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Essential Oils for Nursing Moms
Guest Post by Allison Shorter
Essential oils are wonderful for so many things including cleaning your home, cosmetic use and treating injuries. However, there is some debate among professionals about essential oil use for pregnant and nursing moms.
Let’s look at essential oil use if you are one of these women.
My Story Before Essential Oils
When my first baby was 3 days old, I was trying to nurse her. She was grumpy and losing weight. I was tired, my breasts hurt so badly, and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to nurse her. This, of course, really upset me!
My mom and husband accompanied me to the lactation consultant’s office.
She explained that my milk was coming in, which caused discomfort for me and hunger for my baby. She talked me through the process and by the time we left her office, my baby had nursed, and I felt much better!
We settled into a routine, and I was able to nurse my daughter for a year.
This was 13 years ago – before essential oils were even really heard of.
If I were still having babies, I would do my homework and have some specific oils on hand.
I know now that using essential oils would have helped me, and my baby, adjust to nursing. We both would have been more comfortable during the whole process.
Before We Begin…
First of all, it is advised that you be under the care of a midwife, lactation consultant, or doctor, depending on where you are in your mothering journey. Please ask them if you have concerns about using essential oils.
Secondly, if you are using pure therapeutic grade oils, there really should not be much problem using many of the essential oils.
My family only uses doTERRA essential oils because they are the highest quality.
DoTerra oils have been through testing to ensure each bottle is CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade)
You should always use pure grade oils, not ones from the store. The ones you buy while shopping can be laden with chemicals and toxins that are not only harmful to you but also your baby.
Third, it’s best to start with a small amount of oil to see how your body responds. Then add a little more essential oil slowly if you need to, and you are reacting okay.
Now that we know about the importance of safe oils let’s talk about how to use them.
Essential Oils for Nursing Moms
Just like me, you may have experienced reduced milk supply for some reason. Or you may be preparing to start breastfeeding soon, and you want to be sure you will have enough milk once your baby is born.
Thankfully there are some essential oils to help with this!
The three main oils I recommend are:
- Fennel, which promotes milk production. It can also prevent clogged ducts, infection, and thrush.
- Clary Sage promotes milk supply and can help with balancing your hormones and boosting your mood.
- Clary sage is different than sage, which decreases milk supply.
- Lavender also promotes milk supply as well as prevents and heals tender breasts, nipples, and clogged milk ducts.
- Other essential oils that can help with milk production are basil, cardamom, dill, geranium, and jasmine.
You can apply 1 or 2 of these oils topically on the upper part of the breast 1-2 times daily. After 3 or 4 days you should be up to a good amount of milk.
AVOID Peppermint essential oil as it can decrease milk supply. Avoid blends with peppermint in them, too.
Essential Oils for Sore/Cracked Nipples
Nursing can be a lot of fun, but as we know, there are difficult things that can happen as well. Sore, cracked, or dry nipples can occur, unfortunately.
Be prepared with these essential oils when they need attention. They are some of the best oils for skin support:
If you have any of these oils on hand, try rubbing it on your nipples right after nursing. Mix together with coconut oil or another carrier oil. These can aid with healing and discomfort.
Rinse your nipples before the next feeding so your baby doesn’t ingest any of the oil.
Other essential oils that can help are
Essential Oils for Peace and Rest
Are you always tired, or having a hard time sleeping?
As new moms know, this is one of the most challenging things about having a newborn.
Here are some ideas to help you sleep when you get a chance. These are all calming oils and safe for your baby:
You can diffuse a few drops of the oil, which can calm you and your baby. Alternatively, you can put a drop of one oil on your big toes before lying down to sleep.
And if you are looking for a blend, I recommend doTERRA’s Peace, Balance, or Serenity. All of these can be rolled onto your feet or back of the neck.
Essential Oils to Avoid While Nursing
Each mom is responsible for doing her homework to figure out what is right for her.
Generally, if the oil is strong or a “hot” oil, it should not be used.
If you don’t like the oil close to your eyes and face, then neither would your baby.
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are a few essential oils that are generally agreed upon that should not be used while nursing.
- Peppermint, as it is strong and can reduce milk supply.
These oils have a very strong smell and should only be used if necessary. If you do use them they should be diluted with coconut oil and only used on your feet. Wearing socks will help minimize the scent.
It’s generally best to try milder oils first and only use the stronger oils if needed.
Wintergreen should be avoided unless it is in a blend like Deep Blue. It is okay in small amounts and not near baby’s face.
Avoid GX Assist or other things that detox you. It is believed that toxins can come out in your milk.
Some people think that ingesting mild essential oils like lavender and chamomile are fine while nursing and others do not.
My best advice is if you want to try a drop in tea or water, that’s fine. Just know that it can flavor your milk, so keep an eye on your baby to see if he/she seems to mind. If they don’t like it, then don’t ingest even mild oils anymore.
Ingesting strong oils may not be the best idea just for baby’s preference.
Essential Oils for Emotional Support
Many moms need emotional support in the days and weeks after delivery. Hormones are raging, we are tired, the baby is crying, and it’s enough to keep even the most stable, calm person on edge.
Thankfully there are also essential oils for this, too!
For postpartum support, some good essential oils that are considered safe for you and the baby include:
Several citrus oils are uplifting and energizing as well. These include:
If you would like to read more or see my inspiration for some of this article, you can look at my Pinterest board here.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Allison Shorter and her family live in Colorado where they enjoy hiking, healthy living, and homeschooling. They lived in China for almost 4 years where they started a non-profit to help teenaged orphan girls with jobs, life skills, and sex trafficking prevention. Since being back in the US, her mission is to educate others about an overall healthy lifestyle including marriage, family, essential oils, and general wellness.
Essential Oils for Nursing Moms
Andrea Tran RN, MA, IBCLC
Andrea has been working with new families as an RN for over 35 years and a Lactation Consultant for over 25 years.
She has her MA in Health and Wellness with a focus in Lactation.