Essential oils seem to be everywhere lately, right? As a Lactation Consultant and an Aromaterapist I get questions almost weekly about what oils are safe to use while nursing since there seems to be so much contradictory information out there.
So, let’s keep this as simple as we can okay?
The number one oil you want to use caution with while breastfeeding is peppermint. Some women don’t see a huge drop in their milk supply when it is used but, many do. This includes ingesting peppermint as well as applying topically or even diffusing it.
Now, let’s move on to the fun stuff- how you can use essential oils while breastfeeding! First rule is that I don’t suggest putting oils directly onto your nipples because this can cause nipple aversion for baby if they don’t enjoy the taste or if the smell is just a little too strong. The only caveat is when you are treating cracked nipples, in which case you will want to gently wipe off your nipples before feeding.
Second rule I have is to always dilute your essential oils before using them. Why? Because they are powerful! Women’s bodies often react differently during pregnancy, postpartum, and lactation than they do normally. I always prefer to err on the side of caution during these times, because who wants to deal with a skin reaction when they are also dealing with something like cracked nipples, right?
With that said, some of my favorite oils to use to increase milk supply are clary sage, fennel (do not use longer than 10 days at a time), basil, and geranium. You can use any of these along with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil.
More Milk Blend
2 drops fennel
4 drops of clary sage
add to 10ml roller bottle
fill to top with fractionated coconut oil
Apply to breast excluding nipple area after nursing (to encourage milk flow for next feeding)
Essential oils are also helpful when you experience cracked nipples. Of course, the cause for the cracked nipples should always be addressed as well (oftentimes a bad latch is to blame). Just put a teaspoon or so of olive oil in your palm and add a drop of lavender essential oil, rub palms together to mix and add a little warmth, and apply to nipple area after a feeding.
10 drops Melaleuca
10 drops Lavender
5 drops Roman Chamomile
Mix with 2 tablespoons of fractionated coconut oil
Massage from armpits toward the nipple area
I think that relaxation and comfort are also a huge factor in successful breastfeeding, so don’t forget to implement some relaxing self-care routines during postpartum. One of my favorites for new moms is a relaxing bath. Make sure you close any windows and doors (anything that could cause a chill). Start filling the bath with warm water and apply 4-6 drops of lavender or wild orange (or both) essential oil to the walls of the shower/bathtub. You will experience the oils diffusing into the air because of the warmth of the room, and it’s heavenly! When my little guy was just a week old I did this and brought him into the bath will me. I just supported his little head and let his body float in the water and he seemed like the most relaxed baby on the planet, it was such a great relaxing bonding time for us both. Give it a try; I am sure you will find similar results!
Essential oils, when used properly can greatly enhance the breastfeeding and overall postpartum experience. So, give it a try! Integrate these powerful little drops into your life today.
written By April Kurtyka, IBCLC, Aromatherapist
April has had the joy of helping hundreds of new families in the past 13 years that she has been in the birthing field. April has worked as a prenatal educator and IBCLC (Lactation Consultant); she now focuses her time on placenta encapsulation, aromatherapy, and her 3 beautiful children. If you have questions or need help finding the highest quality essential oils please visit www.ApriltheAromatherapist.com or email April at ApriltheAromatherapist@gmail.com.
Copyright© 2015 Danielle Gauss, IBCLC – JustBreastFeeding.com. All Rights Reserved
I just launched my new Breastfeeding Video Series and book, The Booby Fairy's Guide To Breastfeeding. If you enjoyed this post, then I predict you will love the book and the video series. Please check them out.