For infants and babies, colds are very common and normal. It’s how they build up their immune system. Nonetheless, it’s very hard to sit around and watch them struggle with all the discomfort. There are a few essential oils for babies with cold that can also help with a cough and congestion.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- Essential oils and babies. How they can help and how many you can actually use/diffuse around a baby.
- The proper way to diffuse Aromatherapy around your baby.
- The proper way to apply and mix essential oils for baby cough and congestion, or runny/stuffy nose.
- A few therapeutical recipes to use with your baby.
- Facts about baby cold, cough, and congestion.
- Plus, safety measures for when using aromatic oils around babies.
- A few useful preventive tips that’ll make your lives easier.
Gentle Essential Oils for Babies with Cold, Cough, and Congestion
Babies (age 0 – 12 months) are very sensitive. Newborns or infants are even more so. The first year of a baby’s life is complicated and complex.
The organs are still growing and developing, this including the immune system. A baby’s skin is vulnerable too, which is the reason why you should be very careful what you apply to it.
There are about a hundred different viruses that cause the common cold. Since your baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed, he will get sick a lot.
Estimates show that a baby can get about 7 colds in his first year. Once infected, the baby will develop immunity to that virus, and so on.
According to Mayo Clinic, a common baby cold resolves itself in about two weeks. That is if the cold progresses without complications. This doesn’t mean you should not consult a pediatrician every time, though. It is especially necessary if the baby is younger than 3 months.
Essential Oils and Babies
When it comes to high fever, coughing, etc., there is some medical treatment available. That can be administered and monitored only by doctors.
Generally, it’s not recommended to use over-the-counter medications and antibiotics. A bit of fever is actually good for the baby. It’s how the body fights a viral infection. Just make sure you’ll see a pediatrician first.
If you have to avoid medications, all you’re left with are natural remedies. They can help ease the symptoms and help the body face the infection more efficiently. A common baby cold is a viral infection. Aromatherapy oils are known antivirals and antibacterials.
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that affect our health in a positive way. They are a lot safer and have fewer side effects than drugs.
They can, however, be dangerous too, especially when they’re used improperly. For babies, for example, most oils are too strong. That is why the few gentler ones should be used in minute amounts. For a baby, that small concentration is in fact enough.
The FDA is against using cold and cough drugs on children younger than 2 years. That said, I can understand why a concerned parent would want to use essential oils for babies with cold. The same essential oils can be used for a cough and congestion too.
What makes essential oils useful for relieving cold symptoms? They are:
- Antiviral and antibacterial, to help kill some bacteria and viruses. When diffused, this property can also prevent viral infections.
- Anti-inflammatory. Decreases the inflammation in the body and relieves some of the pain.
- Immunomodulatory, to strengthen the immune system. It’s done by stimulating the production of white blood cells.
- Analgesic, to relieve pain.
- Calming and soothing. This ability helps a baby sleep better and be calmer.
Essential oils have many other beneficial health effects. These I just mentioned, are the ones that matter most, though.
Next, I’ll tell you more about a few aromatic oils you can use for your baby. Just keep in mind that they should not be used for infants (0-3 months old). Always seek medical advice before trying any remedies on your baby!
Some of the best and safe essential oils for babies with cold are:
- Many parents want to know whether Eucalyptus essential oil is safe for babies or not. The answer is yes, Eucalyptus is safe for babies. The unsafe part comes from the amount used. This essence can be used in as much as 0.5%. That would be 1 drop for every 20 ml of carrier oil.
- Eucalyptus radiata is an effective decongestant. It can control the hypersecretion of mucus in the airways. This leads to serious improvement of sinusitis, asthma, and COPD.
- The oil is anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory.
- It can also relieve pain (analgesic effect) and kill bacteria and viruses. On top of it all, Eucalyptus is also a good antioxidant that protects from free radicals cell damage.
- Bottom line: Eucalyptus radiata is among the best essential oils for baby congestion and cough.
