Essential Oils for Baby

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essential oils

Written by Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

Essential oils make home remedies quick and easy to prepare. With a select few on hand you will be able to create all manner of healing products and all-natural cleaning supplies.

When it comes to using essential oils with infants and babies, it can be daunting (and should be approached with caution). I have often wondered how much to use, or if certain oils were safe for young ones. After all, essential oils are extremely concentrated and powerful substances.

The following are some simple guidelines and recipes that I hope will be helpful to you.

Which Essential Oils are Safe for Babies?

In The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Valerie Ann Worwood recommends the following essential oils:

For infants, zero to two months of age:

Chamomile, Roman and German
Lavender
Yarrow
Dill

For babies, two to six months of age:

The above, plus Mandarin and Neroli.

For babies, six to twelve months of age:

The above plus Calendula, Grapefruit, and Tea Tree.

(A few others are also recommended for these ages, but none that I have used myself.)

What to look for in an Essential Oil

It is important to get the best quality oil possible. Make sure it is 100% pure essential oil and not a massage or perfume oil.

Many bottles of essential oil display the words: therapeutic grade. However, since there are no official standards for essential oils, buying one that states it is therapeutic grade does not a guarantee that the oil is actually good quality.

Knowing the source is the best way to ensure that the oil you buy is high quality.

Do a little research whenever possible.  It is usually safer to buy organic essential oils since there are some official standards for using that term (although it’s still not a guarantee).

One company I have been very impressed with is Young Living. They readily share information about their sources and methods.

Cautions

It is very important to use caution when beginning to use essential oils with a baby. Essential oils are very strong, so be sure to use a light hand; only one or two drops need to be mixed with water for diffusing or oil for massage.

A few points to remember:

  • Do not place undiluted essential oil close to baby’s face.
  • Never used undiluted essential oil directly on baby’s skin (it can burn and cause irritation).
  • Never use undiluted essential oil in a diffuser (the scent will be too strong).
  • Never ingest an essential oil.

When in doubt, don’t. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Test remedies containing essential oils on a small area of skin to see if any reaction may occur.

KOTH baby

{Image credit}

 

How to Use Essential Oils with Babies

Two of the easiest and most effective ways to use essential oils with babies are:

1. Diffuse essential oil in a diffuser or oil burner so it disperses through the air and is inhaled.
2. Mix essential oil with a carrier oil to create a massage/body oil for baby which will penetrate the skin.

The general guidelines are as follows:

To Diffuse Essential Oils for Baby

Add one drop of essential oil to two teaspoons of water and add to diffuser.

To Make a Massage Oil for Baby

Add one or two drops of essential oil to two tablespoons of sweet almond oil and blend. Use this mixture to give baby a relaxing massage.

Once baby is over two months old, essential oils may be increased to three to five drops per two tablespoons of oil.

A few other helpful remedies:

Bedtime Massage Oil – Using the method above, blend one drop of lavender or chamomile essential oil with two tablespoons of carrier oil.

Diaper Rash – Add one drop German Chamomile essential oil and one drop Lavender essential oil to a pint of warm water. Store in a clean jar. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and use to wipe baby’s bottom.

Homemade Calendula Salve with lavender oil is also excellent for treating diaper rash.

Herbal Baby Powder is also useful in keeping babies bottom dry while bringing the healing power of herbs to the affected area.

Colic – Diffuse one drop lavender and two drops peppermint in an oil burner filled with water.

Severe Colic – Add one drop of dill essential oil to one tablespoon of sweet almond oil. Stir to blend. Use this massage oil to rub baby’s tummy gently. Also rub oil on baby’s back with circular motions. (This recipe was found in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy).

To Soothe and Calm – Add a drop of lavender or chamomile essential oil to a cotton ball and place inside your shirt. Hold baby and rock next to you. They will smell the scent as they are comforted by your warm body.

Safe Surface Cleaner – Add eight drops of mandarin essential oil and one cup of water to a spray bottle. Use this mixture to wipe down surfaces in baby’s room.

Further reading:

Using Essential Oils with Babies and Children

Essential Oil Care for Babies and Children

Natural, Homemade Baby Care

Have you used essential oils with any of your babies? If so, what are your favorite remedies?

About Stacy Karen

Stacy, a homeschooling Mom of three, enjoys healthy, natural living and is a make-it-from-scratch maniac. She strives to encourage women to find peace and joy at home through her blog, A Delightful Home, where she shares tips and tricks for creating a happy home (and life) with God at its center.

