I have a happy, healthy 16-month old daughter who isn’t sleeping through the night! I have tried everything except aromatherapy. I am expecting the arrival of my second child in a couple of months and I need my sleep!!! Can you help? S.P.
Dear ‘Sleepless Parent’,
If you have been following my articles you will know that I am very cautious about making suggestions and recommending recipes without a full consultation, particularly when it involves children, the critically ill and seniors. I am called to remind you that all essential oils are very potent, concentrated, plant-derived semi-solids or liquids demanding the same respect one uses with medicine. Not all essential oils or carrier oils are safe for use with children. Always, always seek the advice of a certified aromatherapy practitioner and talk to your child’s health care provider if you have any concerns at all about home-use aromatherapy. When in question or in doubt do not use. No exceptions!
In Valerie Ann Worwood’s book, “Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child”, she identifies the following essential oils (diluted) and carrier oils as being safe for general use with healthy children between the age of 7 months to 2 years of age; chamomile (Roman and German), lavender, mandarin, dill, eucalyptus (radiata and smithii), neroli, tea tree, geranium and rose otto (i). Sweet almond oil is the best carrier oil with small additions of jojoba, wheatgerm and calendula infused oils permitted. Of the essential oils listed Roman chamomile, lavender, mandarin and neroli are the best for gently promoting natural sleep. They are also considered safe for you to handle while you are pregnant.(The botanical names of essential carrier oils are listed at the end.)
Always use high quality essential oils diluted with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil to a dilution of 1% or less. This represents 5 drops (total) of essential oil blended into 2 Tablespoons (1 oz. or 30mL) of the carrier oil. Consider a caring touch massage with an essential oil blend to help lull your daughter into a full night’s sleep. Add 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil into 1 oz. (30 mL.) of sweet almond carrier oil. Gently and rhythmically massage the blend onto your daughter’s back while she rests in bed.
Using an essential oil or essential oil blend in your daughter’s bath at bedtime is another way to use aromatherapy. Into 2 teaspoons of sweet almond carrier oil add 1 drop of an essential oil or essential oil blend. Use only 1 teaspoon of the blend in the tub and be extra careful because the oil will make the tub slippery. An alternative is to add one teaspoon of lavender or Roman chamomile hydrosol to the tub (ii). Yet another option is to add 1 drop of an essential oil or essential oil blend to 1 Tablespoon of powdered whole milk. That’s a girlie bath for sure!
The pajama method is a great way to introduce an essential oil or blend without applying it directly onto your daughter. Simply place 1 drop of an essential oil or 1 drop of an essential oil blend on the collar or chest area of your daughter’s pajamas or nightie and let it dry before she climbs into them.
If your daughter is using a pillow, you could place 1 to 2 drops of essential oil on a corner of the pillow case. You might consider placing 1 to 2 drops of the essential oil on a tissue or cotton make-up remover pad and place it between the pillow case and pillow. If she is still in a crib and not using a pillow, you could insert the aromatic cotton pad between the mattress and crib sheet.
Use caution when introducing your daughter to essential oils. Children are hypersensitive to aroma and their skin is very receptive to anything applied topically (absorbs the essential oils quickly). The less is more rule applies here too. Try one method at a time to discover what works best.
Sweet dreams to both of you!
Essential Oils German chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla, Dill – Anethum graveolens, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus smithii, Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens, Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia, Mandarin – Citrus reticulata, Neroli – Citrus aurantium var. amara, Roman chamomile – Anthemis nobilis, Rose otto – Rosa damascena, and Tea tree – Melaleuca alternifolia.
Article Resources (i) Valerie Ann Worwood, Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child. pp 5, 15-22, 31, 64. (ii) Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols – The Next Aromatherapy. p 182.