So a couple of days ago I suddenly realized that Eli and I both had an unwelcome guest in the form of a sudden yeast overgrowth 😛 He never developed white patches in his mouth but he got a new form of diaper rash (and we’d just gotten rid of the one caused by his milk sensitivity!) and my nipples got all irritated, inflamed and so forth all over night it seemed. Looking back, there were warning signs, mainly in the form of bright pink nipples, and I should have listened to my lactation consultant more closely 2 weeks ago when she said it looked like thrush could be causing that, but at the time, there were no other symptoms.
Fortunately thanks to her saying that and sending me home with pictures of what thrush irritation looked like on a baby’s bum and a mama’s nipples, I figured it out right away and attacked it with coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a wonderful thing, full of anti-fungal fighting properties. It’s a solid at room temp, but melts at 76 degrees, making it easy to apply to the skin. I started with straight, unrefined organic coconut oil (you can get it at the grocery store) and put it on my nipples and his bum. Then I made him a full bum salve to promote healing faster and we started seeing results in less than 24 hours. the salve incorporates the healing qualities of chamomile and olive oil with the softening, sealing effects of beeswax. Chamomile is soothing and anti-inflammatory and promotes healing, while olive oil is very moisturizing and beneficial to the skin. Beeswax brings it all together and also helps seal in the moisture and forms an even better barrier than the oils alone, allowing the skin to heal and protecting it from moisture and, in this case, poop.
This salve is safe to use on cloth diapers, at least on cotton pre-folds. I’ve been skipping using this on my inserts as I wasn’t sure the synthetics would hold up well. But after several days, my cotton prefolds (speaking of which, I majorly love these heavy duty unbleached prefolds! They are so absorbent and so far, leak less than disposables :-P), are still as super absorbent as ever, so looks like we’re good to go.
And, even though I called this “bum salve,” you can totally use it on your nipples too 😉
So here’s how to make the Bum Salve:
First you need to infuse some olive oil with chamomile. There are several ways to do this. The long way is to fill a pint-sized mason jar half full of chamomile blossoms, fill with olive oil (Extra virgin, cold-pressed organic has the best properties and the longest shelf life), and put it in a dark cupboard for 6 weeks, then strain. This way gives you almost 2 cups of infused oil. The fast way (and I haven’t actually determined which way gives you the most benefit) is to pre-heat your oven to 300, fill an oven proof dish with a half cup of chamomile blossoms, cover with a half cup of olive oil, turn the oven off, and put the mixture in the heat for about 4 hours, then strain. To strain, I line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth to catch the smallest bits and strain into a glass bowl or large measuring cup. I prefer the measuring cup, because then I have a pour spout to redistribute later.
Always use sterilized containers to create and store your oils. (Your dishwasher is fine unless it is very old).
Now, you only need a little of the chamomile oil for this recipe, but the rest makes a good massage oil for you or baby, or you can make other recipes with it.
Bum Salve (makes about 4 oz)
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp chamomile oil (see above)
- 1 tbsp beeswax
- 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional, acts as a preservative)
I used my measuring cup double boiler (measuring cup with the ingredients in it set in a small saucepan of water, see this post for pics of what that looks like) to heat the coconut oil, chamomile oil and beeswax together on medium heat until the beeswax melts. Then remove from heat, take measuring cup out of the pan, dry the outside (you don’t want water in your mixture, it could introduce bacteria) and add the vitamin E oil. Stir and pour into sterile containers.
Where to find ingredients:
You should be able to find the oils in any grocery store. As always, I got my herbs and Vitamin E oil from Mountain Rose Herbs.