Are you a mom that loves the simplicity and the designs in the current gender neutral trend in baby decor? It really is amazing how creative and playful patterns can still be with only limited color palate. But colors are imbued with deep symbolic power. For example we traditionally think of pink as a feminine and blue as a masculine colors, but do you know that seeing colors from this point of view is a recent addition to our perception? Up to the 20th Century baby clothing was primarily white and bore no gender differences, and fairly so. There are no gender differences between human babies, right? Well, besides the obvious sex organ difference, babies brain development has very little variation and how we see the world has more to do with life experiences than with gender and with what and how we present our babies with and our expectations. Gender specific toys and clothing in that sense is limiting and frustrating, teaching our children limiting beliefs.
The truth is that both genders are equal. Not same, but equal. The differences are something to respect and celebrate. And there are physical differences that cannot be ignored.
As much as I too believe that pink clothes and dolls need not be offered only to girls and blue colored trucks to only boys, I am surprised that we have never paid attention to cosmetics. Cosmetics do not coat and decorate our children, but absorb into their skin and affect them physically. The skin of babies is five times more absorbent then that of adults. And we put a lot of creams on very sensitive areas like their genitalia that are still just developing.
When designing Charlotte's Bum Butter I researched many aspects of how and from what to make the Butter, how best to package it and how to source ingredients. Natural ingredients produced by organic farming or wild crafting were a no-brainer. But with my past as a registered nurse and from taking care of many small children as a professional nanny for nearly a decade of my life, I took the care to speak with a pediatrician and a number of pediatric nurses, researching available statistics on most common diseases for infants and toddlers to design the best possible safe and great to use product that is effective and moms love to use.
In my research I have learned that baby girls are more likely to get a yeast infection, thrush or a bladder infection than boys do. But boys are three times more likely to have asthma and hay fever along with eczema. This was a great base from which to tailor cosmetics that not only are vegan and cruelty-free, all natural and organic, made from food-grade quality ingredients, to make them so pure you could eat them, but specifically address issues that are often gender specific and no one on the market has bothered looking at these yet.
I started making Charlotte's Bum Butter out of necessity; we decided to use cloth diaper right away when disposables left rash on Charlotte's (my daughter's) skin. The zinc oxide creams would have ruined the diapers and reduced their absorbability. I had a jar of balm someone gave me, but I wanted something smooth and easy to spread that would not smell so medicated, like many diaper creams unnecessarily do.
I chose cocoa butter for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties and blended it with Shea butter and extra virgin cold pressed oils for a good balance of fatty acids and omega 3's, 6's and 9's.
While I worked as a nanny in Germany I saw that many people used soft paper tissue with some olive oil to clean their babies’ bottoms. Then used oily creams with a little zinc oxide if necessary and dealt with next to no diaper rashes. You see, more than 25 years ago there was a recycling program in place in Germany and people had to deposit recycling materials into bins in their neighborhood. Only garbage was picked up from our front door and we had to buy a weekly pass for out specific volume to be removed. There was no room for disposable diapers in the trash.
Then I came to Canada where convenience was taken to another level through the use of presoaked and prepackaged disposable wipes and pasty, thick creams all full of fillers and preservatives, bleached disposable diapers that overload the landfills. And I have never seen so much diaper rash before.
My goal for creating an effective and user friendly diaper cream was to nourish the skin and strengthen the natural defenses our skin has. By delivering the important nutrients, building blocks for healthy new skin, diaper rash is a distant history. I created a blend that would melt right into the skin, spread like a dream, soak in fast and leave a silky finish for lasting protection from moisture. It was perfect. It did take about 20 batches, but felt just like I had hoped it would and smelled so delicious, good enough to eat! This is exactly how you want your baby to smell if you are like me, a chocoholic that is! And that's exactly how Charlotte's Bum Butter for Newborns was born. I call it the formula for Newborns, but it mainly means that it is safe even for Newborn babies. I love great smelling cosmetics, but synthetic fragrance and natural pure essential oils are known to have triggered a reaction or two. Allergens in both can trigger an allergic reaction and the system of a new baby is too delicate to be exposed to powerful allergens. The safest bet is to use cosmetics without added fragrance for babies under 3 months of age.
Children and adults who have observed sensitivity to fragrances are safer using this butter.
But I want to talk about the added essential oils in Charlotte's Bum Butters and why I chose to gender specify the packaging. Constant moisture to the skin alters the skin's pH and natural protective barrier, allowing this barrier to break down, becoming more permeable to bacteria. This is true for both genders and it is the reason why I decided to use Palmarosa essential oil as the base for both boy's and girl's formulas. Palmarosa is one of the most bactericidal essential oils used while being gentle enough to use on the skin of children under 2 years of age.
The area can get irritated and inflamed, to soothe irritated skin, both formulas contain some German Chamomile essential oil.
