Mama Bird’s Belly Butter

When I found out the winner of our first contest was pregnant, I couldn’t resist making her some of my favorite homemade belly butter in addition to her prize of a wedge of homemade Humbolt Fog-inspired cheese. I made up this recipe for stretch mark preventing belly butter when I was pregnant. I used it daily and credit it for sailing through pregnancy without a single stretch mark. Like my Iced Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Recipe (another natural pregnancy remedy) I have been wanting to share it for some time and figured this was a great excuse for sharing it without fear of triggering pregnancy rumors in my extended family.

Photo credit: Kari Pfeiffer

Researching stretch marks, I learned that the biggest risk factor is genetics. Since my mother did not escape her pregnancies unmarked, I was extra motivated to try to prevent them. The second biggest factor is simply dry skin. This formula uses all natural ingredients, many of them food grade, to nourish, feed and hydrate the skin. I believe this allowed my skin to expand as needed and bounce back better afterwards. I am sensitive to artificial perfumes, and was all the more so during pregnancy, and I had an aversion to the smell of all the stretch mark creams that were commercially made. Like all mothers, I wanted my growing babe to have the best start, so turning to natural ingredients, instead of rubbing chemicals into my bump, was a no-brainer. You could easily add a drop or two of essential oils to add a scent, but I preferred the butter as is, smelling like chocolate and coconut–yum.

Mama Bird’s Belly Butter Recipe

Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan on very low heat. Heat just until melted. Whisk and remove from heat. Pour into a jar or covered bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until solid.

Instructions:

The butter will most likely stay a solid at room temperature (unless the room temperature is very hot, i.e. over 80-85° F). Melt a small amount by rubbing it between your hands and massage into the belly (and anywhere growing). The butter is most easily absorbed by damp skin, so after a shower is ideal. Use at least once a day and more often as needed when skin is starting to feel tight or itchy. Although the vitamin E can help preserve the shelf life, I prefer to make small batches frequently. (This amount usually lasted me two weeks.)

Variations:

If you do not have one of the ingredients, other options to substitute in include Olive Oil or Argan Oil. You may notice that your finished product is more solid or less solid depending on the products you use and the brands you use. One tip is to keep in mind the relative hardness of the oils/butters. Here’s what I have found, listed from firmest to runniest: Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Avocado Oil. Don’t ever add water to your mix to make it runnier as this can speed up molding, but add a little more Avocado Oil or Olive Oil if you would like it softer. Conversely, if you want it harder, use a little more Cocoa or Shea Butter. Feel free to experiment!

About the Ingredients:

Coconut Oil has fatty chain acids that work to regenerate and rebuild the connective tissues that cause stretch marks. Massaged daily into the skin, it can help keep the skin on a growing belly supple and flexible. Purchase unrefined coconut oil as it has more of the healthful properties (it also smells more “coconuty”).

Cocoa Butter contains natural antioxidants and is one of the most stable fats. Although a recent double blind study did not find it better than placebo in preventing stretch marks, it was found to be moisturizing and soothing and daily use prevents dry, itchy skin. Depending on the brand, it can smell quite like chocolate.

Shea Butter originates in Africa and has been used for ages for all kinds of skin care concerns, including dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, burns and stretch marks. Shea butter enhances the skin’s natural barrier function, increases the moisture levels, and helps with cell regeneration. It also helps with capillary circulation, helps sooth irritated skin, helps protect against UV rays and helps with restructuring effects on the epidermis. Try to purchase it unrefined.

Avocado Oil is my new favorite cooking oil. It can be used up to 500° F, as opposed to olive oil, which really shouldn’t be heated above 325° F, or it scorches and coverts to trans fats. Avocado has a mild, neutral taste, making it a great replacement for vegetable oil. Used topically on the body, avocado oil is wonderful for moisturizing and is rich in vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants, including vitamin E.

Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant that prevents the formation of free-radical particles. Free radicals break down skin cells and create aging and depletion of nutrients. Vitamin E is known as a natural scar remedy when massaged into the skin. It stimulates the collagen in the skin, which can provide a noticeable difference when it comes to texture and strength. The antioxidant also promotes cell growth and is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Although not a preservative, vitamin E, as an antioxidant, can also help prolong the shelf-life of the belly butter.

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9 responses to “Mama Bird’s Belly Butter

  1. Pingback: Everything You Need to Set up a Cloth Diaper Changing Station | Baby Bird's Farm and Cocina

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  3. This mixture of oil is truly amazing. I started using it at about week 10 as I was getting super itchy. I put it on after a shower and it has truly kept me moisturized and at 39 weeks I barely got to small stretch marks on my hip smaller than half an inch. So grateful for this shared receipe given my family genetics.

    • Thank you for sharing your positive experience, Nadine! I lot of women have told that they made it and me it worked for them, but few take the time to write here. So thanks!!

      • Nadine Rogers

        Anytime Abby ! It has been heaven sent throughout the process in providing comfort and great skin elasticity. I’m grateful for your sharing this amazing receipe !

  4. Is the shea butter you used pure shea butter? I found some online (never bought shea butter before) and it’s very hard…wondering if it’s going to melt in well??? Just curious what the consistency was of the brand in the photo….

    • Hi Amber. My shea butter (and I used the brand I linked to) was very hard, too. You can soften it up in the microwave before scooping some out. You can also try cutting a chunk with a knife. It takes longer to melt than the other oils but it eventually will. Give it a shot and let me know!

  5. I absolutely love this recipe! I made it today but added a little more vitamin E oil and the texture is perfect. I’m 25 weeks and plan to use this twice a day from now on. I bought everything at my local health market, and got the shea and cocoa butter in bulk so it was sooo cheap. Not only do I love how I’m using an organic, chemical and preservative free lotion on my baby bump, I smell like a chocolate bar!! Thank you so so much!

    • Yay! This makes me so happy to hear! Thank you for taking the time to comment! Have a happy and healthy pregnancy!

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