It is that time of year again that everyone is getting sick. Coughing, runny noses, and congestion are running amuck among all ages.
You may be looking to use Essential oils for your baby’s congestion, but which ones are safe to use?
Your little one may not have a fully developed immune system to fight off invading germs of their family, daycare, and other frequented areas.
Of course, we as parents want to jump into action to relieve the suffering that our babies are feeling as they fight the symptoms of a cold, which can include cough, fever, and congestion.
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There is an aspect to parenthood that wants us to provide everything that we can for our children.
In doing so, we as parents often are looking for natural and alternative methods to help our babies with a number of ailments, such as colic, sleep, behavioral problems, and cold symptoms.
There are times that modern medicine is necessary: however, at the start of a cough or cold, essential oils can provide adequate relief making the need for pharmaceuticals less prominent.
In the past decade, the use of essential oils has grown to another level of popularity.
With the numerous organizations that distribute essential oils, we see them everywhere…even our local grocery store. The increase is understandable.
Aromatherapy has been the topic of discussion among parents as the use of conventional medicine has declined in treating common viral infections.
There is an overall acceptance of natural remedies. It is vital that we understand the complexity of essential oils and the safety guidelines of using them.
What is Aromatherapy?
To put this term into a simple translation, Aromatherapy is the controlled use of essential oils to promote the health of the body, mind, and spirit.
There are a variety of applications that Aromatherapy is used in-topical, inhalation, baths, compresses, and massage.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are a concentrated combination of volatile aromatic constituents that are extracted from a plant, herb, and flower material.
Since they are highly concentrated, they are very powerful. Since the options for essential oils are ample, I would suggest that anyone looking to purchase and use essential oils should look for 100% pure, therapeutic essential oils.
Oils that contain alcohol or synthetic fragrances can be irritating to your baby and do not provide any health benefits.
Some of the easiest ways to identify a pure and therapeutic essential oil are in the label.
Labels that contain the word Certified Organic or have the Latin name and origin of the essential oil are considered pure essential oils.
Using essential oils with Newborns
It is a general precaution to avoid essential oils with babies under 3 months of age.
This is due to the fact a newborn’s skin and respiratory system are so new that any allergies or sensitivities have not been identified yet.
It is wise to only introduce one essential oil at a time so that it is easier to determine the cause of the adverse reaction.
Usually, a sign of a reaction will show up within the first 15-30 minutes after inhalation or topical application.
It is advised that you are open to discussing the use of essential oils with your pediatrician.
After 3 months of age, manufacturers of essential oils have recommended usage for diffusing as long as the dosage standards are being met.
I advise parents to begin slowly, with 1 drop of essential oil in 200 milliliters of water and adding an additional drop every week for up to 3 weeks.
What essentials are safe to use with babies
Essential oils for babies with congestion coughs or colds should not exceed 1-2 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
The recommended safe oils to use with babies three months or older are the following:
• Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
• Lemon (Citrus limonum)
• Chamomile, Roman and German (Anthemis nobilis, Matricaria recutita)
• Dill (Anthum graveolens)
The guidelines for essential oils with babies six months or older should not exceed 3-5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
The essential oils considered safe include:
• Bergamot (Citrus bergamia): this is a phototoxic oil that can cause reactions if exposed to the sun.
• Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
• Helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium)
• Lemon (Citrus limon)
• Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
It is important to recognize that there are many varieties of essential oils with the same name.
For example, there are more than 700 species in the Eucalyptus family. This is why it is important to remember and locate the Latin names of essential oils.
What is Thieves?
There has been an increased amount of buzz going around about Thieves blend essential oil, so what is Thieves?
It is a blend of antimicrobial, antibacterial, analgesic, and antiviral, to name a few.
Typically, Thieves essential oil is a blend of five essential oils, which includes Clove, Rosemary, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Cinnamon Bark.
Thieves is a powerful blend with many therapeutic benefits; however, due to the active constituents in the oils used within this blend, it should be avoided in children under ten years old.
Using Thieves as a natural alternative to household cleaning products is acceptable given the correct ventilation.
It is an excellent choice to disinfect your home-from the kitchen to the bathroom.
The Benefits of Lavender, Frankincense, and Lemon Essential Oils for Babies with Colds
For thousands of years, Lavender has been known for its calming and relaxing properties. It is very gentle and one of the safest essential oils to use near babies.
Frankincense essential oil is fantastic for clearing sinuses and a lot gentler than Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus is used in making vapor rub but can be rather intense for babies.
Lemon is a natural disinfectant and antibacterial.
Treating fevers naturally
Your baby may be miserable with the discomfort of a fever, but a fever is a positive indicator that their immune systems are working.
Multiple methods can be used to reduce a fever, including:
• Wet washcloth with 1 drop of Lavender essential oil on the forehead and back of the neck.
• A sponge bath with lukewarm water and apple cider vinegar. (1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts water)
• Warm baths with Epsom salts, 1 drop Lavender and 1 drop Frankincense.
Treating Babies with Congestion
Using essential oils for babies with congestion is a great way to experience the natural elements of the world without the adverse side effects of pharmaceuticals.
Some of the methods that I recommend for congestion include:
• Adding 1 drop of Lavender essential oil to the humidifier. (Increase each week as tolerated).
• Warm steam humidifiers with 1 drop each of Lemon, Lavender, and Frankincense essential oils.
Essential Oil Safety
• NEVER use essential oils directly on babies without proper dilution from a carrier oil.
• Only use 100% pure essential oils.
• ALWAYS keep essential oils out of reach of children.
• NEVER use essential oils around or in the nose of babies or children.
About the Author:
Jaime Ruiz, A.A.S., B.S., R.H, C.A
Jaime is a Certified Holistic Aromatherapist and a Registered Herbalist. She is an active member of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and with the American Herbalist Guild. She finds inspiration nestled in the foothills and mountainous regions of Colorado.
She is the owner of Healing Charms Botanicals, offering handmade, unique formulations that are designed to evoke a simple feeling of well-being. Jaime is a Master Reiki Practitioner who incorporated energy healing into all her work.
The information provided is for personal information and interest. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment for any condition.
An aromatherapist does not diagnose or treat disease, prescribe drugs or pharmaceuticals, or perform invasive procedures.
The information is intended to educate and empower the community through the safe use of essential oils.