As a pregnant mama, one of the most extraordinary things you will witness is the awe-inspiring transformation of your body.
As baby grows, so does your belly. At times it can seem that weeks have gone by without a visible change. Other times a baby bump seems to grow overnight — or right before your eyes!
All of this magical expansion asks a lot from our skin. Keeping your belly well-moisturized with high-quality whole ingredients is a great way to offer your body support during this incredible process. As your skin stretches to accommodate baby, it can feel itchy, irritated, and sometimes even a little painful. This kind of discomfort often indicates that the belly needs a little extra love.
As a rule, it’s best to apply belly butter at least twice every day, and again any time you feel itchy or uncomfortable. As you get into your third trimester, make sure to moisturize not only your tummy, but also your pelvis, bikini area, breasts, and hips — all of which may be experiencing big changes as baby’s arrival approaches.
If you prefer a scented belly butter, try incorporating the Herbal Body Oil. If you’d prefer to keep things simple, plain apricot kernel oil will do just fine.
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) shea,* cupuacu, or mango butter (room temperature)
- 2 ounces (60 ml) apricot kernel oil or Herbal Body Oil
- 1 ounce (30 ml) avocado oil
- 1 ounce (30 ml) argan oil
*Shea butter shares a common chemical with the proteins in natural latex. If you are at all sensitive to latex, I’d recommend making this recipe with another type of vegetable butter. My favorites are semi-soft butters like cupuacu or mango butter.
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk the butter on medium speed for about 5 minutes. The butter should become soft and fluffy.
- Stop the mixer, add the oils, and whisk on low speed for about 30 seconds. The oils should be thoroughly mixed into the butter.
- Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then bring the mixer up to high speed. Whip the butter for 5 to 10 minutes, until it becomes thicker, light in color, and very fluffy. The butter should form stiff peaks, like buttercream frosting, when it is finished.
- Spoon the butter into a jar. The mixture will become slightly firmer as it cools and sets over the next few hours, but will remain relatively soft and fluffy. During hot weather, the butter may soften and lose its fluffy texture. Try keeping it an air-conditioned room or in the fridge to protect it.
Apply belly butter liberally to your stomach, pelvis, bikini area, breasts, and hips twice a day, or as often as needed (anytime your belly feels tight or itchy). Massage the butter into your skin in a gentle, circular motion. The butter will take a little extra time to absorb compared with commercial lotion, so be sure to give the conditioning oils and butters enough time to soak in before getting dressed.
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Cover courtesy of Spring House Press
Excerpted with permission from The Handmade Mama by Mary Helen Leonard (Spring House Press, 2018).