- You can put Eucalyptus oil in a baby diffuser and help your baby fight the common cold.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Tea Tree essential oil is one of the best essential oils for babies with a cold. Its health benefits are much like those of Eucalyptus oil.
- The oil excels at stimulating and strengthening the immune system. This is a great benefit for babies since they need all the help they get.
- It can also soothe the nasal irritation and improve the baby’s breathing. Tea Tree is a great essential oil for baby cough and congestion.
- It’s also highly antibacterial and antiviral.
- Tea Tree is anti-inflammatory and analgesic too.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- An excellent essential oil for babies, Lavender can soothe cold symptoms. It is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.
- The oil can also improve the circulation and protect from further infections.
- It has antioxidant effects and can relax the muscles and their spasms.
- Lavender has a strong impact on the nervous system. It can induce sleep and calm down nerves and agitation.
I do not recommend using the RC (respiratory congestion) essential oil blend for babies. It contains very powerful ingredients, including Peppermint. The latter should never be used on children under 3 years old!
Some essences should be used only with a doctor’s approval. Some of those essential oils for babies with cold, cough and congestion are:
- Thyme ct. Linalool
- Lemon Eucalyptus
- Lemon Myrtle
- Blue Tansy
If you want to know how to use essential oils for baby cough, congestion, and cold in general, keep reading. I’ll take the two best and safest ways to use Aromatherapy around babies and give you more details.
Diffusing Essential Oils around Babies
Inhalation/diffusion of aromatic oils is the best way of taking in large concentrations. The amount of active oil molecules one inhales depends on a few things.
It depends on how far you are from the diffuser or bottle, how fast you inhale and the space area. The slower you inhale the more oil vapor you take in. This amount can range between 50% and 70%.
But is it safe to diffuse essential oils around babies? Generally speaking, it’s best to diffuse essential oils when the baby is not in the room. This should be done in small bursts of 5 – 10 – 15 minutes, every 2 hours or more.
When doing so, the room should also be very well-ventilated. You can read more about diffusing aroma oils around babies here.
Essential oils to diffuse for baby cold, cough and congestion:
- Eucalyptus (radiata)
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
Diffuse one or two drops of these essences. The amount depends on the space you’re diffusing.
A few essential oils for baby runny nose:
- Eucalyptus radiata and globulus
- German Chamomile
- Tea Tree
A few essential oils for baby stuffy (congested) nose:
- Eucalyptus radiata/globulus
- Tea Tree
Essential oils for baby cough and congestion:
- Tea Tree
These are all essential oils you can diffuse for colds in babies. They can help with most of the symptoms.
Applying Essential Oils on Babies
Topical application is another good way of enjoying the benefits of the oils. This should always be done in small to moderate amounts.
Mix a drop of essential oil with 10 or 20 ml (2 – 4 tsp.) carrier oil. Apply on the soles of your baby’s feet or on his back. You can also rub it in on the chest.
Make sure you use gentle carrier oils like Jojoba, Sweet Almond or Macadamia. Avoid vegetable oils like Hemp seed, Black seed or Tamanu. They can be a bit more powerful for the little ones. They’re fine to use for older children and adults, though.
Essential Oil Blends for Baby Cold, Cough and Congestion
Here we are, at the end of my explanations. As usual, I always give you some practical DIY recipes to try to deal with the problem at hand. Pick any blend you can make or one that has what you’re looking for.
Feel free to replace some oils, but do your research in advance. Also, don’t overlook the importance of a medical consultation! It can save you and your baby a lot of trouble, especially in his earliest months.
Essential Oils Recipe for Baby Cold, Cough & Congestion
- Eucalyptus radiata essential oil: 1 drop
- Tea Tree essential oil: 1 drop
- Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- Jojoba oil: 1 Oz. (30ml)
Give the blend a good shake before each use. Apply mornings and evenings, daily for 5 days. If the symptoms worsen during that time, stop with the blend and take the baby to the emergency room. Infants can develop serious complications from common colds.
