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SPOTLESS MAMA: Tea Baby

by Sarah on April 1st, 2011

I’m so excited to tell you that the lovely Anne, of Spotless Living, will be publishing a post on Natural Mama every now and then. It’s really, really special to have someone contributing who is as knowledgeable about all-things-natural as she is. Here’s what she has to say about using Rooibos tea on your bubba…

I love my baby wipe recipe and will definitely go back to using it later on, especially for outings, but for tiny ones I like to stick with cotton wool and water. Their delicate skin is so sensitive, and their mess so inoffensive, I think the lemon juice and essential oils in the wipe recipe might be a bit strong.

This time round I have discovered something even better: Rooibos tea! Instead of plain water, I now keep a small bowl (with a lid) of cooled Rooibos tea on the changing table (I leave the teabag in), and just moisten a little cotton wool in it to wipe baby’s bottom. So far it has prevented any sign of nappy rash, and it is so soothing she seems to enjoy being cleaned up.

(Try to stick to organic cotton wool if possible as “conventional” cotton farming is devastating to the environment, being particularly heavy in insecticide use.)

So far, using Rooibos at every nappy change has completely prevented nappy rash for my baby. However, if a rash does occur you can use the tea as a treatment too. For particularly bad spots, apply a cooled wet Rooibos teabag directly to the area and leave it inside the nappy until the next change. (See my update on this below.)

It is no surprise it works so well, really, as Rooibos is another of nature’s miracles. It has been appearing in more and more skin care products recently, with good reasons, but you can just as easily reap its benefits using the tea directly. Rooibos is very rich in antioxidants, comparable with green tea. This gives it numerous health benefits when drunk regularly, and also when applied topically. Most importantly it has high levels of alpha hydroxyl acids and zinc. It is very soothing to any skin irritation, promotes healing, regulates oil production, and is anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. All in all it is perfectly suited to prevent and treat nappy rash.

Rooibos tea is also brilliant at alleviating infantile colic (as well as stomach cramps generally) and in fighting allergies. It can be used as a supplement to either breast or formula milk for these purposes. It is naturally sweet so babies and children tend to enjoy it. It’s also a good choice for pregnant and breastfeeding moms as it is caffeine free and very low in tannins. It is full of essential minerals especially needed by growing bodies.

You can add a strong pot of Rooibos to your baby’s bath water, especially if s/he suffers from any skin irritaions or rashes. It will soothe, heal and protect the delicate skin.

Rooibos is also soothing to eyes so it is a good idea to use cooled Rooibos tea to clean your baby’s eyes if s/he suffers from the gooey eyes so common in little babies. (Squeeze drop of breast milk into the eyes after you’ve cleaned them.)

P.S. Update

We’ve had some very hot and humid weather lately, and my baby did get a nappy rash despite cleaning with Rooibos and moisturising with olive and coconut oil (and aloe ferox). So, I tried out the teabag in the nappy trick. I left it in her nappy all night, and, wow! It really did work. By morning the redness had subsided to a slight tinge of pink, and the area was reduced to about a quarter of what it had been. I did it again once during the day, and after that it had totally cleared up. Amazing.