Friday, December 21, 2012

Oat Soak

Bert might look exactly like his daddy, but he got a few things from me. His love of books, his grumpiness when he doesn't get enough sleep, his sweet tooth, and his sensitive skin. It's nothing for him to break out in a rash from a scented product or to get a diaper rash when it gets humid. (I refer to it as the baby butt barometer, because as soon as humid weather is on the way, we are battling a diaper rash. He is more reliable than the weatherman.) With the cold, dry air of winter, Bert's skin is dry and itchy. Whenever I change his diaper, he starts scratching at the back of his legs, where the driest patches are. I don't know if it would officially be classified as eczema, but it has to be pretty similar.

We use the gentlest products we can find, and apply lotion several times a day and that seems to keep things under control. The other week I was looking for a bottle of bubble bath at the grocery store and noticed an oatmeal bath product for calming dry, itchy skin. I vaguely remember taking an oatmeal bath when I had chicken pox as a kid, so I figured I could give Bert an oatmeal bath without buying what seemed like a pricey product.

I did a quick search online and confirmed that it is pretty simple to make an oatmeal bath. You can use either regular or quick oats, and simply grind them to a powder using a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor. I filled the bowl of our coffee grinder and ground regular oats for about 25 seconds.

The sites I looked at recommended stirring about a tablespoon of the oat powder in a glass of warm water. If the water became milky looking, the oats were ground enough to release their colloid properties. (Check out this site for more about why it works.)

When I got Bert's bath ready that night, I used about a half cup of the oatmeal powder, mixing it the warm water and breaking up any clumps. Then it was just bath time as usual. Bert's legs and lower back always seem the driest, so he was able to get a good soak on those areas just sitting in the tub like he normally does. The sites also recommended skipping the soap when you do an oatmeal bath, so we just wiped him down and rinsed when he was done (and washed his hair like normal).

He seemed perfectly content to sit in his milky, cloudy bath and his skin did seem better so I think we will make this a regular thing through these dry winter months.

He is also a fan of oatmeal for breakfast, which may explain why he suddenly started sticking his face in the water during his oatmeal bath, when normally he has a conniption when water touches his head or face.

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