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Comments

  1. There are various schools of thought on using essential oils. A great article describing this can be found here: http://heritageessentialoils.com/september-newsletter.php There are some brands of essential oils on the market that I would never ingest or use undiluted, whether on myself, a child or an infant.
    Also, the diffuser I use has a timer and the ability to adjust the dispersing of the essential oil. The essential oils would never be diluted for use in it. Love it!
    Bottoms of the feet are a very good way to apply essential oil on the skin, even for an infant. When in doubt, definitely dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil for application on the skin, although there are many essential oils we use personally that we don’t dilute.

  2. Can you diltie two drops of thieves oil with 5-6 tsp of avacado oil to use on a newborns feet to protect against the flu? Is this oil safe for a baby or no?? Thanks, looking forward to your response!

  3. I’m s confused and quite concerned! Someone had suggested to me to rub lavendar on my (20month old) sons feet, legs and abdomen t help with allergies and respiratory infections, so tonite since he woke up coughing I rubbed some on his feet, chest & back….UNDILUTED! This is the first time I have used oils and Wasn’t aware that I had to dilute it. I have since rubbed cream on the same areas and even tried wiping it off as I didn’t want to disturb him too much as he had fallen back to sleep…but I am so scared and concerned that. May have caused him some harm??? Can someone please give me some advice?, I am very worried……thank you.

    • I would say that one time, especially since you tried to rub it off after, is probably not going to cause any major harm, but I would make sure that you dilute from now on. One of the biggest problems with using it undiluted is that it can be irritating on the skin, because it’s such strong oil. If his skin didn’t react to it, then he’s probably ok, just keep an eye on him. For the future, you can use something like olive oil, almond oil, or fractionated coconut oil and just put a few drops of the essential oil in before rubbing it on.

  4. I’ve been using essential oils for years, but just recently found my new favorite website: http://www.anandaapothecary.com/
    I have not yet used their oils, but am planning to order very soon. Their oils appear to be of the highest quality with numerous excellent reviews.

  5. Jessica - Natural Mommy says:

    I am making breast milk lotion for my baby (and well to be honest all the women in my family). I didn’t realize how much fragrance and different parabans are in the baby lotions that they say to apply to your baby twice a day! So I started making my own with grapeseed oil, vitamin E oil, beeswax, and breastmilk. But now my baby doesn’t smell like baby after her bath :) I was wondering if anybody knew of an essential oil that is safe for baby that smells like baby powder? Thanks!

  6. Jennifer Milner says:

    I notice that calendula isn’t listed in this article as safe until 6 months old, but the calendula salve is recommended for diaper rash; is that salve safe for a newborn? I see calendula used all the time in baby products but am looking at making a newborn-safe salve. Thanks!

  7. I wouldn’t use lavender or tea tree oil on boys, since studies have shown that those essential oils boost estrogen levels. I wouldn’t risk using it, because it could interfere with their development. There aren’t enough studies to tell for sure what it would do to infants, but in young boys, some grew breasts!

    • I just read another woman’s comment about these oils also potentially causing premature puberty in little girls, so I change my comment to say that I wouldn’t risk using these oils on prepubescent children. Luckily I found this out before I made my new batch of homemade soap, because I was going to put both those oils in it and send it to my brother and nephew who is only a year old!

  8. Andrea Vaughan says:

    Do you recommend the Aura Cacia brand of essential oils? (just noticed the picture you posted) I’m just comparing prices. Young living looks great, but pretty pricey. Do you get what you pay for in this case? Thank you! :)

    • I’ve never tried Young Living, so I can’t comment on those. I do like Aura Cacia.

      • Andrea Vaughan says:

        Thanks! :)

        • I would use nothing but young living essential oils. Yes they are a little pricier but all their oils can be ingested! Not so with others, read the labels clearly if they can’t be consumed by mouth and be safe why would you rub them on yours or your child’s skin to be absorbed in your body? Most oils sold at GNC, wal-mart and other retail stores have the warning not to be consumed by mouth. MAKE SURE to read labels… The way oils are processed in a plant makes a big difference to why you can ingest or not. Go to http://www.younglivigoils.com and do the research and google other brands to find your answers… You will be amazed.

  9. I am also an essential oil user! DoTerra oils are Certified Theraputic Grade Oils. They are very strict on testing for each oil to ensure purity and potency. They also grow their plants in their indiginous country for example, Lavender is grown in the high altitudes of France, Lemon comes from Italy, and Frankincense is sourced from Oman (not off the side of the freeway in Utah). They are also very good at providing education about oils. You can check out this website http://www.builddoterra.com and click on education. Doterra also provides a nutrition label on each oil that is okay to be ingested. There are so many amazing things that oils can do! If you have questions, feel free to email me emilymay10@Juno.com

