From expecting mothers to new ones that love essential oils, you may find yourself questioning how safe it may be to use them while pregnant or breastfeeding. In a previous post, we discussed safe usage while pregnant and reviewed our updated Pregnancy and Nursing Safe Chart. In this installment, we will look at using essential oils safely while nursing.
Essential Oils and Nursing
When using essential oils while nursing, it is important to keep in mind that they do have the potential to cross over into your milk supply. Normally less than 1% of the amount of oil the mother absorbs will cross over  however, “[i]t should also be remembered that infants have an undeveloped capacity for metabolism and renal excretion, and so their ability to clear [essential oils] is relatively impaired” .
With all this in mind, one must consider the following when using essential oils while nursing:
- The method of use
- The amount of essential oil used
- How often you choose to use essential oils
- How often feeding occurs and in what volume
- Duration of use
- Your baby’s age and health
The more often we use essential oils, the longer the duration of use, the higher the dilution rate and the amount of absorption, the more essential oils have the potential to transfer to our milk supply. This can in turn affect our little ones. You can safely use essential oils while nursing, we just recommend keeping your dilution rates low, only using your oils as needed, and using essential oils that are safe for children and breastfeeding. Essential oils should not be applied directly to the chest or breasts while nursing.
If your little one has health issues or is premature please email an Aromatherapist directly at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can offer guidelines and recommendations specific to your needs.
Check out the recipe below for a soothing and nourishing nipple balm.
What you’ll need:
- 2.5 oz Shea Butter Refined
- 1 oz Argan Carrier Oil
- 0.5 oz Avocado Carrier Oil
- 0.5 oz Solid Coconut Oil
- 0.5 oz Vitamin E
What you’ll do:
Over a double boiler, on medium, mix and melt all ingredients. Pour melted mixture into 2-ounce tin containers. Allow to harden and use as needed.
 Smith, Anne. “Drugs and Breastfeeding” Breastfeeding Basics., Retrieved 10 October 2016. https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/drugs-and-breastfeeding
 Tisserand, R., & Young, R. (2014). Essential Oil Safety (2nd ed.). Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.