There comes a moment when your baby doesn't smell like a baby anymore. I noticed it a bit ago but thought it was a result of playing outside... But it began to stick around. Then I thought it was because I now let my child wash herself. Maybe she missed her underarms. But it stuck around even after I vigorously scrubbed her down. When it stuck around after a morning bath, I knew something was up... kid funk.
You know that smell... It's a weird funk that reminds you that the clock is counting down to the day when you'll be perusing the "woman" aisle in a big box store or supermarket with a potentially uncomfortable and awkward almost adult. It's that funk that reminds you that you no longer have only your mood swings to deal with. It reminds you of the angst and the pushing away from you that comes with the double digit age. It reminds you that your ideas are no longer fun or cool or something to look up to but moreover some reminder that you're the counter culture she must rebel against. That funk... That funky reminder that you need to fit in all the parenting you can before friendships take precedence .
Kid funk has become a nightmarish reminder of the impending adulthood that wreaks havoc on my olfactory nerves. What have I done about it? My first inclination was throw some antiperspirant on it and call it a day. But with all the aluminum and other craziness that's in there (and we don't know what it is) I was very reluctant. She can wait and begin destroying her body with FDA approved products around the same time as I did, as a teen... Instead, here are some more natural and maybe unconventional methods we've implemented to combat kid funk:
- Baby Powder, Talcum Powder or Corn Starch- Powders are an old fashioned method of deodorant and cooling. I recall as a child getting baby powder on my neck and under my arms.
- Hand sanitizer- Hand sanitizer is just alcohol with less of the burn. It disinfects really well but it also dries out skin. I don't recommend this all the time every day. But it's great for the most intense smelly armpit moments when you're not at home or near a sink. Hand sanitizer can dry skin out so I recommend following up behind it with lotion or raw shea butter.
- Regular Washing- Pretty much regular washing is best. 3-4 times a day in strategic areas if possible. As soon as they get in from school, hit the sink or the shower. Wash up before bed and also in the morning. To conserve water I don't recommend showers three times a day but a wash rag and the sink will do just as well. Also the natural oils on our skin are important, showering too much can dry skin out... that's why I say strategic areas only.
- Baby Wipes- Baby wipes are a godsend... But the only problem is they aren't biodegradable. So I'm looking for other options. Flushable wipes get stuck in the sanitizing stations so I don't see these as viable either. For now in a quick bind, I totally utilize these guys as a useful method of keeping the smell down.... with environmental nerd guilt obviously.
- Changing Clothes- Smells are caused by bacteria feeding on dirt and then expelling their waste. So keeping dirty clothes off of skin is very helpful.
- Perfume-Free Soap- Dyes and perfumes can cause irritation to skin. They also have chemicals in them. It's just a recipe for disaster so we stick to glycerin based soaps, vitamin E soaps and sodium laureate free soaps. We also use natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil and raw shea butter on their skin. The less chemicals and ingredients the lesser chance the skin has to react negatively in the form of rashes and odors.
- Diet- Input out out basics;. you are what you eat is real. We cook without salt but a lot of garlic which comes out through our pores. Keep track of what makes sweat funkier and what doesn't by tracking the diet. I often find that foods I'm allergic to create more problems.
- Water- Our bodies are made of the stuff. We lose lots of water when we sweat and pee. This can cause dehydration in cases where one is exercising. Make sure you stay hydrated so that your cleansing system (sweat glands) have a bit of help.
- Sleep- Because she is growing I try to get her to bed as early as possible. The body has begun to work in overdrive to create a good genetic adult sizes copy of her parents. Sleep aids with growth and also pre-pre-puberty whatever is going on over there. The more sleep she gets the better off she'll be in the long run.
My kids are still going to play outside, get sweaty and enjoy life, I just now understand that they've begun to stink. This is what our family has done to make the breeze a little lighter. Feel free to share your anecdotes, tips and advice for kid funk... This is new territory and I'm not an expert and would love new ideas!