  10. I used Lavender a lot with my girls in their baths, and later noticed that my oldest (at 7 years old) started to grow pubic hair! I did some research and read several articles (evidence based studies) that lavender (and tea tree oil) can cause a hormone disruption in girls and cause premature puberty. There were also a couple of studies about boys growing breasts. We stopped using lavender altogether and the pubic hair growth stopped and it looks like some of it fell out. Our pediatrician was not aware of the lavender studies, but did say that tea tree oil has contributed to early puberty in girls. Don’t want to be a downer – just wanted to share our experience…

  11. I’ve been uisng and sharing Young Living essential oils for about 12 years (topical, internal, diffusing, aromatherpy, personal fragrance instead of purfume). Use the “Complete Book ….” you reference quite often, it’s an excellent resource. One of my favorites for little ones is a blend from Young Living called Gentle Baby. It is one that is approved for use on children, as well as lavender, another favorite. My grandchildren became so familiar with my ritual of rubbing Gentle Baby on the bottoms of their feet at nap time that they could pick out that bottle from all the rest of them! Young Living follows the European standards (AFNOR) for Therapeutic Grade A oils since there are no standards here.

  12. Thanks for this resource, Stacy!

  13. Great post! I know a lot of people are scared to use essential oils on children, I find the list you made of safe essential oils for the younglings to be very accurate. We use Essential Oils every day in our home and love them. One thing you left out is for very small babies, or when using oils you do not want your child to put in your eye, you can apply essential oils to the bottom of the child’s feet. This way they get the benefit of the essential oil without the risk of it getting into their eyes or mouth. I use this a lot when my daughter has a cold with ravansara or eucalyptus oil. I just started an essential oil series on my blog. I would love to share it! http://naturallivingmamma.com/2012/02/13/essential-oils-101-what-are-essential-oils/

  14. Young Living oils are not certified organic. And that can be very dangerous. I use essential oils from Florame and Dr. Valnet, both certified organic.

    • Hi there! I actually visited their farm in Utah yesterday and wanted to let you know that their oils are organic. The batches of oils that don’t meet their qualifications actually become their “pesticides”. Also, just to throw it out there they do also use heirloom seeds(I was pleased to learn that). I will be looking into those companies you shared, as well. Thanks. :)

  15. I have used eucalyptus and rosemary with my baby (6 mo.) for awhile now, with no issues. When he had a cold, I would put 1 drop of rosemary oil on the front of his clothes. That, plus breastmilk up his nose, helped him breathe much better and also saved me from having to suction him, which he hated (of course). That’s probably the most frequent use I’ve had.

  16. Dawn Graber says:

    I’ve noticed that Aura Cacia brand essential oils say not to ingest them, but Young Living suggests internal use of many of their products. How can I know which brand to trust? Thanks!

  17. all I can think of right now, are lemon cookies….mmmm

  18. Beautiful post Stacy! I am an oil lover/addict actually and am so thankful someone shared the healing properties of essential oils with me. My family and I are forever grateful for them. Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips on how mothers can safely use therapeutic essential oils for themselves and their babies.

  19. Oh and I “pinned” this for future reference, thanks for sharing!

  20. Aw I love that sweet baby photo :) So adorable!

    I don’t really know anything about essential oils…like nothing. Thanks for sharing this, it’s very interesting! I need to do some more digging out essential oils I guess :)

  21. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve pinned it for future reference. I love using oils, but there is so much information to digest. Thanks for delving into that for me. :-)

  22. I love my essential oils! I use several different ones everyday! We’ve had a cold run through our house and I’ve used Thieves (Young Living) and it has cleared everything up within about 24 hours. I also use Fennel Essential Oil to increase my milk supply because I’m nursing my almost 12 month old and pumping to donate to a local momma. I’m so thankful for the healing benefits of essential oils!

    Crystal <

    • Thanks for that tips about fennel oil.

      I’ve just started using Thieves and have been really interested in all it can do. Great stuff.

  23. In Alberta and British Columbia, Saje Natural Wellness, (a Vancouver company), has great oils, and a specific line of products for pre and post natal mothers’ care.

  24. What a great piece! I really want to read the book you have suggested here. The study of essential oils is like a rabbit hole…it sucks you in:) In my own family, I have been witness to the healing power and therapeutic nature of essential oils and just LOVE them. Thank you for all of the great information!

    • Thanks Andrea.

      You’re right about the rabbit hole. Once I started looking further, I was surprised at how many uses there are! Amazing.

  25. I have used Young Living oils undiluted in my diffusers with great results and haven’t felt the scent was too strong. Using RC blend diffused undiluted in my daughter’s room has helped her with respiratory issues in an amazing way. We have also ingested the oils for tremendous healing. A drop of lavendar under the tongue has helped us with allergic reactions as one example. Our family has seen amazing results, although my youngest was 2 when we started using them.

Trackbacks

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