Is your baby suffering from dry, itchy skin?
Whether it’s a diaper rash, eczema, or an angry bug bite, there’s hardly an itchy skin condition an oatmeal bath can’t soothe!
In just under 15 minutes, you will learn WHY you should give your child an oatmeal bath and LEARN the steps on how to do it at home.
Let’s get into it.
What Is an Oatmeal Bath?
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that can provide comfort and relief to your baby’s irritated skin.
Adding it to the bath is an age-old remedy to soothe itching and irritation. Even the ancient Romans and Egyptians used oatmeal baths for their skin conditions!
Oatmeal baths provide relief from baby skin issues such as skin rash, eczema, hives from allergies, sunburn, dry and scaly skin, and even bug bites.
To make an oatmeal bath for your baby, just fill their tub with warm water and add colloidal oatmeal, also known as finely ground oatmeal.
(But more details on that later on.)
What Is Colloidal Oatmeal?
Colloidal oatmeal is what you get when raw oats are very finely ground, like soft powder. It is also what is used in lotions and other skincare products in the market that contain oatmeal.
When mixed into water, the powder forms a milky white solution that is easier to apply and better absorbed into the skin.
This solution not only soothes irritated and inflamed skin, but a soothing oatmeal bath also leaves a thin layer of protective barrier on your baby’s skin against skin redness, dryness, and further irritation.
How to Make a Colloidal Oatmeal Bath for Diaper Rash, Eczema, and Other Skin Conditions
First, let’s get your colloidal oatmeal ready. You don’t have to go out and buy this fine powder — you can just make it from your regular oatmeal at home!
Making Homemade Colloidal Oatmeal
It’s super fast and simple!
Step 1: Get the Right Oats
Raw, organic oats are preferable.
It doesn’t really matter whether you use the pre-ground oats or the rolled oats kind since we will just end up grinding it all anyway.
Instant or quick oats will also work in a pinch, but try to use raw oats for oatmeal baths as much as possible.
Step 2: Grind the Oats Into a Fine Powder
You can use any grinder for this, whether it’s a food processor, a coffee grinder, or even a blender.
Process the oats until they are ground fine into something that resembles flour or baby powder.
You will typically need one cup of this powdered oatmeal to start your baby’s first oatmeal bath. So make sure you grind enough raw oats to yield at least a cup of colloidal oatmeal.
You could also grind some more oats to prepare for your baby’s future baths.
How to Give a Soothing Oatmeal Bath for Your Baby
Now that you have your soothing powder ready, this is how you make an oatmeal bath the natural way at home:
Step 1: Filling the Tub
Simply fill their baby bathtub with warm water.
Make sure it’s actually WARM and NOT HOT, as hot water will leave your child’s skin dry and irritate it further. You might even end up scalding your baby’s skin.
Step 2: Adding the Colloidal Oatmeal
With the water running, start with at least one cup of colloidal oatmeal and mix it in with your hand.
Continue adding more of the oatmeal powder one tablespoon at a time.
You’ll know the oatmeal powder has been able to disperse evenly when the water looks milky and feels silky.
Step 3: Soak Time!
You can now let your child soak in their soothing oatmeal bath for 10 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to do this any longer as it might worsen their irritated skin.
If your child is older and usually has bath time to themselves, we advise that you still supervise their oatmeal bath.
The silkiness of oatmeal baths will make the tub SLIPPERY and might pose a risk to your child.
Step 4: Rinse & Dry
After their oatmeal bath soak, rinse your baby’s sensitive skin with fresh lukewarm water and gently pat (NOT RUB) them dry with a clean towel.
You could also let your baby’s skin air dry if the temperature allows it.
Step 5 (Optional): Apply Lotion
Oat baths are already gently moisturizing enough for your baby’s dry skin.
But you could also choose to apply an emollient (not lotion) within the first few minutes of drying their skin to seal in the moisture from their oatmeal bath and further protect their skin barrier.
Benefits of DIY Colloidal Oatmeal Baths on Baby’s Skin Problems
We already know that oatmeal baths have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This helps soothe skin irritation and other baby skin conditions.
