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Natural, Homemade Baby Care {Recipe: Baby Massage Oil}

The following is a guest post by Stacy Karen of A Delightful Home.

Baby care products are usually marketed as “safe” and “gentle,” but many are not. Commercial baby shampoo, soap, lotion, and baby oil often contain unnatural ingredients that are harsh and many times, toxic.

Research shows what we put onto the skin goes into the skin and then to the bloodstream. This makes careful selection of baby products a high priority for many parents.

Although there are natural choices available, finding them can be an arduous task (since many products labeled “natural” are really not). And once we do track them down, the cost can be prohibitive.

The solution: make your own!

Most natural baby care products are quick and easy to make. Truly.

Below are five homemade, natural baby care solutions that will save you time and money (and give you peace of mind):

1. Coconut Oil – A Cure All (Almost)

Nicole has already shared the wonders of coconut oil, and I have to agree: it is amazing. If there is one item I would encourage parents to buy, this would be it.

Coconut oil can be used as a moisturizer, massage oil, and diaper rash cream. It is also helpful in removing cradle cap (instructions below).

2. Baby Oil

Regular baby oil is nothing more than mineral oil (also known as liquid petroleum). It is produced when petroleum, from crude oil, is distilled. I don’t feel comfortable applying this to the skin of my sweet newborn, and I know many of you share my concern.

Olive, coconut, and sweet almond oil are great replacements. Not only are they gentle and safe, they actually nourish the skin (something liquid petroleum does not do).

If you would like a little added fragrance, try making the following massage oil. It takes less than five minutes to put together and is perfect for a relaxing baby massage after a bath or before bed. (It would also be a wonderful baby shower gift.)

Photo by A Delightful Home

Recipe: Sweet Dreams Massage Oil for Baby

(Adapted from Herbal Crafts by Jessie Hawkins)

Makes 2 ounces

1 tablespoon apricot kernel oil (available at most health food stores)
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon coconut oil (melt over low heat if solid)
5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil
(Babies can be very sensitive to smell. Start with a few drops of essential oil and increase the amount one drop at a time, watching to see how your child responds, or use unscented if concerned.)

To Make: Measure all ingredients into a clean bowl and stir to combine. Pour into a 2-ounce glass bottle. Or, measure directly into the bottle, cap tightly and shake to blend.

(This is a great opportunity to re-purpose any small glass bottles you have saved from herbal formulas, vanilla extract, spices, and so on.)

3. Diaper Rash Cream

As previously mentioned, coconut oil is a good substitute for commercial diaper rash cream. If the diaper rash is not healing with coconut oil, try Calendula Salve.

Photo by A Delightful Home

Calendula is known for its calming, anti-inflammatory properties and is generally thought to be an excellent skin healer. Keeping calendula salve on hand will benefit the whole family as it is excellent for treating cuts, scrapes, stings, burns, chapped lips, and rashes!

Making a salve involves a few basic steps: steeping, straining, melting, and pouring. You can find full instructions here.

4. Cradle Cap Treatment

Rub sesame, coconut, or olive oil on baby’s scalp and leave for a few hours. Shampoo off with a mild baby shampoo or diluted Castile soap. Scratch the scalp with your fingers or use a baby comb to remove the softened flakes as you shampoo. Repeat as needed.

Another simple treatment is to fill a small sock or muslin tea bag with a handful of oats. Close tightly with a rubber band and run the sock under water until damp. Rub over baby’s scalp until the oats are milky and make a slight lather. This helps soften the cradle cap which can then be brushed out with a fine-toothed comb. (This idea comes from Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm, which I highly recommend.)

5. Baby Shampoo

Newborns don’t need shampoo, even if they have a lot of hair. As a general practice, I don’t recommend shampoo or baby wash until six months old (or older).

If you feel some shampoo is needed, use a little diluted Castile soap. Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Castile Soap is a good choice.

For ease of use, measure a small amount (a few tablespoons) into an empty foaming soap pump and fill the rest with water. Add a drop or two of essential oil for added fragrance, if desired. Shake to blend.

Dispensing soap from the foaming pump will make it much easier to handle than the thin (and runny) diluted liquid you would have otherwise. Although this is considered safe for baby, use sparingly as it can be drying to the skin.

I have long searched for a good homemade baby shampoo recipe and have not come up with anything besides this diluted Castile soap. If you have a good recipe, please share!

Other helpful posts:

How to Make and Use Cloth Wipes
8 Natural Solutions for the Common Discomforts of Infancy

Using Fennel Tea to Calm a Colicky Baby

Do you make any of your own baby products? If not, what do you wish you could make?


Editor’s note: This post sure came at a good time for me! I follow many of the same practices as Stacy does for my babies and can’t wait to try her massage oil on my little newborn (pictured at top of post).

Stacy is the wife of a preacher and mother to three rowdy children. She strives to live a healthy, natural lifestyle and is slightly obsessed with all things homemade. She shares about creating peace and joy at home on her blog, A Delightful Home.

