I have always been interested in using essential oils for my own health, wellness and home. I diffuse oils, I wear them to help support my emotions, I even make my own cleaning sprays using essential oils. I certainly use them in my home and I even use them in my work life too! All of my materials are cleaned and sanitized by using essential oils and I spray Lavender around the room before teaching class. I could go on and on about essential oils and all the wonderful benefits they can bring to your life but I want to take the time today to talk about how to use oils specifically in caring for your baby and toddler. I enlisted the help of my essential oil loving sister-in-law, Sara Packard and asked her to write about using oils on babies and children. She gave me so much great information and I hope you enjoy this introduction to essential oils! A little bit about Sara first, Sara is a Mother of a 2.5 year old, Yoga Teacher and Wellness Advocate for doTERRA. She leads weekly yoga and meditation classes online and several classes a week at Lyons Den Power Yoga in NYC. She has been using essential oils exclusively for the last year and is loving how they help support her and her family's emotional and physical well-being.
I think one of the first questions to answer is “what are essential oils”?
I love to refer to them as plant medicine and with that I quite literally mean medicine for the plants from which they are derived. Because plants are living, growing things, much like humans, they require regular health maintenance so that they can grow and thrive. Just like humans, plants have the ability to be overtaken by fungus and disease, and that is where the essential oils come in. They are organic compounds that help to stave off infection and disease in the plants themselves and keep them growing and strong for the length of their life.
Because we humans are also in the pursuit of growing strong, these oils works beautifully in much the same way and our bodies recognize and accept the power of the oils so much more readily than anything that has been made in a laboratory. This mean that our risk of side effects lessons and that our bodies have the opportunity to find and create its own homeostasis. All of this being said, it makes essential oils the ideal thing to use in our homes and with our little ones.
How do we use essential oils for infants and toddlers?
Aromatically. This is usually done by way of a diffuser. Many parents will diffuse oils in the bedroom as baby sleeps or plays, although it can also be done by simply smelling the oil directly from the bottle. One of the favorite ways that we do this in my house, is to put a drop of the oil in our hands and as we hold our hands up to our nose, we take three deep breaths. I love this approach because it teaches our daughter to use both the oil and her breath as a way to help calm down and recalibrate if she needs it. When a baby explores the world around them they are using their senses, here we can use the sense of smell to help them with transitions. During bedtime you may want to use a certain oil or blend, so when baby picks up the scent they know, "Ok, it's time to wind down". Or vice versa, you may want to diffuse an energizing oil/blend during play time.
Topically. This is one of my favorite ways to use oils on our daughter. Because oils can be absorbed so readily through the skin and into our systems, using oils topically can be extremely effective. You can do a full body massage/touch session, or rub oils on bottoms of their feet, chest or back. When it comes to using the oils on our skin, dilution is ALWAYS important! You can use fractionated coconut oil, almond or jojoba oil. This allows for the oils to be absorbed effectively and also prevents the possibility for some irritation, should the oil not agree with your child’s skin. Oils should also never be used around the nose; stick to the areas mentioned above. On babies, we want to use mild oils only, and avoid some of the hotter more powerful oils until they get a little bit older (2 years+).
Mild/Safe for most children:
* Lavender - 3 months+
* Chamomile - 3 months+
* Dill - 3 months+
* Melaleuca (Tea Tree) - 4 months+ Make sure this is properly diluted and watch for topical reaction.
* Wild Orange - 6 months+
* Geranium - 6 months+
* Fir - 6 months+
* Cedarwood - 6 months+, can cause irritation on skin if no diluted properly
* Lemon - 6 months+, safe for diffusion only. Use Orange for topical application instead
* Neroli - 6 months+
* Sandalwood - 6 months+
* Carrot Seed - 6 months+
* Cypress - 6 months+
* Rose - 6 months+
* Basil - 2 years+
* Sage - 2 years+
* Frankincense - 2 years+
* Clove - 2 years+
* Vetiver - 2 years+
* Ylang Ylang - 2 years+
A few more notes on safety when using essential oils: No essential oils should be given orally to babies, toddlers or children. Introduce oils slowly and one at a time. This way you can observe for any reactions. If your baby is going to have reaction it will appear in the first 15-30 minutes after using. It is also not advised to use oils on babies younger than 3 months old, use even more caution with premature babies, avoiding all oils until 3 months after their due date. Once again, all oils should be diluted, even when being diffused. The maximum amount of essential oils to be used with a 3+ month old baby is 1-2 drops of oil per ounce (2 tablespoons) of carrier oil. Babies 6+ months can use 5-6 drops per ounce of carrier oil. Children 2+ years can use 20 drops per ounce of carrier oil. Also note that ALL eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils should be avoided until 10+ years of age, this includes Thieves or OnGuard Blends.
