Talcum powder can be irritating to a baby’s respiratory system because of trace amounts of asbestos in the mined product. It has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, especially among women who use talc on their genital area. You can make your own powder out of any combination of the ingredients listed below; they can be found at your natural foods store.
Choose organic products. Experiment with different mixtures. Check out the ingredients of products on the market that you like. (Note that the ingredients are listed in order of quantity, from most to least). Burt’s Bee’s baby powder, for example, lists its ingredients as: cornstarch, buttermilk, elmbark, baking soda, bentonite, myrrh leaf, ulnas fulva bark powder, rose flower extract.
PRIMARY POWDER INGREDIENTS
The bulk of your powder will be from these ingredients. Try using 1/2 cup of two of them or 1/4 cup of four of them to start.
- Bentonite Clay (dessicant: drying agent)
- Powdered Buttermilk (nourishes and softens the skin)
- Powdered Orris Root (the root of the iris; used as fixative in perfumes and sachets)
- Finely ground oatmeal
- Finely ground rice flour
SECONDARY POWDER INGREDIENTS
You will use less of these ingredients in your powder. Try using 1 Tablespoon of one of two of these ingredients.
- White Cosmetic Clay (detoxifier)
- Baking Soda (skin protectant)
- Slippery Elm Bark powder (soothes mucous membranes)
- Powdered Myrrh leaf (aromatic and analgesic)
INGREDIENTS FOR SCENT
Add just a few drops of essential oil to you powder and mix well with a wooden spoon. Or, omit scent all together.
- Rose, lavender or essential oil of your choice.
- Lavender or rose sachet (finely ground)
Experiment to see which consistency and ingredients you like. You may add a small amount of finely crushed lavender flowers or rose petals for a mild scent, but make sure their texture is compatible with that of the powder. You could also keep a small lavender or rose sachet inside the powder container. Look for an interesting shaker with small holes at a kitchen store or make one from a small mason jar or recycled vitamin container by drilling holes in the top.
Here are some recipes from naturalmommie.com and a how to video from Colorful Canary.
Peggy O’Mara is the editor and publisher of peggyomara.com. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011 and founded Mothering.com in 1995. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four and grandmother of two.