Friday, January 14, 2011

Olive oil for diaper changes

In Germany, standard healthcare includes about 6 weeks of in-home midwife visits after the birth of a child. Cool, huh?  It probably comes out to something like 12 visits all together.  First everyday, and then every other day, and then once a week.

Noah was born in Germany.  Since he was a first-born child, and I was a first-time mother without any immediate family living near us, I genuinely appreciated the midwife.

HOWEVER, our midwife was militantly √∂ko (organic).  Fritz and I still laugh about some of the things she forced us to do (um, yeah, we were kind of forced...):

- Babies must be bathed in bathtubs at counter height because nobody should ruin their back giving baby a bath.
- Breast milk can be used in lieu of saline on stuffy noses.  The naturally occurring antibodies will help baby get better faster.  (Even our Noah's our* German pediatrician cringed when he heard that one. I'm pretty sure breast milk doesn't have the same osmolarity as saline, thus it could feel, like, you know, the swimming pool up your nose. Note: Fritz informs me that the osmolarity of milk is twice that of saline - big difference!)
-  Breast milk should also ALWAYS be added to bathwater to help moisturize baby's skin.

Another one of her suggestions was to use water, olive oil (organic olive oil, of course), and disposable cotton pads to clean baby during diaper changes.  When she saw our baby wipes, she threw them away.  Really. She told us that baby wipes are essentially a combination of oil and water with additives to keep the oil and water mixed together. Those additives? Not good for baby's skin. And certainly not organic.

I don't really know if these baby wipe facts are true or not.  But she was TOTALLY right about the olive oil.

I can tell you, by anecdotal experience, that olive oil and water are way better for little butts.  It's also more work and messier. Who wants a messier diaper change? Every now and then, out of laziness, I buy a pack of baby wipes.  Sometimes I even splurge and buy the supposedly really nice organic ones.  And I always regret it after a few days. The olive oil?  It cleans amazingly, and it protects perfectly.

Just use olive oil, my friends. For adorable little diapered butts.

* I think the job of most Pediatricians ends up being anywhere between 25%-75% about helping the parents.  So I'm trying to use language that reflects this subjective opinion, even if it's not objectively correct.


Pregnantly Plump said...

That's a cool thing to know. We use a mix of witch hazel and water in a spray bottle and soft flannel cloths at home. I'll have to try the olive oil when he's irritated, though.

Pregnantly Plump said...

Do you mind if I link to this with the green blog that I write for?

Ann Wyse said...

I don't mind at all if you link, thanks! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Do you mix the olive oil and water together and then moisten the cotton cloth? How did you do it? Thank you.

Ann Wyse said...

The way we were taught was to have a small plate for the olive oil and a small cup of water. First, we dipped the cotton pad (those disposable makeup removing pads) into the water, then into the olive oil. The hembamme preferred it if the water was slightly warm.

Whew! I have to mention, that in retrospect, this was a pretty fussy method! Now on the third child, we only use the olive oil method if she seems to be developing a diaper rash. Otherwise, we are right back to the diaper wipes.

But I do think olive oil does a very nice job protecting baby skin!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information. How often did you change the olive oil on the plate? And you warmed up a new cup of water for each diaper change? Did you dip the whole cotton pad in the water so it was really wet or just a little? Thank you again.