12 Essential Oils for Babies to Relieve Colic, Diaper Rash and Other Issues


Taking care of a baby is never easy.

One of the most common complaints among parents is colic, which affects up to 20 percent of infants in the world [1].

It is a condition in which babies cry incessantly at the same time each day for at least three days per week [1].

The good news is, colic usually resolves on its own by the time a baby reaches three or four months of age [2].

Yes, it sounds like it’s already a lot to handle, but this is just one problem. There are more.

Other issues that parents with babies have to deal with include diaper rash, cradle cap, teething, and indigestion [3, 4, 5, 6].

Now before you start panicking or worrying, take a breather.

There are these essential oils for babies that can help you go through with these problems more easily.

1. Chamomile

Did you know that in ancient Egypt, chamomile was considered a “sacred gift from the sun god” [7]?

Parents won’t find that hard to imagine, as this can soothe a fussy baby, among many others things.

Whether it’s teething or colic, chamomile can help.

Studies have been done to investigate the effects of chamomile and other herbs in babies with colic [8].

In one clinical trial, 68 healthy babies with colic between two and eight weeks old were given either herbal tea consisting of chamomile, fennel, licorice, balm, mint and vervain, or placebo tea with glucose and flavoring [8].

Results show that after seven days, the chamomile herbal tea eliminated crying in 57 percent of the infants without causing any side effects [8].

As for teething pain, chamomile can help with its strong analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions.

According to the findings of an animal trial, the oil’s actions were due to its ability to alleviate swelling and inhibit pro-inflammatory enzymes [9].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of chamomile oil
  • 1 cube of ice

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour chamomile oil in washcloth.
  • Use washcloth to cover ice cube.
  • Gently press ice cube on the cheek or mouth of your baby to relieve teething.
  • For colic, put chamomile oil on a cloth.
  • Put the cloth near him/her to ease fussiness.

2. Lavender

If your baby is fussy, and won’t stop crying, let lavender come to your rescue.

A study conducted in Turkey in 2012 indicates that aromatherapy massage with lavender oil can successfully control symptoms of colic, including nonstop crying [10].

The use of this oil during bath time appears to have the same benefits, and even helps put baby to sleep, as explained in a 2008 study [11].

Lavender also has anxiolytic and sedative properties that help deepen sleep and lower anxiety levels [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of lavender oil
  • Baby milk soap

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute lavender oil in liquid milk soap.
  • Add to the baby tub.
  • Use this to bathe your baby once or twice a day.

3. Lemon Balm

Part of the Lamiaceae plant family, lemon balm is deemed as one of the most potent medicinal remedies in the Mediterranean region [13].

Among its many benefits is that it can help calm your baby and lull him or her to sleep.

In a 2005 study, lemon balm was one of the herbs used by Italian researchers to treat infant colic [14].

Out of the 93 breastfed babies with colic, those who were exposed to lemon balm cried less frequently than those who were given a placebo [14].

Lemon balm combined with valerian also proved to be effective in reducing restlessness and sleeping difficulties in babies and children [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of lemon balm oil
  • 1 drop of valerian oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the two oils.
  • Put one drop of oil mixture on your shoulder.
  • Rest your baby’s head on your shoulder and rock him/her to sleep.

4. Valerian

One of the most notable uses of valerian is for inducing sleep, as documented in a wide variety of research [16, 17, 18, 19].

Clinical trials show that valerian can decrease sleep onset latency, and at the same time, improve the quality of sleep [20].

Sleep onset latency refers to the time it takes to transition from wakeful state to sleep.

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Valerian has been proven to make it easier for people to doze off.

So it’s no surprise that this oil is highly recommended for improving sleep in irritable babies.

Paired with lemon balm, it can successfully tone down restlessness and induce sleep in children younger than 12 [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of valerian oil
  • 1 drop of lemon balm oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Use a diffuser to disperse scent of valerian and lemon balm oils in the room.

5. Fennel

Parents can also rely on fennel oil for calming a baby who can’t seem to stop crying.

In an experiment conducted in 2003, researchers evaluated the effects of fennel oil and placebo in 125 healthy babies with colic [21].

It was found that fennel oil eased colic in 65 percent of the participants, reducing crying to nine hours per week [21].

Researchers point out that fennel relieved intestinal spasm and promoted motility [21].

Many others studies have similar findings, as stated in 2007 review [22].

No side effects have been reported in these studies, suggesting that fennel oil is well tolerated by infants [22].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of fennel oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Pour one or two drops of oil mixture on your baby’s forehead.
  • Do this once a day.

6. Tea Tree

Another common problem you’d have to deal with is diaper rash.

Also called diaper dermatitis, this condition is caused by prolonged exposure to urine, feces, and chemicals from baby products, and over hydration of the skin [23].

In Australia, one of the most reliable remedies for nappy rash is tea tree oil [24].

That’s because tea tree oil has been established as a potent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.

It works to cleanse the skin, reduce inflammation, and control the microorganisms causing the problem [25].

If you notice that your baby has red scaly patches on his or her scalp, you can also use this oil.

