When my daughter was younger, anything–I mean, anything–could wake her up. My firstborn was a pretty good sleeper. We did the whole sleep training thing and she slept 8 hours a night by 8 weeks.
My second daughter? No. I did it all. Sleep training, magnesium cream, sound machines, sleep routines…I’ve even put aluminum foil over my windows to ensure that not a ray of sunlight peeks into my dragon baby’s nursery. By 8 months, she didn’t sleep bad, but she certainly didn’t sleep like my firstborn.
6 am, bright and early, she rose like the sun.
Some babies are just like that. They just need a little extra help falling asleep and staying asleep. That is where essential oils can be helpful.
In this post, we’re going to talk about two of my favorite topics: infant sleep and essential oils. We’re going to take a look at the best essential oils to help baby sleep! We’re also going to (briefly) discuss the safety, science, and best practices for using essential oils to help kids sleep.
Below you’ll notice quite the list of oils. If you use one essential oil on one baby, it’ll work. Use it on another, and it might be completely ineffective. So, we’re going over a selection of the best essential oils for baby sleep. That way, if your little one doesn’t seem to appreciate the scent of one, you’ll have a trove of other oils to check out.
I have personally used essential oils to help combat night terrors and frequent wakings. I can’t sing enough praises!
The final thing before we start, I sincerely caution you to check out the essential oil baby safety section of this post.
Please understand that using essential oils on infants for sleep or at all is somewhat controversial. There’s not a lot of official research in this area and many pediatricians don’t agree with each other on EO use. There’s just a lot of variables here.
Babies will react differently to the same essential oil. Every essential oil manufacturer makes their oils differently.
Always do your due diligence before using essential oils and err on the side of caution.
RELATED POST TO ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP BABY SLEEP:
- The Best Essential Oils for Your Baby’s Cold Symptoms
- How to Help an Overtired Baby Sleep
- How to Help Your Baby Sleep when She Has Teething Pain
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. I only recommend what I trust. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or advise medical conditions.
Can Essential Oils Help Baby Sleep?
Some research does seem to indicate that select essential oils can help infants sleep and relieve colic symptoms.
However, most essential oils aren’t used as sedatives. Oils can ease stomach aches, reduce cortisol levels, decrease inflammation, and promote relaxation. So, we are using oils to relax your child and ease some of the symptoms that may be keeping him awake.
Essential oils aren’t a substitute for a healthy sleep routine and sleep environment. I like to use oils when my little ones are suffering from from overtiredness, or ear aches, or stomach pains, teething pains…whatever.
For example, I have noticed that when I use lavender essential oil, I stay asleep and dream less during the night. But it’s up to me to turn off the light and fall asleep.
If your baby consistently won’t sleep, I highly recommend checking out the Taking Cara Babies sleep courses. I took this course for my second daughter (a dragon baby) and LOVED it!
Now, last thing: In this section, we’re talking about essential oils to help babies sleep between the ages of 6 months and 24 months. The list of essential oils safe for babies 3 months and older is very, very short.
I always recommend you talk to your pediatrician before using essential oils. I’m still a chic on the internet! Your pediatrician knows your child’s specific story and possesses a wealth of professional knowledge you will want to take advantage of.
Best Essential Oils for Baby Sleep
This is the top essential oil for baby sleep, hailed by moms and researchers alike. One study in 2012 found lavender essential oil as effective for treating the symptoms of colic. Personally, many providers have recommended lavender when my children suffer from spotty sleep, teething pains, and ear infections.
Lavender contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Studies have showed that it can be used to improve depression symptoms and relieve insomnia.
It’s also one of the only essential oils safe for newborns (3 months and older). Having said that, you should dilute the heck out of lavender essential oil when you’re applying directly to your little one’s skin. 1 drop for every 8 drops of carrier oil.
If you’d prefer to diffuse lavender, add about 4 drops to your diffuser.
This blend smells sooooooo good. Smelling it makes me want to curl up on my couch with my favorite book until I nod off.
The Sleepy Blend is a mix of Lavender, Bergamot, Howood, and Grapefruit. If you’re not a huge fan of lavender but you’d love to take advantage of its sedative properties, this blend is perfect for you. All of these oils are known for their mood-boosting, insomnia-busting properties, but the blend only has a slight lavender scent.