As I mentioned above, essential oils can be used to support both our children’s physical and emotional health. Beginning with the physical, here are some common symptoms and uses as well as recipes for using essential oils with our little ones:
Combine 2 tablespoons almond oil with 1 drop Roman Chamomile, 1 drop Lavender. Mix and apply to stomach and back
Combine 2 1/2 tablespoons of carrier oil with 2 drops melaleuca, 1 drop lemon. Massage on neck and chest and bottoms of feet.
Combine 4 tablespoons of carrier oil with 2 drops Lavender or 2 drops Roman Chamomile along the jawline as often as every 15-30 minutes to soothe.
Combine 2 tablespoons almond oil or fractioned coconut oil with 1 drop lavender or 1 drop melaleuca. Mix and apply small amount on scalp, massage with fingers to help loosen flaky skin.
Combine 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop lavender with fractionated coconut oil and apply directly to bottom. I have also added melaleuca to this blend and it has worked like magic!
Dilute 1 drop lavender in carrier oil and massage baby or child on the back of their neck, feet, behind the ear.
Diffuse 2 drops of cypress, lemon and melaleuca.
Dilute geranium and frankincense in a carrier oil and apply to the liver area and to the liver reflex points on feet.
Apply 1 drop of basil or melaleuca and fractionated coconut oil on a cotton ball and place on the surface of the ear. Avoid the ear canal.
Lights Out blend!
2 drops of vetiver
2 drops of cedar wood
2 drops of patchouli
2 drops of doTERRA Serenity blend
2 drops of ylang ylang
Blend in 10ml roller bottle; fill remainder of bottle with carrier oil and roll on feet and/or along the spine at bedtime
personal note: I have also had great success using the doTERRA Peace blend on my daughter for both naps and bedtime. I am talking out within minutes!
All of these recipes come from the book The Essential Life, which I also HIGHLY recommend purchasing when you begin your journey into oils! And finally, one of my favorite things to talk about when it comes to using essential oils with our children is how they can support and teach them to practice emotional health and wellbeing. One of the first things that was said to me by one of my friends who is an avid essential oil user is that they help to put our emotions out in front of us so that we can take better care of ourselves and figure out what it is that we need in real time. I didn’t quite understand this until I began using these oils with my every evolving, emotional toddler. Anyone who has every witnessed a toddler in action knows that a big part of their journey in that time of life is dealing with very BIG and very real emotions. When I began to take some action with the oils with her, specifically some of the doTERRA emotional aroma touch blends, I noticed a huge shift in how both she and I interpreted those moments. My daughter now knows that when she is frustrated she can reach for the blue or purple bottles of oils (aptly named console and peace), put some in her hands and take three deep breaths. This is a tool that as an adult, I am just now coming to appreciate and utilize. As she grows into herself, my hope is that she will turn to essential oils, not as a way to fix and solve her emotional moments of need, but rather to help her navigate it from a clear minded and thoughtful place.
Scientifically, essential oils actually effect the different areas of our brain that are directly connected to emotions and memories. When we take in the aroma of an oil, we actually light up the part of our brain that helps us to change the initial response of fight or flight. Instead we can intercept that very primal reaction, and create a pathway to choose how we want to respond to any given circumstance. This is a big concept for little ones and so right now we mostly stick with the question "how do you feel right now?", have her name it and then take action
to calm and connect ie use an oil and breathe. Then we move forward in to what action to take next. This is a simple practice that will have a big impact as she grows and evolves into the beautiful human being I know she is and has to navigate even bigger, real life moments. As a mama, a yogi and a believer in empowered health and wellness, essential oils have been a huge benefit and tool in our home. I have made it a part of my mission to help others find this same practice of empowering themselves and their families in their own journeys caring for themselves and each other. I am always available to answer questions, have a one on one or
to come to your home and share what I have learned and am continuing to learn about using essential oils. Feel free to reach out and connect by emailing me at sara@oneOMatatime.com and find me on instagram. May you be happy, healthy and empowered to live your best and most essential life!
Ansley has been teaching Infant Movement classes since 2013, after studying Developmental Movement with Ellynne Skove. Since completing her training Ansley has taught all over the New York, New Jersey, Boston and now Florida. Ansley is certified in Level 1 Reiki and has completed her 200hr YT. She is passionate about empowering, nurturing and providing care to all families as they encounter the demands and joys of parenthood. Through her work she is able to soulfully fulfil her greatest ambition; to care for others.