Okay, so I’m a little behind on the whole essential oil thing, but I did get a steam diffuser for the holidays and I’m more than a little obsessed (as in I’m already whipping up my own blends depending on my mood). As you probably already know, there are certain oils that you need to avoid when you are pregnant, but is the case the same when it comes to essential oils for babies? The short answer is yes. Once your little one reaches 3 months in age, it’s okay to start using these helpful natural oils to soothe, lull to sleep, and even treat colic (amazing, right?).
There are a few ways to use them with your little one, including trying out an ultrasonic diffuser, applying them to skin when mixed with a carrier oil or cream, or by adding a few drops to your clothing so they become used to the scent. Remember that a skin patch test is crucial to make sure your child isn’t allergic, but more on that below. Also of note: According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), you should opt for .5% to 1% oil dilution since babies have more sensitive skin than adults.
THE PATCH TEST
Apply at most a dime-size amount of the oil to your little one’s leg or arm and wait a full 24 hours to see what happens. By this point, you’ll be able to tell if there is redness or irritation—in this case, rule out that particular oil. If you don’t see any problem, then you can go on and fully introduce it to your child.
OILS TO USE
It’s no surprise that chamomile is one essential oil for babies, as it’s recommended for its soothing nature. If your little one is having difficulty sleeping, this oil is a go-to. When mixed with lavender, it’s been known to relieve colic.
Citrus instantly gives our mood a lift, and distilled lemon essential oil does the same thing, but this time with our tiny ones. Use a few drops of this oil to help wake up your baby, whether in the morning or after a nap.
Dill essential oil is extracted from the dill seed or plant. It’s particularly helpful when your little one has an upset stomach. Add it to water or oil and rub it directly on your baby’s skin (1 drop of oil to 1 teaspoon of the liquid is recommended).
Many of us know that lavender has particularly strong calming abilities—it’s why experts tell adults to put a few drops on their pillowcase before bed. Use this essential oil before bedtime with your baby to ensure a good night’s rest. It can also be used to treat skin irritation stemming from bug bites.
OILS TO AVOID
Some oils are too strong for little ones to handle. Experts frequently say to steer clear of eucalyptus, wintergreen, clary sage, sage, Idaho tansy, and hyssop.