Essential Oils for Baby: Recipes for Colds, Sleep, Colic, and More

Updated: March 15, 2019
Essential oils have become the latest craze in natural remedies, but are they safe for your baby? We provide an overview to the top safety tips for using essential oils with babies and a list of our favorite blends and remedies for common ailments.

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While essential oils have recently become popular for in-home use, they’ve been used in medicine long before the invention of the diffuser, and many of them might be beneficial for your little one. Whether your baby is teething or having trouble sleeping, there may be an essential oil that can help.

More: 7 Home Remedies to Soothe Cold and Flu Symptoms

Colds

Many of the common vapor and chest rubs on the market contain eucalyptus (eucalyptus radiata) not just for the uplifting scent, but for the benefits! It was found in a 2010 Alternative Medicine Review study that eucalyptol, one of the key compounds in eucalyptus oil, has an antimicrobial effect to ward off illness. Try gently rubbing this blend onto your baby’s throat and chest for some relief.

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Teething

Teething can be a painful time for your infant, but a gentle jawline massage or diffuser blend can help soothe some of the pain associated with teething. Try a blend of chamomile (matricaria chamomilla or chamaemelum nobile) or lavender (lavandula angustifolia) and carrier oil along the jawline, or a few drops each in the diffuser to ease their pain.

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Insomnia

Sleepless nights for your little one usually mean sleepless nights for you, too. Try a calming oil massage with lavender (lavandula angustifolia), mandarin (citrus reticulata) or chamomile (matricaria chamomilla or chamaemelum nobile), or one of these diffuser blends:

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Colic

Colic can cause fussiness for your baby, but chamomile (matricaria chamomilla or chamaemelum nobile) or lavender (lavandula angustifolia) can be effective in reducing the pain they’re experiencing. A 2012 study from the International Journal of Nursing Practice found lavender oil massages useful in reducing the symptoms of colic.

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Congestion

Is your baby a little on the stuffy side? Unclog respiratory congestion with eucalyptus (eucalyptus radiata) for clearer days ahead, or try this diffuser blend of frankincense, lavender and lemon in a large, open room:

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Diaper Rash

Tea tree (melaleuca alternifolia) is a natural antimicrobial that can help soothe diaper rashes when blended with an unscented base oil. Since tea tree is on the stronger side, it should not be used on infants under six months, and should always be patch tested first.

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Bug Bites

Mosquito season? Lavender oil (lavandula angustifolia) can help relieve itchiness from insect bites when topically applied with a carrier oil. Perfect to keep in mind for parents, too!

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Which Essential Oils Are Safe For My Baby?

Since the options available today are plentiful, make sure that the oils you’re purchasing are pure and authentic, without any alcohol or synthetic fragrances which can be irritating to you or your baby, and don’t carry any health benefits.

Not sure which essential oils to buy?

We recommend the doTERRA Family Essential Kit. With over ten essential oils included, it gives you the best bang for your buck and will last a long time. Get it here.

If you're not quite ready to dive into the world of essential oils, we recommend the starter kit. Get it here.

Application and Safety Tips

When creating an essential oil blend, generally 0.5% essential oil to carrier oil, perform a patch test on your baby’s leg or arm to ensure it won’t irritate them. Below is a general guide to keep handy when diluting your blends at home:

And remember, essential oils are safe to inhale, not ingest, so be careful to prevent accidental ingestion, and never apply them directly to the skin without a carrier oil. Diffusing any of these blends or single oils can help safely fragrance your home, but make sure it’s one that’s safe for your pets to be around, too! As always, consult with your pediatrician should you have questions about the way a certain oil or blend could interact with your baby’s medication or medical conditions.

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