Essential oils are gotten from herbs, flowers, and other plants. Apart from being applied to the skin during aromatherapy massage, people also use essential oils in a diffuser. But is it okay to use essential oils for babies?
Essential oils for babies
There are some evidence for the benefits of essential oils, but very little research on how these oils may affect babies.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians do not recommend using essential oils on babies younger than 3 months.
People can use diluted essential oils or undiluted sunflower or grapeseed oil during a baby massage. According to studies, baby massage can encourage development, improve weight gain in pre-term infants, and decrease irritability and sleep disturbances.
It may not be necessary to use oil or cream to massage a baby, but it will make the process easier by helping the parent or caregiver’s hand glide more smoothly over the skin.
According to a 2016 review, lavender oil could help treat pain in babies. One study found that newborns who smelled lavender while having a heel prick test experienced less pain and a lower heart rate than those in a control group. Also, lavender oil aromatherapy massage could reduce colic symptoms.
Chamomile is a common home remedy for sleeplessness in adults, and may also help infants.
While there is little scientific evidence to prove that chamomile aids sleep, some people find that adding a few drops of chamomile oil to a warm bath or diffuser can have a calming, sedative effect.
Sunflower oil is high in linoleic acid, which makes it an excellent choice for a baby with sensitive skin. Babies with sensitive skin may develop eczema. One study found that while sunflower oil improved skin hydration, olive oil damaged the skin barrier and could aggravate existing skin problems.
How to use
There is a range of ways to use essential oils for babies, including:
In a baby massage
Baby massage routines vary according to the baby’s preferences, the following steps are a good starting point:
- Warm a small amount of the diluted oil by rubbing it between your hands.
- Gently rub the oil into the baby’s skin, starting on their legs. Use just enough pressure to move the skin gently.
- To massage the baby’s chest and belly, spread your hands out towards the sides of the baby as if flattening the pages of a book. Use your fingers to make small circles.
In bath water
A few drops of chamomile or lavender oil in the water at bath time can help to relax and calm baby. This may help the baby sleep if bedtime follows soon after.
Are they safe to use?
People should not use essential oils on or around babies who are younger than 3 months.
In the case of premature babies, people should avoid using essential oils until at least 3 months after their due date.
People should never apply undiluted essential oils to the skin of babies and infants.
Instead, dilute the oil with an appropriate carrier oil. Sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, and coconut oilare examples of suitable carrier oils.
READ ALSO: How to Tell If Your Baby Is Head Down
The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) recommends diluting the essential oil to just 0.5 to 2.5 percent.
It is also unsafe to eat or drink essential oils.
Babies have sensitive skin, so people should avoid using essential oils that are known skin irritants, such as:
- cinnamon bark or leaf
- lemon verbena
- clove bud
Researchers also recommend that people do not use olive oil as a carrier oil as it can damage the skin.
The NAHA also recommend avoiding the following common essential oils during pregnancy and while breast-feeding:
- parsley seed
It is also vital to keep essential oils away from a baby’s airways. It is okay to apply diluted oils to the baby’s feet as long as the baby does not put their feet near their mouth.
Diluting oils before using them in a diffuser will also reduce the risk of adverse respiratory reactions.
People should not use aroma diffusers if the infant has asthma or is at risk of developing asthma due to a family history of the condition.
Disclaimer: The content provided on healthdiary365.com is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical doctor or healthcare professional.