The practice of using essential oils has been present in cultures around the world for centuries. For a long time, mechanical presses and steams were used to extract the oils from many plants.
Now, essential oils are entering the mainstream public view – into supermarkets and wellness stores. Aroma therapists today are working to make the use of essential oils more widespread and mainstream.
But as a new parent, you should know all the necessary facts, tips, and suggestions before using essential oils, so that you do not put yourself or your baby in harm’s way.
What are Essential Oils?
These oils are called “essential” because they are thought to embody the very essence of the fragrant plants they are extracted from – be it in smell, flavor, or other properties. Essential oils are extracted from the plant through different procedures. More often it is extracted by means of distillation, steam or water is used for this. Another technique used to extract the essential oil from the plant is cold pressing. Common essential oils include those made from spearmint, lavender, eucalyptus, and dill.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?
The short answer? Yes. But it is definitely more complicated than that. Essential oils can really help a new parent during the period of nursing. But not each and every oil should, or can be used while nursing. Post-delivery recovery takes time, and with sleepless nights tending to the baby, often whole weeks go by without you pausing to take of yourself. Thus, when used in moderation and with proper knowledge, these oils soothe your tense and sore muscles, increase milk supply, and more without the need for medicines or pills. The key is to choose the oil that of good quality and that is safe for the babies.
How Can You Make Sure that Essential Oils are Safe for Your Newborn?
As mentioned, essential oils can do wonders for you during breastfeeding, if you use them in an informed manner. As more and more people are looking to use essential oils, companies that manufacture these oils are openly misleading the customers, wherein they gloss over the side effects or possible adverse reactions, and they only focus on the positive aspects of using essential oils.This practice often goes unnoticed and leads to misuse of the oils, ultimately resulting in rashes, allergic outbreaks, etc. So, care should be taken to not fall into the hyped up idea of essential oils.
Use them, but use them wisely. For example – Do not use an essential oil without diluting it in coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil or hemp seed oil – these oils function as carriers
Read the labels to check if solvents like butane were used in the oil’s extraction. If yes, do not buy them because their traces can still be present in the final product and prove to be harmful.
How Should You Apply Essential Oil to Boost Milk Supply?
While using essential oils to increase milk supply, first make sure that they are suitable for your newborn too.
After you properly dilute them with an available carrier, you can apply the essential oil to your breasts, but never apply it to your nipples. You can also apply it on the pulse points. Did you know the pulse points are connected with the breast?
The quantity matters. Try to use three to four drops of essential oils. If you like to put essential oil in a diffuser put only 3 to 4 drops in your diffuser and never use it more than one hour as well. If you practice moderation, since they help you relax, these oils make it easier for the body to produce more milk.
If you use a breast pump or even otherwise, make sure you wipe off the oils so that the baby doesn’t come into contact with it.
Essential Oils And Their Benefits During Breastfeeding
Essential oils can be used in various ways to relax you mentally and physically. Remember, relaxation and comforts are two major factors that help with successful breastfeeding. Essential oils offer a range of benefits when used during breastfeeding. For example,
- Tea tree oil has properties that shield you from fungi, septic, and bacterial infections. It also helps in the treatment of mastitis.
- Chamomile oil eases anxiety, basil oil helps boost your milk supply
- The oil taken from the geranium plant is said to balance estrogen.
- Basil essential oil improves digestion, soothe muscle aches.
- Lavender oil if mixed with olive oil and applied on the nipple area after feeding will help to get rid of the cracked nipple.
Which Essential Oils Are Not Suitable For Breast Feeding Mothers
Keep away from these essential oils while Breastfeeding
- Star anise
- Indian dill seed
- Fennel (bitter and sweet, both)
- Spanish lavender
- Spanish sage
- Apart from not using the above oils during breastfeeding, there are other precautions you can take to ensure the wellbeing of you and your baby.
- Firstly, although essential oils do no harm when breathed through the nose or applied to the skin, it is advised not to ingest them in any way, unless you are in the supervision of a professional. Likewise, there are oils that may not pair well with the medications you are on.
- An important distinction to make here is that herbs and oils have different properties – so just because you are able to consume rosemary or cloves doesn’t mean their essential oils are necessarily safe for you.
- Some oils may function to decrease your milk supply, or they may only be harmless for the newborn if ingested through milk.
Customers and consumers in this day and age need to be aware and cautious when buying products like essential oils. Do not fall for the farfetched marketing schemes and ads.
Essential oils come with benefits but also their own set of harmful effects. Thus you should do thorough research on essential oils – read labels, and double check with your doctor before you proceed to use essential oils