Is soap poisoning my baby? A mom’s journey to find safe soap.

Safe Baby Soap

6 soaps in 16 months– and counting

When my daughter was born 16 months ago, the Internet and my mom’s group taught me something that I still haven’t come to terms with: Soap is poisoning my baby. Slowly.

Here’s just one example:

I learned that the Johnson’s soap that I put on my gift registry, that my mother washed me with when I was an infant, and that the nurses at the hospital used to give my daughter her first bath contains toxic chemicals.

What chemicals exactly? I don’t know. I remember hearing the words “formaldehyde” and “cancer” in the same sentence.  And that’s enough for a new mom to start worrying.

Before I go on, I should tell you that I have never been the “earthy crunchy” type. I don’t buy organic produce. I don’t put coconut or jojoba oil on my face. I scrub my toilet with Fantastik. I’m just a regular mom. And now I’m a regular mom who has to spend her time worrying about something as silly as soap.

Parabens. Sulfates. Soy. Oh my!

When I became a mom I learned that  just because a product is sold in the United States, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.  And that rocked my world.

Johnson’s is the self-proclaimed “#1 choice of hospitals” and their product contains formaldehyd. So we’ve been putting the same thing on new babies and dead people. Why are doctors and nurses ok with this?

This got me thinking… if a brand as well known as Johnson’s has poisons chemicals in it, what about everything else on the shelf at Target?

My ridiculous journey to find a baby-safe soap:

Mustella Baby SoapSoon after my daughter was born, I stopped using Johnson’s and switched to the fancy French Mustella soap and body wash that she received as a gift. It was expensive, so it had to be good…


Dove Sensitive Skin Soap

Then my daughter got dry skin and her pediatrician recommended I try Dove Sensitive Skin. I was hesitant about using a big  brand again (in this case Unilever). Once Dove raised eyebrows with my fellow mommy friends, I went back to the drawing board.   

After researching baby soap on sites like EWG’s Skin Deep, (who knew that when you become a mother you would spend your time doing such a thing) I found that the less chemicals something has, the more it costs.

Baking Soda as SoapThree soaps later I gave up and just started washing my daughter in baking soda. When my mother in law saw me doing this she thought I was a wacko. I used it until my daughter learned how much fun it was to dump on the floor, and our bathroom looked like a crack den.

California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash Finally I shelled out the big bucks — $11 for 8.5 ounces of California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash. It doesn’t lather up well so it takes a lot to get baby clean. Plus, it’s much more expensive than the $1.09 I spend on a three pack of Ivory soap for myself.

Trader Joe's Oatmeal & Honey SoapOn a whim, I went to Traders Joes and bought Oatmeal & Honey Soap which said it was “pure vegetable soap” on the label. Amazingly, I was able to understand all of the ingredients on the package without the help of Google, and the list was short. I’m afraid to actually look it up because chances are there is something scary like a hormone disruptor hidden in it. Or maybe the vegetables are genetically modified. Who really knows?

What now?

After being on this 16 month fear-fueled journey just to find my kid some kind of soap that won’t hurt her, I’m still unsure. I’m still confused about chemicals. I don’t really know what’s safe.

Johnson’s recently reformulated their baby shampoo to remove the formaldehyde as well as another potentially harmful chemical. Even with their “improved formula,” I still can’t trust them. 

I shouldn’t have to research soap the same way I would my daughter’s future college, and I shouldn’t have to spend a fortune on it either. I just want to be able to enjoy watching my daughter play in the tub without worrying about what I’m putting on her skin.

Tubby time shouldn’t be this tough.

Parents, what kind of soap do you use for your kids? 

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3 Responses to Is soap poisoning my baby? A mom’s journey to find safe soap.

  1. go Mama O says:

    I’ve liked California Baby and Burt’s Bees. My 4 year old daughter has sensitive skin, so I recently bought Eucerin dry skin body wash. Cetaphil is a nice brand too that I use, and may switch to for her as well. I’ve been on the EWG site as well, and it’s crazy all of the stuff that goes into so many products from reputable companies!

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