It is a safe and effective treatment for cradle cap on babies.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix tea tree oil and almond oil.
  • Apply a small amount of oil mixture on your baby’s bottom after each bath.
  • For cases of cradle cap, apply a few drops of oil mixture on baby’s scalp 30 minutes before bathing.
  • Repeat daily until condition improves.

7. Dill

In Ayurvedic medicine, the most popular use for dill is for treating colic, abdominal discomfort and indigestion. It is used for the same purposes in Unani medicine [26].

Dill has soothing effects on the digestive system, reducing abdominal contractions and pain [27].

That’s because dill has potent antispasmodic properties, as confirmed in a study published in the International Journal of Pharmacology [27].

It is also said to be carminative that can relieve bloating and flatulence in infants [28].

As an added bonus, dill can also be used to stimulate milk flow in breastfeeding mothers, which can come in handy if you’re still nursing your little one.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of dill oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put dill oil in a cotton ball.
  • Put cotton ball near your baby when he/she starts to cry.

8. Lemon

It’s a must to keep your baby things clean and germ-free.

As you know, bacteria can cause disease, and your baby’s immune system is not yet fully developed to fight bacterial infection.

The only problem is, common household cleaning products are loaded with toxic chemicals that can harm your baby’s health and development [29].

Not only do these chemicals put your baby at risk of serious ailments, it may also stunt his or her development physically and mentally.

That’s why, parents must like you should seek out healthier and safer alternatives to cleaning solutions. Natural cleaners such as lemon oil can help in this matter.

This is a safe and effective cleaning agent for the baby’s room and things, as it has potent antibacterial mechanisms [30].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bowl of water
  • 5 drops of lemon oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Pour oil in a bowl of water.
  • Soak a clean cloth on the mixture.
  • Use this to clean surfaces in the baby’s room, and his/her toys and other things.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint oil is an aromatic and stimulant remedy that is commonly used for alleviating headache, nausea and vomiting [31].

Parents who are finding it difficult to get a good night’s sleep because of their short-tempered babies can also find relief from this oil.

Brazilian scientists found that exposing babies to peppermint oil decreased crying time from 192 minutes to 111 minutes in the span of seven days [32].

They recommend further research to be done in area [32].

The anti-colic actions of peppermint can be attributed to its antispasmodic and antinociceptive properties [33].

It doesn’t only reduce contractions in the digestive tract, it also blocks pain signals to provide pain relief [34].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of peppermint oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Apply two drops of oil combination on your baby’s tummy.
  • Have him/her lie on his/her back after.
  • Do this when you suspect of indigestion.

10. Clove

Teething usually starts between four and eight months with lower incisors the first ones to appear [35].

It then resumes sometime at 30 to 36 months at the appearance of the second primary molars [35].

Although this is a normal part of your baby’s development, teething can bring pain and discomfort, and can make your bundle of joy very fussy.

Give your baby some relief with the help of clove oil.

Clove oil has been proven in scientific research to have pain-reducing effects on teething babies [36, 37].

This is due to clove oil’s anesthetic and analgesic properties, which have long been recognized by folk healers in many different parts of the world.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of clove oil
  • 1 cube of ice

Recommended Directions:

  • Wrap ice cube with washcloth.
  • Pour clove oil on washcloth.
  • Press washcloth gently on your baby’s mouth or cheek.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day.

11. Citronella

It’s important to shield your baby from mosquito bites, as these can bring deadly diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and West Nile virus [38].

The problem is, most insect repellents that you can find in the market contain a chemical called DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), which is dangerous for babies and young children [38].

Long-term use of this chemical can increase the risk of seizures [38].

This is why, it’s safer to rely on natural insect repellents that are just as effective.

A good example of this is citronella oil, which has been found in many studies to be efficient in keeping mosquitoes and other insects at bay [39, 40, 41].

A 2002 study indicates that citronella works the same way as DEET but with fewer side effects and shorter duration of protection [41].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of citronella oil
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils.
  • Pour a few drops on a small cloth.
  • Dab the small cloth on your baby’s clothing.
  • Don’t apply directly on baby’s skin.

12. Sweet Orange

When you don’t know what’s causing your baby’s fussiness, try infusing the room with sweet orange aroma.

Whether it’s teething, exhaustion, or boredom, your little one will be appeased by the smell of this essential oil.

Various studies have shown that sweet orange oil has anxiolytic effects that can induce relaxation in both animal and human subjects [42, 43].

Out of the 40 volunteers in a 2012 study performed by researchers from Brazil, those who inhaled this oil scored significantly lower in measures of anxiety level [43].

However, further research is recommended to establish its efficacy in specific anxiety disorders.

For babies, this oil is safe to use for topical application and infusion. But it should not be used for infants younger than six months of age.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 drops of sweet orange oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Use a diffuser to spread the aroma of orange oil in the room.
  • Do this no more than three times a week.

Baby problems especially colic can be very frustrating for parents.

It can make parenthood challenging, put a strain in your marriage, or even steal the time that you’re supposed to enjoy and bond with your little one.

Don’t worry, you can resolve all these issues with the help of these essential oils.