Oatmeal has been used since time immemorial in the treatment of skin conditions and skincare. Being mild and natural, it’s very safe to treat problems in babies like diaper rash, eczema, hives, allergies, and inflammation. Various medicinal soaps and lotions containing oatmeal are available, but for your baby, this safe, chemical-free, easy home remedy is ideal. In this article, we shall talk about oatmeal baths in particular, and all the information you will find useful when giving your little one an oatmeal bath. Let’s begin with understanding what an oatmeal bath is.
What Is an Oatmeal Bath?
An oatmeal bath is when one soaks in oatmeal-infused water. It has been medically proven that oatmeal contains compounds that reduce itching and inflammation while also moisturizing and soothing the skin. Colloidal oatmeal, i.e., finely ground oatmeal is used for bath and in skincare products, too. Since babies have tender and sensitive skin, using medicated soaps or lotions may be harmful as the chemicals can cause rashes, allergies, or dry the skin out. Medicated soaps also aggravate existing skin conditions. Oatmeal baths thus can benefit in several ways, such as the ones given below.
Benefits of Oatmeal Bath for Infants
An oatmeal bath is highly beneficial to the child’s skin. Apart from healing skin conditions, it soothes and moisturizes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin in no time, and is easy and inexpensive to prepare. Here are the benefits of an oatmeal bath for an infant:
- Oatmeal baths are effective remedies for pediatric skin conditions. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) even lists colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant. Oatmeal treats conditions like atopic dermatitis, chickenpox, diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis, reactions to plants or insect bites, and also just dry and itchy skin. It even cleanses the skin like a soap due to the presence of saponins.
- Avenanthramides and polyphenols are the compounds in oatmeal that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There are also nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, and fibre in oatmeal that are beneficial for the toddler’s skin and help repair it.
- An oatmeal bath soothes your baby’s skin, leaving it well moisturized. Due to all of its anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal helps soothe the skin, not just when the infant is afflicted with a condition. Even minor irritations, sunburn, itchiness, and allergies can be instantly cured with an oatmeal bath. Oatmeal also consists of polysaccharides and hydrocolloids that create a protective barrier on the skin, preventing moisture loss.
- Making an oatmeal bath is easy, inexpensive, and effective. The colloidal oatmeal required for an oatmeal bath can be bought at any pharmacy or can be whipped up from your breakfast oats within minutes.
While it may seem like an added task to give your little one an oatmeal bath, it is not that difficult if you have the supplies and know how it is to be done. Read below to know more.
Things and Supplies Needed for an Oatmeal Bath
An oatmeal bath can be prepared easily at home in a few minutes. The following ingredients are required for an oatmeal bath:
- ⅓ cup of Colloidal oatmeal, i.e. finely ground oatmeal. It may be purchased from a pharmacy or made at home by grinding up instant oats. Since babies have sensitive skin, flavoured oatmeal should be avoided. Organic, unflavoured, instant oatmeal is recommended.
- Warm tap water.
- After-bath emollient or body butter.
How to Prepare an Oatmeal Bath for a Baby
Preparing an oatmeal bath is a matter of a couple of minutes, but its positive effects can be felt for a long time to come. An oatmeal bath can be prepared by following these quick and easy steps:
- Grind the Oats – If you are not using pharmacy-bought colloidal oatmeal, you can take ⅓ cup of unflavoured instant oats and grind it into a fine powder in a blender or food processor.
- Test the Ground Oatmeal – To test whether the oatmeal is ready, put one tablespoon of the ground oatmeal into one cup of warm/lukewarm water; it should dissolve easily. It will look milky and feel smooth, too. If you are unable to grind it finely, put the oats in a mesh bag or pantyhose, and seal it tightly to prevent it from clogging the drain.
- Run a Tub of Warm Water – Let the water in the tub be warm and suited to the baby’s skin instead of hot. If the baby has a skin condition like eczema, it would be advisable to run a lukewarm bath.
- Add the Oatmeal – Add the finely ground oats or the mesh bag containing the ground oats. Let it infuse. You may even run your hand through the bathwater till it dissolves and attains a smooth consistency.
- Ready for the bath – Once the water has a silky, milky texture, your homemade oatmeal bath is ready.
How to Give an Oatmeal Bath to a Baby
Once the oatmeal bath has been prepared, you can soak your baby in it. However, even if you have used organic, unflavoured instant oats or pharmacy-bought oatmeal, there can sometimes be an allergic reaction that you must check for. These simple steps will help you while giving your baby an oatmeal bath:
- Before preparing the bath, conduct a patch test by applying oatmeal on a small portion of the baby’s skin. Wait for 10-15 minutes to see if there is any reaction. If not, you can proceed with the bath.
- If the child doesn’t show any allergic reaction, you can give him an oatmeal bath. Fill the baby bathtub with the oatmeal bathwater (as explained in the procedure above) and let your baby sit in the water for 15-20 minutes. To provide the baby eczema bath treatment or treatment for any other skin condition, you can take some of the ground oatmeal and rub it gently on the affected areas.
- Then, take your child out of the tub, and give him a quick clean water bath just to rinse any oatmeal residue left on him. Then, pat him dry with a soft towel. Since oatmeal may make the tub slippery, you must be very careful while placing the baby in and taking him out.
- Within three minutes of patting the baby dry, apply an emollient to create a skin barrier that seals in the moisture. The oatmeal bath for diaper rash is the same as above, but it can be followed with the application of an anti-rash ointment before putting on a fresh diaper.
An oatmeal bath can be used to provide relief from skin conditions such as rashes, allergies, eczema, psoriasis, etc. It is quick, easy, and inexpensive and has no harmful effects on the baby. For effective results, you can give the oatmeal bath once or twice a day, as the paediatrician advises. It heals the skin and nourishes it. It is most-suited for babies as it does not expose their delicate skin to harsh chemicals and effectively treats skin irritations.