With the cautious use of essential oils, you can use aromatherapy for babies as part of caring for your infant in a natural, healthy way.
First, follow some basic safety guidelines:
For tips for older children, see Using Essential Oils With Kids.
You can use essential oils in a diffuser to purify the air in a nursery and calm and relax your infant. Lavender, geranium, and Roman chamomile work well.
Another option is to dilute about 10 drops of an essential oil in a bottle of distilled water and mist the nursery, making sure the mist doesn't fall onto your baby.
Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby by Allison England, who specializes in working with mothers and children, recommends the following:
Sniffles: Add 2 to 4 drops of either lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, or tea tree essential oil to a diffuser.
Constipation: Dilute 1 to 2 drops lavender in 1 tablespoon whole milk or carrier oil. Stir the blend into a warm bath for your child. Or give your child a gentle tummy and lower back massage using 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop mandarin diluted in 1 tablespoon carrier oil. Massage in a circular clockwise direction.
Diaper rash cream: To 2 ounces (50 grams or 4 tablespoons) of non-perfumed cream that doesn't contain lanolin, add 2 drops German chamomile and 2 drops lavender. (If your healthcare provider thinks the cause of the rash is fungus, use 4 drops of tea tree oil instead.)
For a calming bath: Add 1 to 2 drops Roman chamomile to 1 tablespoon whole milk. Stir into bath water. Never drop essential oil directly into the water to avoid irritating your baby's skin.
For a colic baby massage oil, add 1 drop of either tangerine, mandarin, or Roman chamomile oil to 2-1/2 tablespoons carrier oil. Gently massage the baby's tummy and lower back.
Another suggestion for colic from The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils is to rub the following blend on your baby's abdomen, low back, and bottoms of feet, as needed. If the blend might get onto your baby's hands and into eyes, apply it only to the low back and feet.
Also see Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood, which gives you more than 300 essential oil blends safe for children, or Aromatherapy For Babies And Children by aromatherapist Shirley Price.
Photo Credit: Sami Keinänen/Flickr/CC