Have you thought about trying aromatherapy with baby? If your baby is old enough, you’ve done your research and use the correct oils it can be a wonderful way to spend quality time together.
Aromatherapy is defined as:
The use of fragrances to affect or alter a person’s mood or behavior.
Its benefits for adults are well documented. Aromatherapy can help reduce stress, boost energy levels, strengthen the immune system and improve sleep. Which has to be a good thing, right?
In recent years it’s gained momentum as a therapy to use with babies.
At Naturally Learning we use aromatherapy in our nurseries every day. You won’t find harsh chemicals or industrial cleaning products in any of our settings. Instead we use a blend of essential oils to create a soothing and pleasant environment for the children and the staff.
But before you reach for the lavender and start using aromatherapy at home with your little one, you need to know you’re doing it right – essential oils can be strong and you should take care when using them with young children.
Follow our checklist to get started.
1. Only use on babies over 3 months old
Wait until your baby is at least 3 months old before using aromatherapy. Essential oils can cause irritation and your tiny baby already has a lot going on in those early weeks as they adjust to the world around them outside of the womb.
In those first few months at home with your new baby, you may want to use calming lavender oil yourself to help reduce stress and manage tiredness.
Simply dab a few drops on the soles of your feet or behind your ears before you go to bed and enjoy the calming benefits throughout the night (even during the night feeds!).
2. Use an appropriate carrier oil for your massage oil
Once your baby is a little older you can begin to introduce them to the benefits of essential oils.
Remember they can cause irritation if used directly on the skin, so we recommend you use a carrier oil to dilute the liquid prior to using on baby’s delicate skin.
You can purchase olive oil or sunflower oil from your local supermarket or health food store to use as your base oil.
3. Choose the appropriate essential oil
Once you have your base (or carrier) oil, you can create a blended oil to use on your baby, perhaps giving them a gentle massage.
Essential oils, derived from plants and herbs, have been used for thousands of years. There are hundreds to choose from!
We love lavender so try blending 30ml of olive oil with one drop of lavender oil to create a suitable massage oil.
4. Give baby a gentle massage
The benefits of baby massage are well-known. It’s relaxing, it reaffirms your bond as a new parent and it improves confidence in handling your baby. It’s also incredibly soothing for both of you.
Once you have prepared your massage oil, you’re ready to try a gentle massage. Choose a time when baby is alert and contented – not when they’re tired or hungry – and settle baby tummy-down on a towel.
Rub a little oil between your hands and you’re ready. Take a look at the NCT Guide to baby massage for full instructions on where to start and factors to consider.
5. Use aromatherapy throughout your home
Giving your baby regular massages is an enjoyable experience for both of you. The essential oils help with relaxation, and they may become a regular part of your bedtime routine.
But why stop there? We use aromatherapy throughout the Naturally Learning nurseries to benefit everyone who spends time there.
Create your own calming room diffuser by placing a bowl of steaming hot water in your baby’s room. Take care to place the bowl out of reach and in a safe place. Add a couple of drops of essential lavender oil to the water and let the scented steam gently diffuse throughout the room.
Bites and stings
Lavender can be used to soothe minor burns, insect bites and stings. Keep a bottle in the cupboard and dab a little on the affected area to reduce swelling and calm irritation.
Peppermint oil is amazing. It improves your mental sharpness but can also relieve tension headaches and ease congestion. Rub a tiny bit on your temples next time you have a headache and enjoy the soothing effects.
Freshen your bathroom by placing cotton wool balls strategically around the room. Add a couple of drops of scented oils to each. Lemon and grapefruit add a delicious fruity aroma that is natural and refreshing.
PS You may also want to use natural oils when changing baby’s nappy. Simply add two drops of chamomile and one drop of lavender oil to a pint of warm water and mix well. Store the mixture close to your baby’s changing area and pour onto cotton wool before wiping baby’s bottom.