Essential oils are popping up everywhere these days, and people claim that aromatherapy can help with everything from sleep to mood to headaches. Before you dive in and try aromatherapy for babies, it’s a good idea to learn a little more about how these essential oils can impact your little ones.
We’re going to introduce you to some of the most popular essential oils, cover how you can use them in aromatherapy, and investigate whether or not aromatherapy is good for your baby.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the process of using essential oils to benefit health and well-being. These essential oils are made up of various plant compounds that provide strong aromas.
People use aromatherapy as an attempt to deal with anxiety, depression, insomnia, nausea, and other health concerns. But do they really work?
Researchers have conducted studies on essential oils and aromatherapy, but the results are inconclusive. Some studies showed these oils provided noticeable results while other study participants saw no benefits from using essential oils.
As long as you use high-quality essential oils in a safe manner, you don’t have much to lose. But know they aren’t a cure for diseases or medical conditions.
Aromatherapy for Babies and Children
So, is aromatherapy safe for your little one? The truth is that it depends on the specific oil and how you use it. But the overall answer is that yes, aromatherapy can be safe for babies and children. Some experts advise to not diffuse essential oils around infants under 6 months old.
Before we go into the details of how to safely use essential oils around your children, let’s get one thing clear. Aromatherapy is not an alternative to visiting a doctor’s office for treatment. If your child is sick, please take them to a doctor so they can receive any treatment and medications they need.
Best Practices for Using Essential Oils Around Babies
If you choose to use essential oils near your little ones, you’ll need to keep a number of things in mind.
- Always dilute. Never apply undiluted essential oils to your baby’s skin! Instead, dilute the oils with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil. You want to aim for a concentration of 0.5-2.5%. Since water and oils don’t mix, always dilute essential oils before applying them to a bath.
- Use a patch test. Before you apply a new type of essential oil to your baby’s skin during a massage or bath, always test it first. Apply the diluted oil to a small portion of your baby’s skin then wait 24 hours. If you don’t notice any skin irritation, you can continue with the bath or massage.
- Keep essential oils out of reach. While diluted oils may be safe for children, undiluted oils can cause serious harm if your little one spills or ingests them. Always store these oils in child-proof containers that are out of reach of little hands.
- Don’t apply oils near the eyes, mouth, or nose. It’s best to keep essential oils, even diluted ones, away from little ones’ faces.
- Choose high-quality products. Before buying an essential oil, make sure to read the label and check the sourcing. Choose a company that is transparent about where they source their material and what extraction method they use. And it never hurts to read reviews and ask your friends for advice. Also, avoid perfume products or those that are labeled as fragrances.
- Limit exposure. If you are using a diffuser to apply the aroma to the air, limit the time your kids are exposed to the scent. One hour is a good choice.
Popular Essential Oils
Now that you know a bit more about aromatherapy, let’s cover some essential oils that can be used on babies.
- Lemon may provide energizing benefits.
- Orange can also help uplift and energize.
- Lavender may provide calming effects, and one study showed it may decrease pain in babies.
- Chamomile can help with sleep. Both Roman chamomile and German chamomile are suitable options.
- Cedarwood can help with relaxation.
- Mandarin may also help calm and relax your baby.
There are also essential oils that should not use around little ones.
- Peppermint should not be used around anyone under 30 months old, as it can increase the risk of seizures.
- Birch and wintergreen contain high levels of methyl salicylate, which can be toxic to babies.
- Thyme, oregano, lemongrass, and cinnamon can irritate babies’ sensitive skin.
Additionally, pregnant and breast-feeding mothers should avoid certain essential oils, according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.
How to Use Essential Oils for Babies
When it comes time to try aromatherapy with your little one, you should first consult your pediatrician. With their involvement, you can try incorporating oils in the following ways.
After you’ve done a patch test without any negative results, you can try a massage with a diluted essential oil. Warm a bit of oil in your hands and rub it over your baby’s skin. Make sure to keep the oil away from their face.
In a Bath
When it’s time for a bath, you can add a bit of essential oil to help relax your baby. Remember that oil and water don’t mix, so you should always blend your essential oil with a carrier oil before adding it to a bath. Cedarwood and lavender oil are both good choices.
Even diluted oils can be dangerous to the eyes, ears, and nose, so don’t pour any water near your baby’s face.
Use a Diffuser
A diffuser injects oils into the air so both you and your little ones can breathe in the aromas. This is typically a safer method to use than applying oils directly to the skin.
Of course, you should look out for any symptoms such as headaches, irritability, or coughing. If you notice any of these, stop using the diffuser or try a different oil.
Add in Some Aromatherapy
Now that you know a bit more about aromatherapy and using it with your little ones, keep learning! Just like each baby is different, each one can react differently to essential oils. So use caution, take notes, and enjoy introducing your little one to new scents.
By Briana. T for SGBabyReview