The downside, I wouldn’t recommend using this to massage your baby. Grapefruit is possibly phototoxic. So, you might want to put it in your diffuser instead.
Once again, we’re going to take it easy. Add about 4 drops to your diffuser.
Not so hot on lavender? Try out mandarin essential oil.
This is probably my second favorite oil! Like most citruses, mandarin oil is great for the digestive system and relaxation. Unlike most citruses, mandarin is not considered phototoxic.
So, you’ve got a citrus-y and uplifting oil without the sensitive side-effects. I love how sweet it is compared to orange essential oil. Like candy. Mmm.
Studies have been conducted on mandarin oil to confirm its assistance with pain management as well. Perfect for colic babies.
If your baby suffers from spotty sleep and/or colic, this might be a good one to try.
Grapefruit essential oil smells fantastic and it’s great for relieving tummy aches. Essential oil users tend to use it for sleep and relaxation, or an afternoon mood boost. Grapefruit essential oil contains a compound called limonene. Limonene has anti-cancer properties and is linked with reduction in anxiety.
The second essential oil that is thought to be safe for newborns (once again, 3 months and older). Chamomile offers a host of benefits, such as reduction of inflammation and reduction of cortisol (the stress hormone). There aren’t a ton of studies on human subjects, but animal studies have found that chamomile can work as a mile sedative, speed up healing and reduce muscle spasms.
Best Essential Oils for Toddler Sleep
Sleep regressions, developmental leaps, and night terrors can really do a number to your toddler’s sleep life. The good news is, because your little one is older, your options for essential oils have expanded! At ti
If there is one essential oil you’ll want to keep in the house during the flu season, it’s eucalyptus essential oil. This is going to be a powerhouse when your toddler is sick. In fact, Eucalyptus essential oil is used in several common cold remedies. (You know VapoRub? Contains Eucalyptus oil.)
Eucalyptus oil helps prevent the production of viruses and bacteria. It clears out your child’s airway by loosening phlegm. Strengthens your baby’s immune system. All of this translates to better sleep when your little one is sick.
Having said all that, because it is so powerful, do NOT use this oil on children younger than 2.
Do not use it on toddlers younger than 30 months. Can cause seizures
I use peppermint every cold season. I love it. Peppermint essential oil contains a compound called menthol, which can help relieve congestion. If your little one is struggling to sleep when he has a cold, try diffusing this or making a homemade chest rub.
You can also use peppermint oil to relieve other flu symptoms, like stomach cramps and nausea.
This is important: Do NOT use peppermint oil on children younger than 30 months. Doing so can put your child at an increased risk for seizures.
I love clary sage. It’s sweet and floral, and fantastic for women’s health. Aside from relieving muscle spasms (including coughing, stomach, and asthma) and reducing anxiety in your little one, YOU can also use clary sage to help relieve menstrual cramps.
Didn’t I tell you I love clary sage?
Clary Sage actually contains a compound called sclareol, which mimics estrogen. Studies have shown that women using clary sage oil experience significantly less painful menstrual cramps.
But I digress.
And…a huge downside to Clary Sage…it’s ridiculously expensive. I’m talking $52 a bottle with some large essential oil brands.
That’s why I recommend you check out Simply Earth, who sells 100% pure therapeutic grade Clary Sage oil for less than $20!
Since we’re dealing with a very powerful essential oil, it’s important that you don’t use this on a baby. Children ages 2 and older, please!
Floral and soothing, ylang ylang is a common scent used in perfumes. This essential oil reduces blood pressure, decreases anxiety, and works as a sedative.
Because ylang ylang contains compounds linked with dermatitis, it might be a good idea to only diffuse this one in very small quantities.
You’ve probably heard of frankincense before! It’s definitely one of the more popular oils. Many moms begin diffusing frankincense when their babies are younger than a year old, but I’ve also heard that you really shouldn’t do it before your child is two.
Frankincense is fantastic for respiratory health! It can reduce inflammation in the lungs, boosts the immune system, knocks out pesky bacteria, and reduce your little one’s anxiety. All of this equates to better, more restful sleep!
How to Use Essential Oils on Babies
Diffusing is the most common way to help a baby sleep with essential oils. Generally, you’ll apply 4-5 drops in a diffuser and let it run for no more than an hour.
