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  • Read This First if You've Been Thinking About Essential Oils for Your Baby

    There are several considerations to think about first before exposing your baby to essential oils.
    by Kate Borbon .
Read This First if You've Been Thinking About Essential Oils for Your Baby
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  • In recent years, aromatherapy, which involves using essential oils, has been gaining a lot of popularity because people who use it swear by its ability to ease headaches and tummy troubles, and improve sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety. Moms (and dads) have a lot to gain from making use of essential oils at home. The question is can you use it for your kids specifically babies?

    According to BabyCentre, a baby develops his sense of smell as early as his seventh week in the womb. As he develops, he becomes familiar with the smell of his mother’s amniotic fluid, which he breathes and swallows. By the time he is born, his sense of smell is already acute. He will recognize your scent and even the difference between the scent of your breast milk and another mother’s.

    The right time to use essential oils on your baby

    Though your little one’s sense of smell is likely already quite sharp, experts say that parents should not use essential oils around babies until they are more than 3 months old. We don't recommend applying it to the skin unless your pediatrician gives you a go signal. Do not apply on newborn skin, which will be more sensitive and may result in unfavorable reactions. You can try using essential oils first with a diffuser.

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    In a previous article, Jane Sarmiento, M.D., a mom, essential oil user and a doctor, says if you're unsure or uncomfortable using aromatherapy, then don't. "A big concern that I see with the use of any substance on babies and toddlers is [babies] are unable to communicate any discomfort especially if the causes of this discomfort do not manifest in obvious ways. Who knows if they experience headaches or nasal stuffiness while inhaling certain aromatherapy products? They would cry but we can easily misinterpret it as hunger or as a need to change a dirty diaper."

    Dr. Sarmiento quotes Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a California-based dermatologist, “There is definitely a credible science behind certain benefits for certain essential oils. But you have to choose wisely, and you cannot use them indiscriminately.”

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    Do not use undiluted essential oils on your baby 

    Proper measures need to be taken to reap the benefits of aromatherapy correctly. Along with your doctor's go signal, essential oils should never be applied to a baby’s skin “neat” or undiluted because it can cause allergic reactions that may potentially be life-threatening for a child, according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

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    NAHA recommends parents utilize a dilution rate of 0.5 to 1 percent for babies who are over 3 months old. To dilute your essential oil properly, you can mix 1 to 2 drops of essential oil with 1 to 3 teaspoons of a carrier oil such as coconut oil or vegetable oil. Carrier oil is mixed with the essential oil to dilute it, and it can serve as protection to the skin against direct contact with the essential oil.

    Keep essential oils out of kids' reach from to prevent possibility of ingestion.

    Aside from working through the sense of smell, essential oils are also used as ingredients in products such as lotions, body creams, and diffusers, so that they can be absorbed into the skin. Medical News Today writes that though oils or creams are unnecessary when giving babies massages, these products may still cause children to reap the advantages of aromatherapy.

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    How to properly apply aromatherapy at home

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    There are numerous different ways to apply aromatherapy at home. You may spritz it around his room before nap- or bedtime or use a water-based vaporizer to spread the scent throughout your whole home.

    If you decide to use essential oils to give your little one a massage, don’t forget to also execute a quick patch test on your child to make sure he is not allergic to the essential oil you intend to use. After mixing the essential oil with carrier oil thoroughly, apply it onto your baby’s leg or arm, and within the 24 hours that follow, observe if he exhibits any kind of allergic reaction. If he doesn’t, it is likely that he is not allergic to that essential oil.

    If you choose to spritz, don’t spray the mixture into your child’s pillow, so that he doesn’t accidentally ingest it. Finally, if you plan on using a vaporizer, test a small amount of the diluted oil for an hour first, to make sure that your baby is not allergic to it.

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    If you're pregnant, here are 9 essential oil mixes that can bring relief to pregnancy's uncomfortable symptoms.

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