Let’s look at some of the several benefits oatmeal baths have on pediatric skin conditions one by one:
#1 An Oatmeal Bath Helps Repair the Skin Barrier
By keeping moisture locked in, oat baths make this healing process EASIER and FASTER for already sensitive skin by preventing it from drying out.
This allows the skin to repair itself and heal.
This is why oatmeal is also a popular ingredient that’s frequently used in bathing products for children.
#2 Oatmeal Bath for Chicken Pox
Give an oatmeal bath to your kid who just suffered chicken pox.
The relaxing bath will calm their skin irritation and heal its accompanying painful blisters and skin wounds faster.
#3 First Aid and Oatmeal Bath for Poison Ivy
If your kid encounters poison ivy while outside, remove any clothing that may have come in contact with the plant first.
Then wash the affected area (or better yet, their whole body to ensure there will be no oil left) with mild soap and water.
Pay special attention to their hands and under the fingernails as they have probably scratched the affected skin area repeatedly, and lots of the oil might still be trapped there.
Then make an oatmeal bath and let them soak in the tub. This not only relieves their current skin condition, but also helps soothe any anxiety that the incident might have caused them.
#4 Oatmeal Baths for Eczema
Oats, together with the help of an emollient, calm the skin and help remove the discomfort your baby is feeling.
When oatmeal baths form a thin protective layer of protection on your child’s skin inflamed by eczema, it also provides much-needed moisture and relief.
#5 Oats Bath for Sunburned Skin
When your kid plays too much out in the sun and forgets to reapply their sunblock, a bath of oats will comfort their painful, angry skin.
A rinse of diluted apple cider vinegar provides comfort as well, but most kids hate the smell and will refuse to be treated with it.
An oatmeal bath is a much safer choice.
#6 Oatmeal Bath for Hives From an Allergic Reaction
Hives and red itchy bumps on the skin are not just dry and itchy, but can also be painful and even cause wounds due to excessive scratching.
An oatmeal bath twice a day helps in temporarily relieving some of the itch and irritation, and sometimes even lessens the need for an after-bath, anti-itch steroid cream.
#7 Giving Oatmeal Baths for Diaper Rash Relief
If your baby is suffering skin irritation from diaper rashes or just a general bad rash, an oatmeal bath will promote lipid regulation on your baby’s skin. It’s a good alternative if you don’t have diaper cream on hand!
This soothes their itchy skin and protects them from getting more diaper rash in the future.
BONUS TIP: Using diapers made of natural materials can also help prevent nasty diaper rashes from happening!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s answer some questions you might have.
Is an Oatmeal Bath SAFE for Babies?
Unless your baby is suffering from celiac disease or is allergic to oats, then YES.
Oatmeal baths are perfectly safe for your baby.
You don’t have to worry about it worsening your child’s skin irritation.
It is also a great first aid home remedy for different skin problems to provide them comfort while you wait for your doctor’s appointment.
MOMMY TIP: You could also consider doing a detoxification bath for your baby for similar benefits.
Can You Use Quaker Oats/Regular Oats for a Bath?
If you’re strapped for time to make your own colloidal oatmeal or run out to the store to buy some, feel free to use raw regular oats (and even instant Quaker oats) for your child’s oatmeal bath.
You can place the oats in a reusable tea bag, a muslin bag, or a cheesecloth and tie it with a rubber band to make sure the whole oats will not spill in your child’s bath.
Then just place it in their tub while you run the warm water and let the bag of oatmeal steep like tea until the consistency of the bath is silky and milky.
You could also slightly press the oatmeal bag for it to steep faster. Just be careful not to press too hard as you might end up spilling the whole oats.
Although, try not to use instant oats the next time. Raw oatmeal still makes for the best bath.
What’s the Difference Between Colloidal Oatmeal and Regular Oatmeal?
Regular oatmeal is what we eat. It includes instant, organic oatmeal, rolled oats, etc.
Colloidal oatmeal is a powder that regular oatmeal turns into when finely ground. It is made and used for topical application.
Homemade versions of colloidal oatmeal are safe to ingest, while commercial ones are not as they might have additives.
And there you have it! That’s everything you need to know about this miracle soothing bath.
Go make one for your little one today and see their happy face of relief. We hope this article helped and provided comfort for you as well.