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

Having trouble taking care of your baby?

Using essential oils for babies can ease your ways of raising a happier, healthier child.

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 breath.

There are safe essential oils that can help you manage these problems more easily.

In this article, you will read about:

  • What is essential oil
  • The list of safe essential oils that you can use for your baby
  • How you can use these oils for your baby
  • Some tips and precautions
  • Some questions and answers regarding the use of essential oils

What Is Essential Oil

Essential oil is a form of liquid aroma compounds from the plant that it is extracted from.

Essential oils are also known as volatile oil, ethereal oil. They are often named after the plants from which they got their essence.

14 Essential Oils For Babies

Essential oils work great on babies.

Take a look at the following list to know about how these oils work and the methods of applying them to your babies.

1. Chamomile Essential Oil

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 a washcloth.
  • Use a 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.

Key Takeaways:

Use chamomile essential oil to help babies with colic and teething problem.

RELATED: 14 Health Benefits of Chamomile Tea (Backed by Science)

2. Lavender Essential Oil

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 the 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.

Key Takeaways:

Lavender essential oil is great in soothing your crying babies.

RELATED: 11 Health Benefits of Lavender Oil That You Should Know

3. Lemon Balm Oil

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.

Key Takeaways:

Lemon balm oil can help you in keeping your baby clam and cry less.

4. Valerian Essential Oil

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.

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.

Key Takeaways:

Valerian essential oil improves sleeping conditions of babies and helps them to sleep well and longer.

5. Fennel Essential Oil

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 essential 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.

Key Takeaways:

Fennel essential oil also works great with calming and soothing your babies.

RELATED: 14 Benefits of Fennel Tea You Don’t Want to Miss Out on

6. Tea Tree Essential Oil

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 overhydration 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:

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix tea tree essential 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.

Key Takeaways:

Tea tree essential oil helps your baby to get rid of rashes along with the redness, irritations and inflammations accompanied by them.

RELATED: 9 Effective Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil for Warts


7. Dill Essential Oil

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 essential oil

Recommended Directions:

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

Key Takeaways:

Use dill essential oil to comfort your babies and cure colic and digestion problems.

8. Lemon Essential Oil

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 essential oil

Recommended Directions:

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

Key Takeaways:

Use lemon essential oil to keep your baby healthy and safe from all the germs and infections.

RELATED: 10 Ways Lemon Oil Can Benefit your Health

9. Peppermint Essential Oil

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 the crying time from 192 minutes to 111 minutes in the span of seven days [32].

They recommend further research to be done in the 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 essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

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

Key Takeaways:

Use peppermint essential oil to soothe and calm your babies for their better mood and essential sleep.

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Use Peppermint Oil for Hair

10. Clove Essential Oil

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 essential oil
  • 1 cube of ice

Recommended Directions:

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

Key Takeaways:

Use clove essential oil to comfort your teething babies by reducing the pain and irritation.

11. Citronella Essential Oil

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 effective 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 essential 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 to baby’s skin.

Key Takeaways:

Use citronella essential oil to give your babies the natural protections from mosquitoes and other insects.

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.

Key Takeaways:

Infuse your baby’s room with sweet orange essential oil and raise a happy and relaxed child.

13. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil or Eucalpytus radiate originates from the stream distillation of the twigs and leaves of the eucalyptus tree.

There’s another variety of eucalyptus oil known as Eucalyptus globules. You should not use this type of the oil for your little ones below 2 years old.

Eucalyptus oil is a great home remedy for respiratory disorders, difficulty in breathing, nasal congestions, coughs, common cold and flu.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of eucalyptus oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute eucalyptus oil with carrier oil.
  2. Massage the blend gently on the chest and back of your baby.
  3. Repeat the treatment for a few nights to relieve respiratory problems of your baby.

Key Takeaways:

Use eucalyptus oil to relieve respiratory illnesses of your baby.

14. Mandarin Oil

Mandarin essential oil or Citrus reticulate is as effective and soothing as lavender oil. Many parents complain that the babies can’t stand the strong aroma of lavender oil. Hence you can substitute lavender with mandarin oil, which is milder in scent and flavor. Mandarin oil doesn’t

have phototoxic effects like all other citrus oils. You can safely apply a couple of diluted mandarin oils topically to relieve diaper rash, cold and other problems of your baby.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 drop of mandarin oil
  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil
  • Medical gauze

Recommended Directions:

  1. Dilute mandarin oil with jojoba oil.
  2. Soak fresh medical gauze on the blend.
  3. Apply the oil on the diaper rashes of your baby.
  4. Wipe the oil off your baby’s skin after 15-20 minutes.
  5. Repeat the treatment every alternative day.

