Essential oils, when used correctly, can be a safe and effective option in preventing and treating minor ailments in babies.
It is important to remember that babies should not ingest essential oils and that the oils must be appropriately diluted before applying them to baby’s sensitive skin. The amount used should be about one quarter that of an adult, as children tend to be much more sensitive to essential oils. Further to that, not all oils can be safely used on children. For instance, cinnamon, oregano and peppermint oils can be quite irritating to the skin.
Some of the baby-safe oils are: chamomile, fennel, lavender, mandarin, neroli, rose and tea tree. Use essential oils at your own discretion, of course, and with the consent of your doctor. Also be aware that not all oils are created equal and you will want to be certain that you have a high quality product. You will also need to have a carrier oil like almond, apricot, or calendula oil. Any mixture will need to be kept in a dark glass bottle and it’s a good idea to shake the bottle a bit before use.
Perhaps the easiest way to use essential oils is through simple diffusion. Smell is one of the first senses to develop in your baby and, in fact, is functioning in utero. Using a diffuser of lavender or chamomile in your baby’s room can aid them in calming themselves and going to sleep. If you have no diffuser, you can place a scented cotton ball or tissue near, but not within reach of, your baby’s bed.
One of the nicest ways to make aromatherapy part of your child’s life is to create a personal massage blend. Touch is very important for babies and massage is a wonderful way to give your little one the tactile stimulation and love that he needs. Try five drops of lavender, two drops of neroli and one drop of chamomile with two ounces of your chosen carrier oil to make baby a relaxing blend. When your baby is tired or hyperactive, a massage blend like this will calm down the nervous system and help him relax. Also, a slow clockwise tummy rub with a blend of three drops of neroli and one drop of lavender in an ounce of carrier oil will stimulate baby’s digestive system and alleviate problems such as colic, constipation or diarrhea.
Baby power tends to be a nursery room staple because it’s soft and drying for bottoms that have been stuck in a wet nappy. The talc used in most commercial baby powders can have an adverse effect on little lungs, but it’s easy to make a safe and customized aromatherapy version. Five drops of lavender combined with two drop of chamomile can be mixed into an ounce of cornstarch. Some people prefer to use white clay, which is also perfectly acceptable. Just keep the mixture in any clean container that can shake it out as needed.
A final note about storage: Keep your essential oils in a safe place – not only will it keep them beyond reach of little hands, but a cool dark place will help to keep the oils fresh.