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. PetCareRx

    Nice post !! It is very helpful, It’s definitely save our time and money also, thanks for sharing such a great homemade recipes…

  2. julie

    Hi Stacy, what a great products for babys! I don’t have any homemade baby shampoo recipe, didn’t even know that it possible to make this 🙂 thanks for the links!

  3. hongvana

    This coconut oil look amazing to use. Thanks for the wonderful post, I’ll sent it to my friend, she just had her baby, she would love it!

    • Stacy

      Thanks for sharing it. I hope your friend finds something useful here 🙂

  4. Erin

    Thanks Stacy for the natural baby care solutions and especially for the massage oil recipe 🙂

  5. Pepe Fanjul

    Great recipes !! It’s very useful oil for baby, thanks for sharing, hope it will be for health…

  6. Brandy

    Love this!!! Will refer back in a few months for my new bundle of joy!! 🙂 Thank you!!

    • Stacy

      Congratulations 🙂

  7. Rachel

    I was wondering if you have any recommendations on what brand of coconut oil to use. Would you buy the same type for topical use as you would for internal use?

    Thanks! Great post!

    • Stacy

      I do use the same coconut oil on my (and baby’s) skin that I use internally.

      Some brands I have used and like are: Tropical Traditions, Wilderness Family Naturals, and Mountain Rose Herbs (the least expensive I’ve found). I’m sure there are other good brands out there too.

      Just try to buy the least processed version you can find. Virgin and Expeller Pressed are good options.

  8. Keisha@Marshal Firth

    Hi Stacy, great products for babies! Too bad, but I don’t make my own baby products. I wished I can make one like organic baby lotion and Shampoo. And I guess it’s not yet too late to make one. Thank you for this Sweet Dreams Massage Oil for Baby recipe. I will definitely try this one for my baby. 🙂

  9. Nicki

    I love coconut oil! It is great for like everything! I love to use it by itself for a body moisturizer, I keep a small bowl of it in my shower to put on myself or my kids before I towel dry off. My kids and I have great skin because of it! It works well for our eczema to! I also put it in my handmade soaps along with other great natural herbs and oils!

  10. Fiona

    my 2 year old son had bad diaper rash last week and it suddenly occurred to me to use coconut oil on it. it worked great and his bad rash was gone over night. however we use disposable diapers and in the morning his diaper was falling apart – the balls (or whatever they are) inside the diaper that absorb the moisture were literally falling all over the floor like snow. It was weird. Has anyone else had this problem?

    • Stacy

      It’s great that the coconut oil worked!

      I have not had the problem you described with the diaper falling apart. I wonder if it was related or not? I’d be surprised if was. Maybe it was a faulty diaper? It’s so hard to know!

      • Sue

        i use oils allot i found that happening when i first started, i was not rubbing it in i was just spreading it over and putting her diaper back on, u needed to rub it in so that most of the wet oil is gone before u put the diaper on.
        though in saying that i dont think that the diaper should have fallen apart like that, when it was happening with me they were just giving out, falling off and leaking.
        hope i helped

  11. dido

    grate post! the truth about the soap products Ingredients is grate! its time more and more people will know about it . wonderful solutions and substitutes.

  12. Miranda@eCarpet Cleaning Service

    I love your own baby massage oil! Baby’s massage has a lot of benefits to the baby health, sleep and body development. Thank you for sharing your recipe of your home-made Sweet Dreams Massage Oil for Baby.

  13. Robert

    Great post!! I was looking for a natural moisturizer for my 4 month old. I don’t think the coconut oil is cutting it.

  14. lavender body products

    Thank you for your nice article. There are many useful information.

  15. Jacquelyn

    I love massaging my babies with homemade oil blends! I started about 6 years ago with my first after learning what Baby Oil actually was. I used simple olive oil and we (my baby, husband, and I) all loved it. She was shiny and smooth and beautiful and smelled like dinner. But then I thought she smelled a little too like dinner, so I started researching essential oils and added some Vitamin E and lavender, and it was delightful. I continued when I had my second child (a boy) but he reacted to the lavender. When I realized that was why he had little tiny baby breasts, my husband said, “What did you do to my son???” so I started really researching. Now I use a simple blend of jojoba, Vitamin E, and neroli during the summer on all 3 of my kids. During the dry winters, I use a cream I make with coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter beeswax, vitamin E, neroli, and cornstarch (to reduce the slightly oily feel; their little bodies to straight to silky). The kids especially like “naked time” while I give all the massages after they get out of the bath. That will probably change as they get older… 🙂

  16. Crystal - Prenatal Coach

    Thank you for the great natural remedies! We use coconut oil A LOT 🙂

  17. sonumarsh

    Fantastic info about Baby Care Products I have learned lot of things and I hope every parents attain good info..

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  20. Alexa

    I make my kids’ baby wash because of their skin sensitivities. It’s super easy too. One cup died milk
    One half cup corn starch
    A few drops essential oils like lavender and/or chamomile

    Mix in a bowl and boom. Done. If their skin is particularly dry like this winter, I will pour a tablespoon of coconut oil in for added moisturizer. I keep the coconut oil separate until use though.

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