Are you a parent that is desperate for a good night’s sleep? Are you searching for ways to help your baby sleep better and longer throughout the night?
With the rising popularity of people returning to natural remedies, you may be wondering if there is a solution to your baby’s sleep problems within the world of essential oils.
We are here to help, to give you a peek into the world of essential oils.
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How Essential Oils Work
Essential oils are transdermal, which means they penetrate the skin when applied topically. This allows the chemical properties of the oils to enter the bloodstream and begin to work quickly.
Especially when they are applied to pulse points and areas that have been massaged first, due to increased blood flow in these areas. It also means that you receive the same benefits whether they are used topically, aromatically, or internally.
When essential oils are inhaled, rather than applied via massage, your olfactory (smell) system kicks into gear, and the nerves pick up signals to send to the brain.
This then allows the chemical properties of the oils inhaled to be carried to the lungs and respiratory system, as well as through the limbic system (or, “emotional brain”), which affects blood pressure, heart rate, and hormone balance.
Essential oils are generally very safe to use, but there are still certain precautions that need to be taken:
When inhaled, essential oils produce little to no side effects. However, for pregnant and nursing women, certain oils can produce ill side effects, such as premature contractions or low milk supply.
Otherwise, regular diffusion, even in a closed off room, will not reach a level of toxicity.
When applied topically, it is important to be aware of any allergies that may exist, as certain oils can be irritating to the skin.
It is recommended to dilute pure oils with a carrier oil before applying topically.
Certain oils can affect the liver or kidneys when processed, or they may cause gastric distress. Internal use can also produce negative side effects when they are used in conjunction with certain prescribed medications.
What the Experts Say
For a more detailed look at the risks associated with using oils check out the video below.
Remember that less than 2% of the population will be vulnerable to an adverse reaction to essential oils. So while the risks are low it is important to be aware of how to use these products as safely as possible.
Dr Johnson also suggests some useful home remedies as an alternative to essential oils.
Note: Skip ahead to the 4 minute mark for the details on safe use of these oils with infants. The first few minutes are mostly about Dr Johnson's book.
Methods for Application
There are three main options for you to choose from when using essential oils as a sleep aid.
Keep in mind that if you have been using essential oils for yourself already, you will need to cut back on the dosage that you use for your baby.
A relaxing massage between you and your baby can be a great bonding opportunity as well as an ideal addition to your bedtime routine to help your little one sleep better.
The massaging motion is relaxing and the properties of the oils result in better sleep for you and your baby.
Start by combining 2-3 drops of your choice of essential oil or blend with, what is known as, a carrier oil. This is a neutral oil, typically coconut, almond, or jojoba, that dilutes the essential oil, making it more suitable for topical massage.
If you wish to do a full body massage for your baby, start with the legs, working from the thighs to the toes in a milking motion, and then repeating the same on the arms, from the shoulders to the fingers.
Then work your hands in a gentle circular motion on your baby’s chest and stomach, and finish with the back.
Baby Massage Technique
Here are some basic tips for how to get your technique to a point that is most beneficial for your baby.
If you can get your timing right too then all the better, but i am not sure if my little one has ever been as still and patient as the baby used in the demonstration. So don't be too concerned if it is not so easy.
Investing in a diffuser for your baby’s room is also a great way to use essential oils as a sleep aid. Unlike with topical use, there is no need to dilute the oils. In fact, using a carrier oil in your diffuse may clog it.
To diffuse essential oils for sleep, fill your diffuser with water, according to the directions, and simply add a couple of drops of your choice oil or blend.
You can then either let the diffuser run throughout the night, allowing it to use the water up, or, if your diffuser comes equipped with a built-in timer, you can set it to run for 10-20 minutes to help your baby get to sleep easier.
If you do not have a diffuser, you can use bedding or stuffed animals your little one may sleep with (only if they are older, of course, as young babies should not sleep with anything soft and loose in their cribs). Just apply 1-2 drops of your choice of essential oil directly to your baby’s favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal, and that should do the trick.
Best Essential Oil Diffuser
The Urpower Diffuser is great value for money and includes a number of small features that will make your life much easier in the long run.
It includes a measuring cup, which is a small feature but can save you a lot of hassle going between the kitchen sink and where your diffuser lives.
The LED lights look awesome and can morph into a bunch of different colors, and can also be turned off if you want darkness.
You will also get a warning sound when water levels get low. Another very handy feature that will save you having to go back and forth to check the levels.
Just like with diffusing, there is no need to dilute the oils, but if you wish to add it to a, unscented bath soap or bubble bath, you may do so.
Just a couple of drops are enough to reap the benefits that the oils have to offer.
Best Essential Oils for Baby Sleep
We do not make a recommendation for what is Best here due to the fact that smell is such a subjective judgment.
What we have done is sought through the scents that are most conducive to baby sleep and searched for a reputable option for each of type of oil based on the following:
- High concentration (therapeutic grade)
- Organic ingredients
- Brand reputation
- Long history of customer feedback
There is not a lot else to comment on because.... Hey, it's oil.
Baby Friendly Essential Oils
This flowering plant has been used for many centuries, from the Ancient Egyptians to the Romans.
It is highly versatile, and is a popular choice for many skincare products, including soaps and moisturizers.
Lavender belongs to a chemical group known as esters, which are known for their calming properties.
With its calming and soothing properties, lavender is usually the go-to oil when it comes to sleep troubles, and this oil is highly versatile, thanks to its ability to be used internally, topically, or aromatically.
Known for its herbaceous qualities, marjoram has been used for many years to add some flavor to cooking dishes.
It belongs to the lamiaceae family, which contains many of your favorite herbs, including basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
What is less commonly known about marjoram is its ability to calm the nerves and reduce muscle tension, which can promote better sleep.
While diffusing this oil has its benefits, the recommended method of use is topical massage.
Chamomile has been used for many years to combat sleep issues and calm the body in preparation for sleep.
The plant has white, daisy-like flowers and gives off a sweet, apple-like scent.
In its dried form, this herb is often used in teas, and its oil form can also be ingested as well as inhaled or used topically.
The chemical makeup the oil can calm and soothe the skin when applied topically, making it a great choice for massage at bedtime.
Originating from Reggio di Calabria, Italy, the bergamot fruit is a bitter citrus fruit that, when the rind is cold pressed, produces a sweet oil.
Unlike most citrus oils, which can be invigorating, the bergamot oil has surprisingly calming qualities.
This oil is frequently used in massage therapy due to its uplifting and refreshing abilities. However, it is also effective when diffused, which can calm your baby and help her relax at bedtime.
Extracted through steam distillation from the wood of 40-80 year old Indian sandalwood trees.
The sandalwood essential oil boasts a sweet, woody aroma that has been used for centuries for its numerous health and beauty benefits.
Sandalwood has an interesting chemical component -- santalol -- which has been found to have “grounding” effects. This makes it a great choice for diffusion at bedtime, as it will promote relaxation and reduce stress.
While essential oils may not be the miracle answer to end all of your baby’s sleep problems, research and studies have shown that they can be effective and produce positive results in the quality of your baby’s sleep.
Try diffusing some of these oils in your baby’s room and let us know in the comments below if you saw a difference in her sleep.
Questions? Concerns? Share those with us as well. And share this article with other parents who may be desperate for better sleep, just like you.