To uplift the mood and relax the baby some Sweet Orange essential oil does a nice job.
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty of the concept of cosmetics specific to gender. You see some things are not quite the same even for babies. The statistics show that baby Girls are more prone to getting UTI's due to the shorter urethra. And yeast infection or Thrush, which may become a challenge if you use cloth diapers. The skin will be exposed to more moisture simply because of the nature of cloth. The vaginal tissues thrive on estrogen, when the levels decline the vaginal tissues can become thin and easily irritated. Lavender essential oil has estrogenic effects on our bodies and balances hormones for women and is a powerful oil to combat yeast infection causing Candida albicans. It works in symbiosis with German Chamomile and the combination of these two oils is very powerful in healing irritated and inflamed skin.
Red Mandarin essential oil is a relaxant indicated in times of agitation, over-excitement, stress and insomnia. What baby would not benefit from its effects? It is also said to be antifungal, which works as a great additional support for thrush prevention.
Along with the earthy Vanilla CO2 extract, which I added for its wonderful aroma but more so for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and sedative properties. Vanilla is also thought to reduce fever and fight infection. Its sedative properties help your baby settle and fall asleep and Vanilla also helps regulate estrogen production. So you see, the pink colored tin is there to tell you what marketers have been conditioning us to think for the past few generations, that this product is designed for girls.
For boys however we need to approach with added caution. You see, many of the additives commonly used in cosmetics today are endocrine disrupters. Natural ingredients are not a luxury, but a necessity. Which is why we also package our Bum Butter in tin, rather than plastic. Phthalates like BPA mimic the action of hormones in our bodies and have caused many developmental health issues for babies. This is the reason why BPA has been phased out in many plastics, but phthalates are added to plastics to soften them and it's only a matter of time before scientists find more issues with other additives in plastics. We used led filled paint on children's toys until just a few years ago, remember? Research uncovers new information every day. Out tins are not coated with any synthetic coating, they are made of the highest grade tin and do not leach any unwanted chemicals into the product.
But what is in the product to make it suitable for boys? I have been given a lot of grief initially for having Lavender essential oil in the formula for boys, so much so that I have decided to remove it from the formula. The argument was that Lavender essential oil has estrogenic and therefore for boys hormonal disruptive effect. The new research findings however prove that these beliefs are unfounded. And very large doses of Lavender oil would need to be used for any estrogenic or hormone disrupting effect to take place. We are talking about babies however who have five times more absorbent skin than adults do, and no single test should be taken as absolutely conclusive. So for the time we will keep Lavender in our pink tin only.
Red Mandarin has wonderful properties that serve well for girls, but it also offers weak anti-spasmodic action, so is good for children's digestive problems we all know boys deal with plenty of in the first part of their lives. Any relief from colic attacks is of help.
The UofT and several other universities research shows that baby Boys are three times more likely to suffer with asthma and eczema than girls. That is the reason why Charlotte's Bum Butter for baby boys is made with the incredibly smelling Sandalwood CO2 extract.
With concern for the environment we only use Sandalwood grown and harvested in Australia, where it's controlled and not over harvested. The healing properties this wonderful extract has to offer would need another whole post to write about. Sandalwood is a very therapeutic, yet very gentle extract. It is well known and respected for its balancing effect on the nervous, respiratory and especially, excretory systems. It is soothing on dry and irritated skin and scalp, including eczema. Perfect for addressing some of the skin issues many boys suffer.
Lots of careful research has gone into creating Charlotte's Bum Butters. All our essential oils are pure and organically produced. For Vanilla and Sandalwood, where essential oils are absolutes produced by the use of solvents, we have opted for using the far superior and vastly more expensive CO2 oils, that are the purest form of herbal extract resulting in a superior product and possible benefits to your skin.
So you see, our boys and girls formulas were not created on a whim, or to feed into the big marketing brainwashing machine, nor were packaged gender specific to deepen the gender gap, quite the opposite. Each of our butters was designed with specific needs of each gender in mind after a year of research and many batches of test samples. You can rest assured that this mama had you and your baby's best interest in mind when designing Charlotte's Bum Butter and the packaging.
Charlotte's Bum Butter is an excellent and very effective diaper cream, but serves wonderfully as a body butter for the rest of your littlest baby's body. It is wonderful for toddlers to prevent genital irritation, but it also helps to keep their hands hangnail free and eczema prone or dry skin nourished, their cheeks protected from freezing weather in winter time. You need a tin as a diaper cream in the house and a second one as a family jar, which everyone in the house can use all over!
Charlotte's Bum Butter is for a health and environment conscious mom that cares for excellent quality, and health and safety of her family. It is perfect for a modern mom that has no time for clutter and chooses quality over volume. For contemporary mom appreciative of gorgeous design that was made with the protection of our environment and fair business conduct in mind.
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