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The most common questions moms have about essential oils

I initially thought essential oils sounded like something for people with no kids and some actual time on their hands, not me. The only ‘essential’ I thought I needed was a solid night’s sleep. However, there was a sale on IHerb, I bought a few bottles and I was hooked!

The sense of smell is so powerful. It’s the reason why women shell out hundreds of dollars to buy a small bottle of perfume they like. Using essential oils is an easy and cheap(ish) way to incorporate scent into your daily life.

But what are essential oils? How do I use it? How do I choose the right ones?

And of course, since becoming a mom, I always ask ‘Is this safe to use around my kids?’

So I did some research and I’ve compiled all the information I‘ve found for my questions and other common questions moms have about essential oils in this article. I hope it helps you.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic plant extracts, making them very potent. The oils are obtained through distillation or mechanical methods like cold pressing. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a carrier oil to create the products you see in the beautiful little bottles.

Why is it a must-have for all moms?

It’s not really a must-have. But I find it wonderfully luxurious and I think it is a ‘must-have’ for the sensual mom 🙂 There is nothing like the scent of your favourite romantic blend of essential oils to put you in the mood!

In fact, inhaling the aromas from essential oils have been shown to stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is the part of your brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviours and long-term memory.

When you’re tired, essential oils can perk you up. When you’re grumpy or worked up, it can calm you down. Using essential oils like lavender can help you sleep better. It can also reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and depression although I can’t help but wonder if it is all the deep breathing we tend to do when inhaling the scent that gives us all these benefits. Ah well… whatever works 🙂

How do I use essential oils?

There are so many ways to use essential oils that it would warrant a whole other article! My favourite way is to use it in a diffuser when I  find the opportunity to have some ‘me time’ . You can choose a single oil or blend of oils. Mix a few drops with water and light the diffuser for 15-30 minutes. Make sure you diffuse in a well-ventilated area and not for too long – more than 60 minutes is too long.

If you are in a place where it is hard to use a diffuser, you can inhale it by simply putting a drop of essential oil on the corner of your sleeve or handkerchief and inhaling. I often put a drop of lavender oil at the corner of my pillow to help me sleep at night. I’m not sure if it actually helps me sleep but it definitely makes going to sleep more enjoyable!

You can also use it as part of self-care. Some women use it like an ‘oil perfume’. They dab a drop on their pulse points and back of neck. Others mix essential oils with massage oils for a sensual massage. You can even use a few drops in the bath!  

If you are using essential oils on your skin, dilute it with a carrier oil first and do a patch test. What is carrier oil and how to do a patch test you ask? Check out these articles about  carrier oils  and  how to do a patch test . 

Even though some people say you can, swallowing essential oils is not recommended. There is enough real food in the world.

Are essential oils affordable?

As always, this answer depends on your personal and family financial situation. However, most people can afford a few bottles and a little goes a long way. Don’t buy a whole set as recommended by some brands because you will end up with lots of oils you will hardly use. Instead, buy a few to try first. If you like it, you can always build your collection bottle by bottle. I would recommend doing your research and looking at all the different brands out there, their reviews and compare prices. Most expensive does not equate best but cheapest definitely equates worst. Which brings me to my next question.   

How do I choose the right essential oil for me?

Choosing the right essential oils for you can be overwhelming! There are so many options and brands out there! First and foremost, consider how you would like to use the oil (e.g in a diffuser, on your skin etc.) and what you would like it to help with? Do you want it to help ‘put you in the mood’, calm you down, energize you? Read How to choose the right essential oils for your needs for more information.

Choose oils with labels such as ‘100% pure essential oils’, ‘certified pure grade’ and ‘therapeutic grade oils’. Avoid synthetic oils. They are more likely to cause side effects and you don’t want to be breathing in artificial fragrance. Pure oils are usually labelled with the plant’s botanical name (such as Lavandula officinalis) rather than terms like ‘essential oil of lavender’. Choose a chemical-free essential oil that has been extracted through distillation or mechanical cold pressing. Making essential oils is an unregulated industry so the quality and composition of the oils can vary greatly. Read Buying Better Essential Oils for a more detailed guide.

Is it safe to use around babies and kids?

In general, diffusing essential oils into the air is thought to be safe but I don’t diffuse it when my toddler is around. I just don’t think her young lungs would like it. Same reason I don’t use artificial room deodorizers.

There are some websites teaching parents how to use essential oils on their kids but I have not and don’t intend to use essential oils on my children. They are still developing, which makes their brains and other systems more sensitive to potential toxicity from essential oils. However, by far, the greatest danger to children occurs when they accidentally swallow the oils, have concentrated oils spill on their skin or splashed into their eyes. Therefore, it is very important that essential oils be kept up and out of reach of children.

Are essential oils safe for pregnant women?

This is a tricky one. It is extremely unlikely that diffusing essential oil for half an hour or having a drop of diluted oil on your skin can affect your unborn child. However, there’s simply no good quality research on the effect of essential oils on developing fetuses.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) says some essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy especially after the first trimester but if you are pregnant and using essential oils, you should adhere to general safety guidelines and avoid certain essential oils. You can read more about this on their website and this article lists what essential oils are safe and what to avoid in pregnancy.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, never ingest essential oils.

Are essential oils safe for breastfeeding moms?

There is debate about this as well. The general consensus is that some oils are safe while some should be avoided. There are some concerns that essential oils would find its way from your skin to your breastmilk. However, diffusing essential oils while your baby is not in the room shouldn’t be a problem and using it in the bath or topically (sparingly) should be fine.

Some essential oils like fennel and lavender are thought to increase breastmilk supply while others like peppermint and oregano are thought to reduce supply. This is a list of what oils to use and what to avoid during breastfeeding .

Even though some ‘experts’ recommend rubbing essential oil on or around your nipple for cracked nipples, I would never do that as that would mean your newborn baby would be ingesting it. You should also never ingest essential oils, especially while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are thinking of using essential oils while breastfeeding, read about the cautions breastfeeding moms must take before using essential oils.

To wrap up, remember that essential oils are useful to help with your mood and increase your sense of sensuality. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is safe. Essential oils may contain bioactive compounds that may harm your health so you should always use it in moderation and with caution. When used correctly, essential oils can be a wonderful addition to your self-care and sensuality practice. Enjoy 🙂

Do you have any other questions about essential oils for moms that I have not answered here? Ask me in the comments section.

What is your experience with essential oils? Which brands have you found to be good? We would all appreciate your suggestions. 

Sharon James

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