incredibly itchy nipples during this pregnancy. It works well to instantly soothe and intensely moisturise, but will have to be put through the breastfeeding test later.
It’s super easy to make, and takes no time at all. All essential elements for a time-strapped mom. The most difficult part is sourcing your ingredients, which you want to ensure are 100% pure & organic, and are not extracted using any chemical solvents.
I chose to include a few drops of essential oil for scent, but feel free to leave them out. I am likely to leave the essential oils out for a nursing balm for when the baby arrives.
- 50g 100% unrefined shea butter
- 10g calendula-infused olive oil
- 3 drops Roman Camomile essential oil
- 3 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
- Melt shea butter in a clean, dry bowl submerged in a larger bowl filled with hot water.
- Once butter has melted, remove from heat. Stir in infused olive oil and camomile essential oil.
- Pour liquid balm into a suitable receptacle to cool to a solid for use.
And voila! That’s all there is to it!
I used this proportion of ingredients to achieve a consistency to my liking – which is solid at room temperature (easy to throw into a bag without a risk of leaking), but melts easily on skin contact while maintaining a high concentration of shea butter for its intensely moisturising and protective qualities.
I’ve also used this balm all over Miss Jyve as a body butter, and she has the smoothest, silkiest skin I’ve ever seen on her. It’s also good as a lip balm and a hand salve. Best moisturising hand salve I’ve used. I’ve not been able to find a hand salve good enough for my chapped hands since moving to Paris – the harsh water, constant washing with a toddler, cooking, the winter cold – but this solves all my woes after just one application. Olive oil soaks in to intensely moisturise, camomile and calendula calm irritated and inflamed skin, while shea butter repairs, coats and protects from further damage. It’s incredible!
Which is why I’ve called it Mama’s Butter instead of a breastfeeding cream. A busy mom just needs a couple of wonder products in her arsenal for all kinds of uses because quite frankly, who wants to be lugging around 5 different kinds of lotions and potions everywhere, all the time?! I don’t!
Makes me wonder why I spent all that time buying and trying all those different brands and products, which never turned out to be quite as effective, when I could have made them on my own right from the beginning!
I’m going to try a recipe with cocoa butter and perhaps sweet almond oil next, a recipe for a lotion bar, and then an antiseptic balm with some lavender or tea tree oil, which I am a fan of.