A bath every day is just a part of everyone’s routine. But when it comes to bathing a baby, it takes most of the concern of a mother, after feeding!
As a new mother, even I had various concerns about bathing my babies like ‘Am I doing it right?’, ‘Is it good to use a store bought bath liquid or the traditional bath powder’ etc. Different people may have different suggestions on what is right in this. But remember, as a mother, only you know what best suits your baby!
The advantage of using a home made bath powder is that you know what goes in it and it is made right at your home, right in front of your eyes and it is completely natural!
In this post, I am sharing the step by step instructions on how to prepare the simple baby bath powder (nalangu mavu/ sunni pindi/ubtan). This is a well known recipe to most households (the proportions might differ or some extra ingredients may go in).
- green gram (pacha payaru/pesalu/sabut moong dal) – 100 grams
- split bengal gram (kadalai paruppu/ senaga pappu/chana dal) – 100 grams
- Wash the dals three to four times, rubbing them gently (until the water is clear)
- Dry them under hot sun on a clean cloth or a stainless steel plate (taking them in when it is still hot and sunny)
- Once they are completely dry, grind them to a very fine powder in a clean, dry mixer or food processor.
- Sieve and discard any remaining coarse grits
- Let cool to room temperature (sometimes grinding may make them a little hot)
- Store in a clean dry container away from moisture.
- Use a clean spoon every time. It stores well for years
Once your baby is 3 months old, you can give a gentle oil massage half an hour before bathing with this powder. It really works like wonder bringing a healthy glow to the baby’s skin!
How to Use?
You should not apply this to your baby until the umblical cord stump has completely shriveled and fallen off. That means, you should use this only after the doctor has given a ‘go ahead’ to bathe the baby.
Before applying this to your baby, use it to yourself for a day or two.
Rather than applying this mix together, try one powder after the other (Like Bengal gram and then green gram. So even if the baby develops rashes, we will be able to find out which one of them caused it!)
Also, do a patch test on your baby on legs before applying to the whole body. If rashes develop, stop using further (these rashes are harmless and will go off within few hours).
- Take a tablespoon of the powder in a cup, add milk or water little by little and mix it to a smooth paste. Use your hands so that you can feel the texture of the powder.
- The paste should neither be too thick nor too runny.
- Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. This resting time helps the powder absorb water and makes it more soft.
- Gently work on your baby’s wet skin in small circular motion.
- Carefully wash off with water.
If it is a girl baby, you can add Wild turmeric powder (Curcuma aromatica – kasturi manjal/ kasturi pasupu/ jangli haldi) once she is 1 year old (don’t forget the patch test!)
There are many bath powders available in the market too. Also, some nannies (who are employed to bath the babies) bring their own bath powders or suggest the recipe. Many young mothers try such bath powders but eventually give them up due to the baby developing rashes or other such problems.
It shows that many of us are originally inclined to our traditional methods but just the few downsides we face, make us shift to commercial products.
Here are few tips that I found from my personal experience (using it for myself, my two kids and also my niece). I hope these would be helpful to you too.
1. Wash the ingredients well:
Though the ‘recipe’ is ancient, the way the lentils and other plants are grown have changed vastly when compared to the past (the time when the recipe originally was passed on). Hence, it could be the dirt, fertilizers or other factory packaging procedures that causes the rashes more than the lentils themselves. Most people directly powder them and start using.
Even my babies and I developed rashes initially. I stopped using it for my first child (attempting it again when she was 6 months and 1 year old, but no luck). After my second child was born, we tried making it ourselves at home. All I did differently was washing them well. It may sound silly but it really made the difference.
2. Grind them to a very fine powder:
Grinding them to a very fine powder and sieving them to ensure that not even one coarse grit goes through, helps too. This is purely an idea by observing our beauty products. A micro or nano facial scrub works wonders to us than other normal ones!
If making in bulk, get them ground in a power mill. In that case, strictly choose the ones where they maintain separate mills for spices (chillies, pepper corns, masalas etc ) and other (non-hot) ingredients. My mom gets a batch of wheat or other millets ground in the same machine before giving any baby related items.
3. Let it rest
Third, it is also effective to let the paste rest for 5-10 minutes. This softens the mix (especially making the skin of green gram lose its coarseness) and makes it very smooth while applying on the skin.
These are some of the home made powders that my mom made months ago to send to me to UK. I know the pic is not great. But just want to show how much quantity we make in every batch. Along with these, we also make around 5 kgs of ‘sprouted health mix‘ powder. All at once. It takes 3-4 days to do all these but they last for up to a year!