Baby Immune System Booster for Diffuser
- Tea Tree essential oil: 10 drops
- Eucalyptus radiata essential oil: 10 drops
- German Chamomile essential oil: 15 drops
Mix all these oils in a glass bottle and diffuse a drop or two daily. I recommend using an ultrasonic oil diffuser.
It adds a bit of moisture to the air and it also dilutes the potency of the oils a bit. This matters in case you add too much oil or the baby is too close to the diffuser.
Portable Aromatherapy Respiratory Blend
- 10 ml roll-on recipient
- Eucalyptus radiata essential oil: 5 drops
- Carrier oil
Add the essential oil drops and top off with a carrier oil. Wave the bottle around the baby’s nose whenever needed. Eucalyptus has a fast action.
Now that we know what essential oils are good for babies with cold, we should learn more about its cause.
Signs & Symptoms of Baby Cold, Safety Measures & Preventive Tips
No matter how often he gets sick, your baby’s cold is always a concern. How do you recognize a common baby cold?
- He or she has either a runny or a congested nose.
- If it’s a runny nose, the discharge can be clear, yellow or green. It’ll also slowly thicken.
- Fever is very common.
- Coughing and sneezing.
- Trouble sleeping or falling asleep.
- Lack of appetite and problems during nursing. A congested nose prevents the baby from properly breathing.
- Irritability (expressed by crying mostly).
If any of these symptoms worsen or last for many days, you should call the doctor immediately. The common cold can cause newborn babies complications like pneumonia. Wheezing or ear infections are also complications of colds.
The cause of baby cold is a viral infection with rhinoviruses. They are a family of about a hundred viruses that can all infect us. A cold and/or influenza virus can enter the body through the eyes, the nose, and/or the mouth.
It is especially easy to infect a fragile body like a baby’s. They don’t have a well-developed immune system and they sit around other kids more often.
Baby Aromatherapy Safety Measures
When you use essential oils for babies with cold, you must also:
- Test every new aromatic oil for allergic reactions. Dilute a drop of essential oil with a teaspoon of carrier. Apply on the forearm of the baby and watch for any redness or itching.
- Always dilute your essences with carrier oils.
- Don’t give your baby the oil bottle to play with and keep all your oils away from his/her reach.
- Avoid using a cold blend around the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. Make sure the baby can’t touch the massaged area. If you apply it on the soles, put some socks on.
- Don’t use any aromatic remedy on your baby if he/she suffers from other illnesses.
- Always seek medical guidance, even if you are pretty sure of what you’re doing.
- Don’t feed your baby essential oils. They can irritate the esophagus and stomach and cause burning.
Baby Cold Preventive Tips
While there’s no cure for colds, there are ways to prevent them. Or at least to lessen their number throughout the year.
- Avoid keeping your baby around sick children and/or adults.
- When you handle the baby, keep your hands clean at all times.
- Don’t sneeze or cough on or around him. Use a tissue or the crook of the arm for protection. You may be a carrier without knowing it. This is very common, especially if you’ve developed immunity to a specific virus.
- Keep your baby’s clothes, cutlery and toys clean. Don’t exaggerate though. Most germs and bacteria strengthen the baby’s immune system.
- Maintain a good humidity inside the baby’s room. An essential oil diffuser should not be used instead of a humidifier. They’re two separate things, each with its own benefits.
Baby colds are common and even necessary to build a baby’s immune system. As much as it troubles you to see the little one struggling now, it’ll make him stronger in the future.
Luckily, you can do something for your baby. You can use a few good essential oils for babies with cold. The same essential oils can be used for baby cough and congestion too. The one thing you need to be careful is how much you use and what you use.
Have you ever tried Aromatherapy remedies to soothe your baby’s cold symptoms? Did they work as expected? I’d love to hear more from you.