By Sarena-Rae Santos, Natural Health Blogger
Breastfeeding can be a stressful stage of life. As beautiful as the bond between baby and mother can be, sometimes, things just don’t go as planned. Whether dealing with milk supply issues, the cover or not to cover the debate or simply because you’re exhausted and mama needs support, essential oils may be your go-to.
When pregnancy and breastfeeding stages occur, many families halt the use of essential oils due to so many misconceptions on the internet. I am here to tell you that although some sources claim essential oils are completely unsafe while breastfeeding, it really depends on which essential oil you’re looking at.
Of course, it’s important to remember that they do have the potential to cross over into your milk supply (1), which is why it’s important to practice essential oil safety. Many brands have breastfeeding-safe essential oil lines; I always recommend double and triple-checking all essential oil directions (even if you’ve used them before). Additionally, I recommend sticking to essential oils that are kid and breastfeeding-safe.
Some may think they’re natural, so they’re all safe. Yes, essential oils are natural, but they are also highly concentrated and can have substantial impacts. Naturopathic Pediatrics states that one drop of essential oil equals 15-40 cups of medicinal tea or up to 10 teaspoons of a tincture (2). That’s why it’s important to practice essential oil safety when using essential oils. As usual, never use essential oils internally or undiluted (3). Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
4 Breastfeeding-Safe Essential Oils
Before we dive into essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety, let’s discuss How to Safely Use Essential Oils. To use essential oils successfully, you must use them properly, so let’s discuss some dos and don’ts when it comes to essential oils.
✅ DO dilute all essential oils as directed on the bottle.
❎ DO NOT ingest essential oils.
✅ DO use essential oils topically and always dilute them.
❎ DO NOT apply directly on the skin.
✅ DO use caution around pets and children.
❎ DO NOT disregard safety information.
Now for the moment, you’ve been waiting for – some of my favorite breastfeeding-safe essential oils!
Cedarwood Essential Oil
There are several variations of cedarwood essential oil, including Atlas, Himalayan, Texas, and Virginian. All four variations are breastfeeding-safe and help promote mental focus and calm the mind. Studies have found cedarwood essential oil to have anxiolytic effects (4). It also helps balance oily skin and is a must-have for supporting and maintaining a healthy respiratory system. One study found cedarwood, alongside traditional acne treatments, alleviated and reduced stubborn breakouts (5).
Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins only has Atlas and Virginian essential oil profiles. She indicates no special precautions when using either variation (6,7). Aside from being breastfeeding-safe, Plant Therapy lists all four variations of cedarwood essential oil as safe for children, pregnancy, dogs, and horses.
With so many cedarwood options, it’s hard to choose which is the best fit. Thankfully, Plant Therapy has a great Which Cedarwood Essential Oil Should I Choose, breakdown. Atlas is well known to assist with hair loss. Himalayan helps support the body’s emotional and hormonal balance. Texas is for immune support and quieting negative thoughts. Virginian helps reduce worry and distress.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is best known for its calming and soothing properties, but it’s so much more than that. Studies suggest lavender essential oil may have analgesic or pain-relieving effects and reduce inflammation (8). Another study noted that inhaling lavender essential oil can influence vital signs and anxiety (9). Additionally, a study found lavender essential oil equivalent to lorazepam, in its starting dose, for patients with subsyndromal anxiety (10).
Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins indicates no special precautions when using lavender essential oil (11). Aside from being breastfeeding-safe, Plant Therapy lists its lavender essential oil as safe for children, pregnancy, dogs, and horses.
Have you heard rumors surrounding lavender being unsafe for pre-pubertal boys? Check out our Lavender Herbal Profile to learn the truth.
Orange Essential Oil
There are many variations of orange essential oil, but the two most popular are Blood and Sweet. Both variations are most commonly known for their wonderful uplifting, and calming scents. Studies have even noted orange essential oil’s ability to calm anxious feelings (12). It just feels like a “happy” oil! When diffused, it can help with nervous tension and sadness and improve the aroma of a stale room. It can also help support the normal function of the immune system. Studies confirm orange essential oil’s immunomodulatory effects and conclude it is effective in preventive medicine and promotes a natural and healthy lifestyle (13).
Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins indicates no special precautions when using either variation unless oxidized (14,15). Aside from being breastfeeding-safe, Plant Therapy lists their blood and sweet orange essential oils as safe for children, pregnancy, dogs, and horses.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil is an intensely sweet oil often used in romantic blends for its aphrodisiac properties. This is likely due to its β-caryophyllene content, which significantly increases the salivary concentration of testosterone, stimulating women’s libido (16). In addition to helping set a sensual mood, this excellent oil is calming, soothing, and uplifting when stress takes over. Studies have found ylang ylang helps with anxiety and self-esteem in nursing mamas (17). Ylang ylang can help encourage full-body relaxation.
Trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins notes ylang ylang essential oil may pose a moderate risk of skin sensitization and recommends a dermal maximum of 0.8% (18). Aside from being breastfeeding-safe, Plant Therapy lists their ylang ylang essential oil as safe for children, dogs, and horses but unsafe for pregnancy.
Do you love the sound of the last four essential oils mentioned but are not ready to buy four different oils? No worries, Earthley has you covered with the perfect essential oil blend. Calming Essential Oil Blend combines all four of the essential oils mentioned and is designed to promote a calm mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. They even offer an on-the-go, pre-diluted essential oil roller, Calming Essential Oil Roller. Both options are safe while breastfeeding and for children, pregnancy, dogs, and horses.