Essential Oils For Babies

When it comes to Aromatherapy and babies a lot of the information available varies. Some sources say certain essential oils can be used pretty much from day one, while others suggest waiting until the child is at least 6-months old before using any oils at all. How to apply them also seems to cause debate and of course the list of essential oils acceptable for babies also differs slightly depending on what you read. It’s frustrating and confusing especially for new parents. So, what information can you trust if you want to introduce your baby to the benefits of essential oils?

Fortunately there are a few hard and fast rules when it comes to babies and Aromatherapy. Essential oils must never be used undiluted on a baby’s skin and there are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. Even when creating a massage, bath or aroma-burner blend for your baby it’s important to dilute the oils more than you would for yourself. People often make the assumption that because Aromatherapy is natural, it’s gentle. However it is an extremely powerful treatment that has a profound effect on body, mind and spirit. Babies and young children are highly susceptible to the effects of these oils especially as their bodies are still developing. A good rule of thumb is to add 1-drop of essential oil to no less than 30 ml of carrier oil for babies between 6 and 18 months old. If using an Aromatherapy burner to fragrance your baby’s room, add no more than 1-drop of essential oil to the water. Avoid using oil in the bath. Instead use 1-drop of essential oil to 2-Tablespoons full fat or semi-skimmed milk, or 2 Tablespoons fragrance free body wash or shampoo.


Photo credit: Takashi Hososhima @ flickr

Lavender and roman chamomile are regarded as the two safest essential oils to use with babies and children. Both are wonderful oils that promote deep, restful sleep and can help soothe even the most fractious baby. The balancing and comforting properties of lavender make it the ideal choice when it comes to helping babies feel settled. Use 1-drop in an aroma-burner or alternatively you can add 1-2 drops to a tissue and keep it nearby while you feed your little one. They will associate the smell of lavender with love and contentment. A blend of 1-drop lavender and 1-drop roman chamomile in 60 ml of carrier oil gently massaged into the tummy or lower back can help ease colic. While 1-drop roman chamomile in 30 ml carrier oil can be rubbed around the ear, not inside it, to help with the discomfort of earache that many babies suffer from while teething. If your baby is prone to nappy rash 1-drop of roman chamomile, in either milk or body wash, added to a warm bath can help the skin heal more quickly.


Massage is one of the loveliest ways to bond with your child. However, be careful not to get any of the massage blend on your child’s face, hands or feet. Not only do babies love to put their fingers and toes in their mouths, they are also prone to rubbing their eyes. Essential oils, even when diluted, can seriously irritate the eyes and sensitive skin inside the mouth, and may even harm the lining of the stomach if accidentally ingested. For your blend consider using a carrier oil such as grapeseed, which is light and easily absorbed. It’s best to stay away from nut-based oils in the beginning, especially if there is a history of nut allergies in the family.


Photo credit: Dennis Wong @ flickr

Occasionally you may come across the suggestion of placing a drop of lavender on baby’s bedding or clothing to help them sleep, but this can be quite dangerous. The oils are strong and if your baby rolls over onto where the drop has been placed they may not be able to roll off again, potentially casing physical harm and emotional distress. Scenting your baby’s room with a spray is a safe way to create a calm, tranquil environment. As the blend is not intended to come into contact with skin it’s okay to use slightly more essential oil. In this case it would be a great opportunity to blend the lavender and chamomile together. Add 2-drops lavender and 2-drops roman chamomile to 30 ml of distilled water and shake every time you use it to disperse the oils. Ideally use about 10 minutes before bringing your baby into the room making sure not to spray their bedding.

As your child gets older other essential oils such as tangerine, orange, benzoin and rose can be incorporated into your blends, but when it comes to babies under the age of 18 months it is best to keep things simple.