Wanting to learn about what essential oils for babies you can use? You might be wondering – are essential oils safe for babies? Here’s a guide to help you with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to using essential oils and your baby.
Firstly – What are essential oils?
They are sometimes referred to as ethereal oils, volatile oils, or aetherolea. But regardless of names, essential oils simply refer to the natural oil of a plant, fruit, or some other source which has been extracted out through the process of distillation. Each oil contains the scent and flavour or indeed, the “essence” of its source, and that essence is basically a blend of unique and naturally occurring compounds. They not only smell great but have incredible abilities too! However, it is important to pay attention to whether the essential oils your buying are natural, as oils that are made via synthetic processes are not considered true essential oils.
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Once the essence of a plant has been extracted via distillation, it is typically combined with a carrier oil in order to be a product you can use around the house. The most common way essential oils are used is with aromatherapy. In aromatherapy, essential oils are either inhaled using diffusers or thinned out and then rubbed on the skin.
NOTE: Essential oils should never be swallowed.
Essential oils may smell really nice, but there are more benefits to them than just their smell. Using essential oils have been linked to the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression (oils like rose, sandalwood, and jasmine) as well as headaches and migraines (oils like lemon and Ylang-Ylang).
Essential oils are also often used to treat sleep and insomnia (Chamomile) and can be very effective as a tool for reducing inflammation in the body (Tea Tree). Essential oils like peppermint have been known to provide antibiotic and antimicrobial benefits, and oils like citronella can be used to repel certain types of mosquitoes for a couple of hours.
Pretty amazing hey?
They have been proven to be really great for the use of adults but when it comes to babies essential oils should only be used for babies that are six months or older. Just like in adults, essential oils for babies encourage them to sleep, calm them when anxious, and can even help alleviate colic symptoms.
One of the best ways when using essential oils with babies is to administer through a diffuser to avoid any issues with allergic reactions but you can also heavily dilute them with a carrier oil and then apply to your baby’s skin.
A raw essential oil should never be applied to a baby’s skin, nor should they be allowed to swallow it.
Benefits of Essential Oil Use for Babies
While there are risks with using essential oils for babies (which I go into detail later in the post), essential oil use has many benefits for day to day baby care.
For parents with little ones, these are some of the common problems essential oils can help with:
Simply massage a diluted amount onto their stomach and feet.
Colic: Colic is a very dreaded problem which leaves many babies crying uncontrollably, often for long periods of time.
Dry Skin: When the weather is dry, skin tends to lose moisture. Especially in the winter months.
Hiccups: Hiccups can be annoying for anyone! They can come on suddenly and just feel uncomfortable.
Diaper Rash: Babies’ skin is super-sensitive, and there are different reasons they might get diaper rashes. The main thing is, they irritate babies a lot and moms are often trying different techniques to solve this problem
Fever: Fevers in babies can quickly become problematic if left unchecked. Diluted lavender or eucalyptus oil can be applied to babies’ necks, behind their ears, and on their feet to cool the fever in their bodies.
Influenza: We all know the flu is very contagious and can be a serious threat to a baby’s health.
Breathing Aid: Parents of babies dealing with congested chests and difficulty breathing, can dilute and then combine lavender and frankincense oil, which they can then rub on the baby’s chest and back.
You’ll find this mix to be helpful in unclogging the chest and easing their breathing.
Teething: Every child must experience teething if they are ever going to take their first bite. That does not mean it must be as uncomfortable as it usually is….
Rashes: While all babies are sensitive, some babies have skin that is more sensitive than most, making them prone to rashes.
Essential Oils for Baby Sleep – Lavender Oil for Babies
We all know that babies spend a whole lot of their time sleeping so that their bodies can develop and grow. When they are unable to sleep, (just like us) they get very cranky and upset, and this can affect their health and developmental process. But there are some essential oils to help baby sleep better. One essential oil that has been tested to help relax anxious babies and promote healthy sleep is lavender oil.
While most essential oils should be used with caution, lavender oil has been proven to be safe for babies.
Parents looking to properly sleep train their babies can dilute some lavender oil and mix the dilution into the baby’s bath water at night. Giving nightly baths help trigger the baby’s wind-down mechanism, improving the chances of the baby falling into a regular pattern of sleeping at night. The lavender oil mixed in will make the baby feel even calmer, boosting the quality of sleep they get every night.
Essential Oils for Babies with a Cold and Cough
Although there is no scientifically proven cure for the common cold, essential oils can help alleviate its symptoms in babies. Some essential oils for babies with a cold include:
Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus oil is a common ingredient in over-the-counter vapors and chest rubs. This essential oil can be used by being diluted in a carrier oil and then rubbed on to the baby’s chest and throat.
Rosemary Oil: The essential oil of this common garden herb is known to contain the chemical compound identified as “cineole”. A study was conducted on cineole by the journal Cough, and it was found that the compound helps to disperse mucus and prevent inflammation.
Frankincense Oil: Use of frankincense has been popular with babies since the three wise men gave some to the baby Jesus as a gift. Frankincense oil holds great benefits for the respiratory system and is often used to treat catarrh, asthma, coughs, and bronchitis.
Cinnamon Oil: Even though it is more commonly used as a kitchen spice, Cinnamon has been proven to help protect against the germs that cause breathing problems. A few drops of cinnamon essential oil can be used with a humidifier to give a baby relief from the stressful hacking that comes with a cough.
Risks Associated With Using Essential Oils for Babies
While many people do use essential oils for baby care, this does not mean they are always good for babies. Here are some of the risks involved with using essential oils for babies:
Potency: Because essential oils are highly concentrated and different types vary in strength, their potency levels can overwhelm the super sensitive systems that babies have. When not used properly, strong oils can cause unwanted issues like breathing problems, rashes, skin burns, and blood clotting.
Ingestion Risk: Babies have a tendency to put any and everything in their mouths, including their own limbs. When essential oils are applied to a baby’s skin, there is a risk that she might put an oiled up hand or foot in her mouth, thus swallowing some of it. Some misinformed people also give babies essential oils to swallow, not understanding how dangerous this is.
Overuse/Misuse: Many people use essential oils without understanding them, and sometimes use way too much or use them in the wrong ways. This can be damaging to a baby’s health as we already covered above.
Quality Control: The essential oil industry is not very well regulated, and so there are no clear rules about stating what ingredients go into commercial oils. Because of this, unscrupulous companies can mix in synthetic materials and additives into the products they sell as essential oils, and those additives can have grave health effects for babies. Make sure you use only the best essential oil brands for peace of mind for you and your family
Essential oils are a natural wonder, and they can help parents find natural remedies to some of the most common problems that babies suffer from. However, it is important to realize that using them comes with risks. There is always a danger that a parent may be using the oils the wrong way, using a higher dose than necessary, or doing any other thing that may endanger the health of their baby.
Please, always ensure to properly dilute essential oils before administering to their babies, never to use essential oils on babies younger than six months old and, under no circumstances, never allow their baby to swallow essential oils.