Happy Mother’s Day! Today I am very excited to welcome my childhood friend, Ashley Higgins, to the blog to talk to us about Essential Oils. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has been looking at all of these recipes on Pinterest for DIY soaps, deodorants, bath bombs, etc. They all seem to have one thing in common. Essential Oils. I have been so interested, but so overwhelmed by all of it, so I asked Ashley if she could write a guest post about a few of the ways she uses them with her baby girl. After reading her post, I immediately emailed her back and bought the starter kit. Well, I had my husband buy it for me for Mother’s Day. I just received it and I am SO excited! Take it away, Ash!
Babies require a lot of stuff, am I right mamas? I mean, when was the last time you went to the grocery story and didn’t buy something for your little one? Probably the week before she was born (or even before that!). When my daughter was born, I quickly realized how much stuff we put in and on her body. And then I started paying attention to all of the ingredients in those baby products. Yikes.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am a very big fan of modern medicine. I am close to remission with Crohn’s disease thanks to modern medicine, I had a baby via Cesarean section thanks to modern medicine, and we get by with a little help from our OTC friends when a fever kicks in. But when it came to all of the products that get us through our day, I knew I wanted to try a more natural and holistic route. Why? Because I’m convinced that we don’t need all of those products chock-full of unnatural chemicals to get by… and you know what? I’ve found that to be increasingly true.
My friend, Christian, had been using Young Living Essential Oils for over a year when I started talking to her about the ways she used them, the benefits she saw from them, and the ways they might help us take care of our little one. She eventually sold me on the idea and helped me grab a Premium Starter Kit so I could try out a bunch of oils and a diffuser. It’s been a little bit life-changing. (Dramatic much? Yep. True? Shockingly yes!)
Now, I’m not a totally all-natural mama. But I have discovered some things I could swap out of our “taking care of a small human” regimen that make what’s going in and on her body a little more natural, healthy, and holistic.
Here are some of my favorites:
Homemade Diaper Cream
About 13 months into putting petroleum jelly, a by-product of petroleum (as in, the stuff that makes gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil), on her bottom every night to keep her diaper-rash free, I realized that, well the stuff is used to make gasoline, kerosene, and diesel oil. Oh dear heavens. Again. I’m not allergic to normal things that normal people use. I use the same stuff every once in awhile on my feet to keep them nice and soft but every.night.on.my.child? No thank you. Enter stage left: a homemade cream made of coconut oil, shea butter, beeswax, Lavender oil, and vitamin E. Y’all. It’s amazing. And I know exactly what is in it. Score.
This one comes close to tipping the scales to “I am officially a crazy lady,” but since we already do cloth diapers about 75% of the time (again, I can’t with the all-natural all the time), I was happy to have something to add to the diaper load in the washing machine that never looks full enough to justify using that much water. Also. No one needs 2,700 baby washcloths (especially if you only bathe your baby every other night on a good week… not that that’s us or anything). These things are AWESOME, versatile, and they smell really lovely. Witch hazel, vitamin E drops, Lavender oil, liquid castille soap, 5 minutes. Boom. #winning
Bathtime Smelly Goodness
On the every other day that we do bathe our child, we pass on the overly scented bath gels and pop a couple of drops of Lavender oil or Gentle Baby oil (also known as “turns the baby into the sweetest little angel ever” oil) and a little bit of Epsom salt (it helps disperse the oil) into the water to help calm her down and transition to bedtime.
This is the one I feel more strongly about than others (well, maybe not the gasoline). There’s been a lot of research recently that suggests that many of the teething gels we’ve used before actually have some pretty yucky stuff in them. And as opposed to things that we put on our babies, things that go directly into their bodies are an even bigger deal. So check this out: Copaiba oil (co-pah-ee-buh, you’re welcome) comes from the bark of a tree and has long been known for its health-boosting properties (aka, great for teething relief). We dilute this bad boy with fractionated coconut oil and rub it on our little one’s gums and honest to goodness, it works every time. (Kali talks more about coconut oil here.)We also rub Lavender oil (see a theme here?) on her jawline for a little added relief and calm.
And this one! Y’all, all of those Citronella candles and bug sprays that have all.kinds.of.other.things in them?? You can make them yo’ self– without ANY of that unnecessary nonsense involved. Citronella oil (yes, it smells exactly like that one glorious summer, with that job at the snow cone place, and that teenage crush), witch hazel, Peppermint oil, and Lavender oil. BOOM. Spray it on your little one and yourself and party like it’s not 98 degrees with 75% humidity outside. Bless our hearts.
Do I use essential oils for anything other than my baby?
I make a lot of things: Chapstick, lotion, dishwasher detergent tablets (because we’ve all seen the articles written by poor parents whose kids accidentally ate one of the those that look like candy– and they totally look like something your two year old self would want to put in your mouth, don’t lie), cleaner for my counters, the bathtub, in my steam cleaner (our house is almost entirely carpet), etc.
I also use them just as they are to promote a healthy immune system (I see you, fellow sister on that immunosuppressant drug trying not to catch #allthethings from that tiny toddling germ spreader you birthed), to help me kick it into high gear when I just need to get stuff done, to keep my head clear, and yes, sometimes just to smell good. We diffuse them in our house when the cloth diapers are a day past due for a wash and in place of candles (there is an oil called Christmas Spirit that I can’t even…). My husband uses a blend of oils on his not-so-rough-anymore beard, Thieves oil in his morning tea to keep him well, and even Young Living dental floss (honestly, it was just cheaper than what I can buy at the grocery store).
And don’t even get me going on the next time I’m pregnant, Lord willing. Let’s just say pregnancy #1 was not a good look over here. No one ever told me: “You are just glowing!” It may or may not be true that the only thing getting me through the idea of carrying another tiny human in my body for nine months, which would be a huge privilege and gift, is knowing that I’ll have an arsenal of essential oils on my side.
At the end of the day, I want to take better care of our bodies, I want to do better for my family, I kind of want to stick it to the man (I’m an 8 on the Enneagram if that means anything to you), and I want other mamas and daddies to know that they can do the same.
Here’s what I know: we are all just trying to do well by our kids, amiright? Sometimes that even translates to doing well by ourselves, even though let’s be honest, some days we don’t even brush our teeth until 5P.M. Or is that just me?
I don’t do it all:
- Sometimes I feed my child the chicken raised with more hormones than an 8th grade girl;
- My toothpaste has fluoride in it (*gasp*);
- I just might use the most powerful weed killer the outdoor store down the street sells if the one I’m working on doesn’t kill the #@&*%$ weeds in my driveway;
- And I’ll never ever stop eating sour gummy worms with all of their artificial goodness for as long as I live.
BUT. I have been surprised by the easy ways I’ve been able to swap good things for really great things in our home that go in and on our bodies (and that we can actually do it on a budget). I can’t protect my little one from most things in this world (oh, the state of this world…) but I can do something. With a lot of Jesus and some essential oils along the way, I think she just might make it and if we’re lucky, she might just make a little tiny difference in this crazy ole’ world. And that’s all we really hope for our kids, isn’t it?
Already an oiler and want to share your favorite oily recipes? Have questions? Want to hop on the oils train with me?? Talk to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org. We have the most fun team of friends (including Kali now!) who use oils in the entire world and would love to have you join us. Here is a link to check out the starter kit if you’re interested.
Happy oiling, friends!