Essential oils pack amazing benefits into a tiny bottle. They can do so many amazing things and are generally safe for most people. However, there is so much misinformation out there on what’s safe and wasn’t isn’t safe. Fortunately, there are a lot of great resources out there to help your decision on which essential oils are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and child safe essential oils.
The following article is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your health care provider before starting a new homeopathic routine or for specific health advice. For more informatio, see my full disclaimer.
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A quick note on purity…
Yes, some essential oil companies produce inferior oils that are cut with other additives, but there are a lot that don’t. And just because a particular company makes pure, unadulterated oils, doesn’t mean its safe for every age and stage. More pure = more potent, which means some oils may not be recommended at a particular age, no matter how pure it is.
Child Safe Essential Oils
During pregnancy, many parents to be start seeking out ways to use less harmful chemicals in there household. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding what oils are and aren’t safe during pregnancy. The following oils are generally considered safe to use during pregnancy at around a 1-2% dilution ration (more for stronger oils).
- Black Pepper
- Blue Tansy
- Citrus Oils (Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Neroli, Lime)
- Chamomile (Both German and Roman)
- Clary Sage (Recommended for use at the end of pregnancy only as it may cause uterine contractions – makes for a great massage oil for labor)
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
Currently, there is no evidence showing that essential oils enter into the breastmilk, however there is evidence showing that food and some medications cross into breast milk in a diluted form, so some women may want to exercise extra caution – particularly if they themselves or their babies have health concerns or allergies.
Application on the nipple is not recommended. Make sure to properly dilute essential oils before application, and wash off any oils that may come in contact with baby, particularly newborns.
Most oils that are generally safe are also safe for use while breastfeeding.
Some women, some, not all notice a decrease in breast milk supply while using the following oils, so use with caution.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa)
- Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
No essential oils should be used at birth on the baby or during the first 6 months of life. Babies have thinner skin, and their developing immune system is still adjusting to life earth side. For this reason, I suggest avoiding essential oils, even for umbilical cord stump care. Child safe herbs and hydrosols are a safer choice on an as needed basis.
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6 Months – 2 Years
At six months, you can start diffusing child safe essential oils. Child safe oils can be used topically to treat the occaisional problem, but exposure should not be daily. Oils must be heavily diluted (.25% dilution or more) for sensitive skin. Hydrosols or herbs may be a better choice at this age.
- Black Pepper
- Blue Tansy
- Citrus Oils (Such as Bergamot, Lemon, Sweet Orange, Mandarin, Neroli & Tangerine)
- Clary Sage
- German Chamomile
- Juniper Berry
- Marjoram (Sweet)
- Roman Chamomile
- Siberian Fir Needle
- Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
Herbs and hydrosols may still be a better option at this age. If using essential oils, make sure to use proper dilution ratios of .25% or more for stronger oils..
The above list plus…
- Cassia (Dilution greater than .25% recommended)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa)
The immune system is much more developed at this point, although you will still want to heavily dilute (1% or more) for sensitive skin.
The above list, plus:
- Sage (diluted <1%)
Dilution ratio recommended 1-2%. The above list, plus:
Essential Oils are a great way to improve health and wellness, but they are very powerful and very potent. Caution should be used when using around developmentally vulnerable periods, such as pregnant women and children. However, with proper knowledge and precautions they can be used safely.
As always, make sure to consult your or your child’s doctor before beginning any homeopathic remedies.
Want more information? See the following books Modern Essentials: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils 9th Edition and Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals.