Essential Oils for Colic Baby: Do they help?

Essential oils have been recorded as one of the very effective products to use when taking care of colic babies. 

In this article, we shall give you an overview of Aromatherapy, what are Essential Oils, the various types of Essential oils and how they help a colic baby.

Taking care of a colic baby has over the years been a major pain in the neck for many nursing mothers, child care providers, older siblings and even some dads.

essential oils for colic baby

The child just keeps on crying and crying unconsolably and all imaginable efforts to mitigate the fussy cry proves abortive.

That’s really a lot to face I know, but the good news is that there are many new ways to know if your child’s cry is due to something other than colic – and ways to effectively calm the colic baby. 

In my article “Does my baby have colic?Take this quiz”, I have  extensively discussed what colic in babies is or is not, how do you identify a colic baby and what different things to do if you have a colic baby.

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

These are extracts derived from the different parts of plants.

essential oils

They  have a sweet smelling fragrance (Aroma) and are not produced endogenously in the body, hence the name ‘Essential’.

WHAT IS AROMATHERAPY?

Aromatherapy, as it is medically called, is therefore the medical use of essential oils (Aroma) to enhance a state of complete physical, mental, emotional and social well-being (therapy).

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR COLIC BABIES

essential oils

Some examples of such essential oils include:

  • Mandarin
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Dill
  • Camomile

In this article I’ll be discussing in detail the essential oils for use in colic babies

N/B: As useful and effective as essential oils may be, they must not be used on babies younger than 3 months old as they are very potent and may cause respiratory and/or cardiovascular arrest amongst a variety of skin lesions.

MANDARIN ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name:

Description:

  • Has a very sweet smell, arguably the sweetest aroma of all essential oils and tends to be less stimulating.
  • It has a greenish-orange color.

How it helps in colic:

  • It has a calming and soothing effect on babies.
  • It maintains the softness of the baby skin as it prevents the skin from getting dry.
  • Babies are pleased when their senses of smell pick up pleasurable aroma, thus the sweet-smelling fragrance of mandarin essential oil helps calm the colic baby.
  • It therefore is preferred to lavender in babies who are irritated by the scent of Lavender.

Uses:

  • Apply gently on the skin during daytime colic cry, because it is not phototoxic, or in the evening before bed because of its role in enhancing healthy sleep in insomnia resulting from colic in babies.

EUCALYPTUS ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name: 

  • There are several species of eucalyptus oil products which are differentiated by their generic botanical names. Of these, Eucalyptus globulus essential oil is the most commonly used but the safer variant for use in babies is Eucalyptus radiata, owing to its significant role in the respiratory system.

Description:

  • It is a transparent oil with a fresh woody or earthy bright medicinal aroma. 
  • It is stored in amber-colored bottle because of its photosensitive properties.

How it helps in colic:

  • Eucalyptus radiata essential oil helps maintain gaseous exchange and oxygenation in the airway of colic babies. 
  • The intense cry of colic babies can lead to aspiration (regurgitation of food into the lungs) of gastric contents into the airway and this can cause intense irritation and lung infection.
  • The antibacterial effect of Eucalyptus radiata essential oil  helps to ward off bacterial infection which can cause laryngeal edema and thus obstruct the airway.
  • This way, oxygen supply by the lungs is maintained and organ damage prevented in colic babies.

Usage:

  • To use the Eucalyptus radiata essential oil on babies, make a 1% dilution with a carrier oil.
  • Apply 1-2 drops on a clean dry palm, spread through the palms and gently massage around the skin of the neck of the baby.

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name: 

  • Lavandula angustifolia

Description:

  • It is a colorless oil stored in amber or clear bottles.
  • It is derived from the leaves of the 
  • The smell is not as sweet as the Mandarin essential oil

How it helps in colic:

  • It has calming and sedative properties which helps make the colic baby  calm and less stressed out. 
  • It promotes sleep and when properly diluted, it’s amongst the safest of essential oils.

Usage:

  • Lavender oil can be used as a topical or inhalational agent
  • When used as an inhalational agent, you should ensure it is adequately diluted in a carrier oil by adding 3 – 5 drops of carrier oil like olive oil into a teaspoon of lavender oil and properly mixed and applied gently to the skin of the colic baby.

TEA TREE ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name:

  • Melaleuca alternifolia

Description

  • It is a faint yellow oil with a fresh woody, earthy and medicinal smell.
  • It is extracted from the Tea tree by steam distillation of the leaves.

How it helps in colic:

  • Tea tree oil helps against skin itches and maintains an oily and smooth skin. 
  • It plays an important role in cooling the skin in colic babies who may run a  fever from intense muscular contraction during cry.
  • Some schools of thought believe it helps against sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) which may result from any form of upper respiratory tract infection.

Usage:

  • Like other essential oils, Tea tree essential oil can be used topically and must be diluted with an appropriate carrier oil. Please note that it is extremely dangerous to apply undiluted essential oils on the skin of babies as they are usually concentrated and thus can result in severe hypersensitivity reactions and skin burns.
  • For topical use in children, only use a 1% dilution with carrier oils like grape seed oil, olive oil or sunflower oil.
  • It is also used as inhalational agent for sinusitis. To do this, wash and dry your palms then put just a drop of tea tree essential oil on a palm and  gently spread it over the palm. Place the palm a safe distance from the baby’s nose just enough to get the aroma inhaled and take the palm off. 
  • This will help with any airway infection and sinusitis.

CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name:

  • Matricaria chamomilla or Chamaemelum nobile

Description

  • The German Chamomile essential oil is a characteristic dark blue oil derived  from the steam distillation of the flowers and buds of the chamomile species Matricaria recutita or Matricaria chamomilla.
  • It is comprised of 60-70% Sesquiterpenes and 10-15% Oxides. 
  • The Roman Chamomile Oil, on the other hand, is clear to pale blue in colour and comprises approximately 75% Esters and 10% Monoterpenols.

How it helps in Colic:

  • Both the German and Roman chamomile have great benefits in helping colic babies who have trouble sleeping. 
  • It blends well with other essential oils like lavender and can be used to relieve colic symptoms and reduce anxiety and stress on the colic child and can uplift a fussy baby’s spirits.

DILL SEED ESSENTIAL OIL:

Botanical name:

Anethum sowa

Description:

  • It is a clear colored oil with mild perfumery aroma
  • Dill seed essential oil has a slightly earthy, fresh, sweet, herbaceous aroma that blends well with essential oils in the citrus, spice, wood and herbaceous families.
  • It is derived by steam distillation of the seeds of the dill plant.

How it helps in colic:

It serves as antispasmodic avoiding antiperistalsis in the colic baby.

Usage:

When used for colic babies,  dilute the dill in a ratio of 1 drop per teaspoon of carrier oil, mix gently and carefully, and massage the mixture onto a baby’s skin while avoiding contact with the eyes and inside the mouth.

GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

As you are about to explore the numerous biological and physical benefits of the essential oils in managing a colic baby, it is important to note a couple of important general safety precautions:

  1. Essential oils should never  be administered to babies younger than 3 months old. This is because of the immaturity of their cardiorespiratory organs which are important ass these products are potent inhalational agents.
  2. Never administer essential oils orally to a colic baby. This can cause digestive tract ulceration and thus worsen rather than mitigate the health state of the colic baby.
  3. Do not use other forms of invasive administration like intravenous routes or per rectum. This is highly fatal and can cause instant complications.
  4. Only administer essential oils after dilution with an appropriate carrier oil to avoid skin hypersensitivity reactions and/or burns.
  5.   Colic babies with comorbidities like liver or renal insufficiencies should not be subject to administration of essential oils.
  6. If you are not sure of the dilution and/or administration of essential oils, consult an expert or administer only under special supervision by an expert.
  7. Finally, if you observe any adverse reaction on your baby after the use of any essential oil, please consult your Pediatrician immediately for expert management.

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Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics

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