I love lavender because it is a gentle herb, and because I have had a baby or toddler in the house for nearly ten years. I love using herbs but I don’t always feel good about using them with babies. For example, I like to use strong White Camphor oil when I make my vapor rub, but it is considered to be much too strong to use with little ones. So that’s my first use of lavender.
1) Vapor Rub – my regular recipe for vapor rub calls for a mixture of eucalyptus oil, camphor oil, and lavender. When I make the rub for my dear hubby, I make it heavy on the camphor. But when I make it for the little children I omit the camphor and double the lavender. Next time I am going to add rosemary, too. Don’t believe it works? Guess what Vick’s uses in their baby vapor rub? Go ahead and Google it – I’ll wait!
2) Go to sleep baths – have a fussy little one that doesn’t like to sleep? Me, too. I add a few drops of lavender to a very warm baths to make a soothing, restful atmosphere that help calm baby down. It really only takes a few drops. Make sure you keep a very close eye on baby because they will fall asleep in the tub – I have had this happen. Guess what herb Johnson and Johnson advertises as being enriched in their popular bedtime lotion?
3) Baby Powder – I use ground lavender flowers as a soothing agent to help fight diaper rash in my homemade baby powder. The base I use is a combination of arrowroot powder and kaolin clay. I sometimes add finely ground ground calendula flowers, too, for strong diaper rash, because calendula is reputed to be antibiotic and would help prevent infections. You can see my recipe for making baby powder here.
4) Keeping clothes fresh – A sachet of lavender is a wonderful way to keep baby’s clothes smelling sweet and fresh. Try lavender as a safer, gentler alternative to moth balls (which smell nasty and are potent).
5) Safe Cleaning – I add about 20 drops of lavender oil to a small bottle of vinegar to make an excellent, safe cleaning solution for counters, high chairs, sinks, and the like. The smell of the vinegar will fade but the lavender will linger and you won’t feel bad spraying this around the little ones.
6) Headache Care – A little lavender on the temples is a gentle and effective headache relief solution. I use this myself – sometimes even just a little whiff out of the bottle makes me feel better right away. Your children will appreciate the gentle care of the combination of touch and aromatherapy.
7) Gentle insect repellent – lavender is one of the very few essential oils that is considered safe enough to dab right on skin, but when I use it with my child I still like to use a carrier oil. You can add the lavender oil to plain old vegetable oil, a carrier oil that you love, or you can buy witch hazel (which is a wonderfully mild antiseptic to have on hand) from the first aid section of a local store.
One more I almost forgot is Wound healing – Lavender is one of the main ingredients in my healing salve, which is one of my favorite recipes and for some reason I have not posted it yet. I will be posting the recipe soon.
If you don’t have lavender on hand or a local source, try Mountain Rose Herbs! This is where I usually buy mine.
Lavender Essential Oil – a one ounce bottle will last you a LONG time, but buy a small bottle if you just want to try it
Lavender Flowers – buy them whole to use in sachets or buy them powered to use in baby powder. I buy them whole so that I can use them for both, and powder them myself. I usually only buy a 4 oz bag but I don’t make very many sachets. If you have a lot of clothes to sweeten, you might buy more.
Witch Hazel – only $5 a 16 ounce bottle at the time of this writing – great deal for a simple, versatile carrier. You may be able to find a better deal locally.
Please remember – I am not giving medical advice or telling you to do anything to your family. I am sharing recipes and ideas that work with my family. Always test essential oils in very small amounts before using them with your family, as there may be individual sensitivities or allergies.