By Christina VanGinkel
Baby supplies can be costly, so finding inexpensive alternatives for those supplies that you use often, or are costly to begin with, can add up to big savings. One of my favorite alternatives to the original is handcrafted hooded bath towels. Anyone who has purchased these in a store, knows just how expensive an item they can be, yet we buy them because they work so well when bathing baby. To make your own though, with a basic bath towel and either two washcloths or a hand towel is actually so simple, that even if you only possess the most basic sewing skills, you can make them, and at much less than what the store bought alternative would cost.
Hooded Bath Towels
To begin, you will need a bath towel (a thinner, smaller sized towel actually works well) and matching hand towel, along with matching thread and either a needle for hand sewing, or a machine. I have been told you can also substitute two washcloths for the hand towel, and as long as you end up with a hooded shape, I do not see why the two washcloths would not work. Take the hand towel, and fold the middle so that it forms a peak, sew right over the fold. The two washcloths could be placed together in a similar fashion and sewn. Sew the bottom of this hood to the middle of the long side of the towel. As simple as that, you now have a hooded bath towel to make drying baby off after baths much simpler and convenient. I have seen some of these transformed with ears and eyes, making them look like ducks, frogs, even rabbits, and toddlers I am sure would get a big kick out of a hooded towel transformed into one of these. It might even work to entice a reluctant bather into the tub in the first place!
If there is one supply that you will go through time and again, and that can really add up dollar wise, it is baby wipes. There are generic brands, and off brands that are somewhat less than name brand ones, but these are often more in line with sandpaper or a dry wipe than a good quality wet wipe that will not bother baby's bottom, resulting in even more expensive baby lotions needing to be applied. To make your own, you will need a plastic container with a tight fitting lid large enough to hold a roll of paper toweling, cut in half width wise, the roll of paper toweling, two cups water, and two tablespoons of baby wash. I have also added plain baby oil in place of the baby wash, and I have heard that adding a few drops of melaleuca or lavender or chamomile essential oils to whichever mix you use, are great for keeping baby's bottom diaper rash free, as they cut the acid in baby's wet diapers. Do be careful if you choose to add these essential oils though, since some essential oils can cause problems in people that have allergies. For example, chamomile can bring about symptoms of hay fever.
While not really a recipe to make your own, but a substitution, cornstarch is both easy on the budget and on baby's bottom. Baby powder may smell better, but cornstarch works just as well. If you miss the fragrant smell, you can always add a few drops of lavender oil to the cornstarch, mixing well and storing in an airtight container to keep the fragrance fresh smelling until the last bit of powder has been used.
Making your own baby supplies will not only save you money, it will also let you be fully aware of what is coming into contact with baby's skin. You can always read an ingredients list on a product, but when you find it difficult, to even pronounce the name of some of them, it is hard to know what they all are. When you make the product yourself, with some fairly basic ingredients, your mind can rest easy knowing you are not subjecting baby's skin to any harsh ingredients. This can be helpful if allergies happen to be a concern, or if baby's skin is more sensitive, to what it happens to come into contact with, than the average infant. This could be due to another health issue such as eczema or other skin drying factors.