Maybe this is just me, but I always test a new oil before bedtime so I can carefully monitor how my baby reacts.
Do NOT diffuse if you believe your baby has asthma or may be at risk of asthma.
If you plan on applying essential oils directly to your baby’s skin, you’ll want to dilute it with a kid-safe carrier oil.
Sunflower oil, jakoba oil, and coconut oil are the most popular oils for children. You can try almond oil, but I was weary of this simply because of nut allergies.
- 6-24 months 0.25%-0.5%
- 2-6 years 1-2%
Always, ALWAYS perform a patch test before using an essential oil on your baby at night (more on that in a minute).
Add Essential Oils to Your Baby’s Bath
Adding oils to bathwater is somewhat controversial. Some pediatricians do not recommend this because your baby may splash the water and get the oils in his eyes.
I haven’t had an issue. And generally speaking, my baby doesn’t get water in her eyes.
A single drop or two does the trick. You can also make sure that the oil is diluted to be extra safe.
Safety Information for Using Essential Oils on Babies
Buy Therapeutic Grade
I can’t stress enough how important the quality of your essential oil is. Let’s talk about effectiveness first. It’s simply not reasonable to buy a poor quality essential oil from Wal-Mart and expect it to have the same effects as a 100% pure therapeutic grade oil.
Contaminants are a huge deal too.
You’ve probably heard about the tragedy with bacteria in the Walmart essential oils. I’m not trying to bad-mouth Wal-Mart. These types of oils have their place. But, when you’re using an essential oil on tiny lungs and sensitive skin, you want to make sure that it’s safe.
My Essential Oil Manufacturer Recommendation: Simply Earth
I purchase ALL of my essential oils from Simply Earth. Simply Earth only provides pure essential oils and GC/MS tests all of their products. They’re a small business in Wisconsin that manufacturers all of their oils in-house. All of their products are created from plants that are farmed from only the most ethical farms across the globe.
I use them because everything about them checks out. Phenomenal prices (they sell oils for literally half the price of their competitors), fast shipping, and great customer service.
You can either buy individual essential oils (like the ones I’ve linked here) or you can subscribe to their monthly recipe box. The recipe box offers 4 essential oils, 6 recipes, and 3 bonus goodies every month for $39.99.
If you do decide to go with that option, use the code BABYLANDFREE to get a free $40 e-gift card and a free bonus box.
Related Post: Simply Earth Essential Oils Review
Your baby’s skin is incredibly sensitive and unpredictable.
If you do apply oils to your baby’s skin, make sure you do a patch test first. Rub a small amount of (diluted!!) oil on their skin.
Watch for any adverse reactions. (Redness, dry skin, rashes…anything) for twenty-four hours.
As a parent with a daughter with skin sensitivity, I play it safe. I diffuse oils relatively freely, but I very infrequently use them ON her. The exception would be lavender. On my older daughter, (age 4) we use age-appropriate essential oils to treat her boo-boos and I haven’t noticed any ill-effects.
What Age Can Babies Use Essential Oils
We kind of already touched on this above, but I think it bears repeating. Be very cautious of your little one’s age.
Most pediatricians agree that you shouldn’t use essential oils on babies younger than 3 months. From there, some say it’s fine to use GENTLE essential oils on babies older than 6 months. One doctor from Children’s Mercy Hospital recommends no younger than 9 months.
I’ve read that the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians recommends that infants no younger than 3 months use essential oils (it’s a pretty reliable rumor since it comes from Medical News Today). However, I haven’t been able to find a direct quote from this association.
I think there’s such a diverse opinion here because it really depends on your child, their sensitivity level, the quality of your oils, and the particular oil.
That is, how its compounds interact with your baby.
What are Some of the Best Essential Oils to Help Babies Sleep Do You Use?
Essential oils can be extremely helpful for helping a child wind down. I hope that one of these best essential oils for infant sleep will help YOUR baby. My recommendation is to buy a few. Definitely try lavender or chamomile first and then move on to the oils that help with other symptoms (for example, mandarin can help with digestive issues and colic).
You have my best wishes and prayers, mama. I hope you both get the sleep you deserve!
RELATED POST TO ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP BABY SLEEP: