So a couple of weeks ago Loulou caught a cold. In one of those mama groups on facebook I found out that a health food store had 50% off of all essential oils and a couple of moms were talking about how you can make a natural vicks (vapor rub) alternative for babies. I went to said store and bought about a million different essential oils, to make all sorts of natural concoctions. I am compulsive and passionate like that.
I made a very simple vapor rub using coconut oil and some essential oils. I knew I should only rub it on her feet and then put socks on, so that she wouldn’t lick her feet and ingest any of it. After using it on her a few times, her breathing was significantly easier. Then I read that you are not supposed to use essential oils on babies under one, but it turns out that this is a safety precaution and if you dilute them enough and your baby shows no sensitivity, you should be fine. I am just mentioning it here, in case your little one turns out to be more sensitive than Loulou.
It is important to never rub the chest or back of babies with your DIY vapor rub, as the essential oil vapors can cause irritation to their respiratory system and aggravate their breathing.
DIY Baby-safe Vapor Rub
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 3 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops thyme essential oil
- 3 drops lemon essential oil
Just warm up the coconut oil, so that it becomes liquid, but not too warm, and pour in the essential oils. If the coconut oil becomes too warm, you will lose part of the essential oils as they will evaporate. Store in a cool and dry place, in a glass container. You can rub your baby’s feet with every diaper change (or every 3-4 hours) until they start breathing better.
Here are a few more things you can do, to help your little one (or yourself, if you have a cold) feel better:
- elevate the top part of their mattress, by putting a pillow underneath. It is important to put the pillow underneath and not allow the baby to sleep with a pillow directly under their head, as this is suffocation hazard.
- cut an onion in half, put it in a bowl of boiling water and next to their bed. Does that really help? I have no clue. It’s probably just folklore, but in combination with the other methods I used, Loulou got better within two days.
- a bit more folklore: crash two garlic cloves and put them next to the baby’s bed.
- make sure they stay hydrate by offering the breast/formula/water (after six months) often.
- run a hot shower and let them inhale the steam.
- put a wet towel with two drops eucalyptus essential oil on the radiator in the room where the baby sleeps. Don’t put more essential oil, as it can cause the opposite effect (breathing difficulties).
Since I had all these essential oils at hand, I got all creative and decided to make my own massage oil. I have read on an article a few months back how irritating it is that baby oils write with very small font on the package that you should make sure your baby doesn’t ingest them. If you have a baby, you know that they just LOVE putting their hands on their mouths and of course they touch their whole body when you massage them with baby oil. Therefore, most commercial baby oils are the devil. And it’s super easy and fun to make your own. Here is how I did it:
DIY Baby-safe massage oil and diaper cream (cloth diaper safe)
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 3 drops lavender essential oil (it makes babies sleepy. It truly does!)
- 4 tablespoons cocoa butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Obviously you can play around with the amounts, but that combination gave me a nice, spreadable texture and it is very hydrating. At the same time, it gets absorbed fast. I didn’t add more essential oils because inevitably Loulou will lick her hands, so I didn’t want to risk it.
I realize my post is not christmas-y at all, but babies catch colds now and once the festivities are over and your third cousins’s snotty baby licks your baby in the face and turns them into a snotty mess as well, you will thank me for this post.