Key Takeaways:

Clean the diaper rashes of your baby using mandarin essential oil blend.

RELATED: 12 Reasons Why You Should Use Jojoba Oil for Hair and How to Do It

Tips And Precautions

  • You need to be alert when you are using something for your baby.
  • Always maintain the best hygiene for your babies.
  • If your baby seems to grow any allergic reactions to any of these oils, wipe off immediately and refrain from further use.
  • Even in case of your baby, it is recommended to do a patch test before direct application.
  • Take your babies to regular doctor check-ups if they tend to be too irritated or disturbed.

Some Q&A

Q. Are essential oils 100% safe for babies?
A. Essential oils are definitely safe for babies but there are always exceptions. You need to know which essential oil is good for your baby’s health and which is not. But in the case of direct application, make sure to dilute the oil with any other healthy carrier oil first.

Q. What are the best carrier oils that can be used to dilute an essential oil?
A. Some best carrier oil options for diluting an essential oil are- sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and fresh coconut oil.

Q. What is colic?
A. Colic is usually a type of pain that disrupts the well being of a baby. It can start from a week when a baby is born up until a few months. It is a nuisance and stressful period for families because of colic.

Q. What are the types of colic that may affect my baby?
A. Usually, there are a few types of colic that can affect your baby. These are:

  • Renal colic – renal colic is the pain in the abdomen which is generally caused by kidney stones. These pain can either be constant or they can periodically.
  • Biliary colic – biliary colic is the pain caused when the cystic duct is obstructed during the time when the gallbladder contracts. It is usually caused by the gallstone.
  • Painter’s colic – it is usually the pain caused because of lead poisoning.

Q. Can essential oils greatly help my colic baby?
A. Yes. They can. Oils like fennel, peppermint and ginger can greatly benefit your baby and improve their colic symptoms.

Q. What are the causes of colic?
A. There has not been any substantial research to prove what is the actual cause of colic that causes babies to cry so much. However, the factors listed below may be deemed as reasons why babies have colic:

  • Babies often have a very sensitive temperament, meaning, they require more attention from the caregivers and parents.
  • Their nervous system may not be fully matured yet.
  • They are very sensitive to stimulation – more than what they should be.
  • Foods in a mother’s diet may affect babies who breastfeed.
  • On the other hand, babies drinking bottled milk may be intolerant of certain proteins in that milk.
  • The most common effect is an intestinal gas which forms when the baby cries too much and air enters the tummy.
  • Acid reflux in the baby.
  • Not making the baby burp after a meal or putting the baby in an incorrect positioning after a meal.

Q. What causes a diaper rash?
A. Diaper rashes are common for almost all babies who wear diapers. In fact, when there is excess moisture locked in, then, there is a higher chance of the baby getting diaper rash. For example, urine or sweat locked in the diaper for a prolonged time period can be harmful to the soft skin of the babies. Plus, if there is skin irritation due to friction, then it can also be a cause of diaper rash.

Q. Is diaper rash contagious?
A. Not really. It is usually a skin irritation that occurs in almost all babies. Therefore, it should be taken care of swiftly and delicately.

Q. What is cradle cap?
A. Cradle cap is also called infantile seborrheic dermatitis. It is a common type of baby rash that looks a yellowish type of rash which is greasy or scaly or flaky skin on top of baby’s scalp. You will find a distinctive smell accompanying the cradle cap.

Q. Can I use essential oils to treat both diaper rash and cradle cap?
A. Obviously, you can! Please follow the directions mentioned above and your baby will be fine in no time!

Bottom Line

Baby problems especially colic can be very frustrating for parents.

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

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

If this article came to your help, please share this with your friends and family who may find it useful for their babies as well.

If you have any questions or confusions regarding the article, feel free to ask us.

Also, don’t forget to leave a comment in the comment section below as your comments are valuable to us.

READ MORE: 10 Baby-Calming Home Remedies for Diaper Rash