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Natural Ways To Support Breastfeeding: Weaning

As parents, we have the responsibility of making choices for the health and wellbeing of our families. One of those responsibilities is deciding when to wean from the breast. Weaning is a milestone event that can often feel very overwhelming. It happens at different times for different mothers and for different reasons. No matter the reason for weaning, it can be a very traumatic and trying time. 

Essential oils and hydrosols can help ease some of the emotional distress that goes along with weaning and help make the transition go more smoothly. 

 

Weaning Under Two Years of Age

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There are special guidelines for using essential oils with babies under the age of two. This is because their systems are so delicate and still developing. 

That doesn’t mean that you cannot use essential oils at all. However, they might not be the best choice. To help soothe and comfort baby through this emotional time, a gentle massage with lavender-infused carrier oil would be a safer alternative. This is done by infusing lavender buds into a carrier oil rather than using essential oil. Learn more by checking out our article on the Importance of Infant Massage.

Hydrosols are also a wonderful choice as they’re much more gentle than essential oils. Lavender hydrosol can be sprayed directly on the skin of a little one and massaged in to help soothe and comfort. The hydrosol can also be sprayed on the crib sheet or clothing and act as a soothing linen spray. 

 

Essential Oils & Weaning

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Should you choose to use essential oils, we would generally recommend the diffusion of a Kidsafe essential oil rather than topical application. You could diffuse an uplifting single such as Orange Sweet or a synergy such as Calming the Child for 30-60 minutes, 1-2 times a day. You can also safely diffuse when the baby is in another room.  If baby is having a tough time settling down to sleep and all other options have failed, diffusing a calming oil such as Lavender for 30-60 minutes before bedtime could help encourage your little one to relax so he or she can sleep. 

If essential oils are a must, passive diffusion would be the safest option. Using a few drops of a Kidsafe essential oil in one of our Lil’ Stinkers and placing it next to the crib would be a great way to use essential oils for babies when needed. 

Note: Essential oils can be used topically under the age of two but we would recommend reading our guidelines before doing so. In general, diffusion is a much better choice. However, limit diffusion to the occasional event for which your little one needs extra support.

 

For Kiddos Ages 2+

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Sometimes the decision to wean happens a little later in a little one’s life. If the child is over two, you can apply essential oils topically if desired. A 1-2% dilution of an essential oil such as Calming the Child could help calm the emotions that little ones are struggling with. However, in general, inhalation is still one of the best choices for emotional concerns. You might try diffusing uplifting or calming oils to help ease your kiddo through this time of transition.

 

Supporting Mom

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If anyone needs emotional support during this time, it’s moms. In general, mom can enjoy the same oils that are being used for baby! Citrus oils such as Lemon, Orange,  or Bergamot are uplifting. Use these oils in a personal inhaler or diffused to help support mom’s emotionally through this difficult time. 

Keep in mind that while mom is nursing, essential oils should not be applied to the breasts and mom should only use oils that are nursing safe. Once mom has fully weaned and baby is no longer breastfeeding, moms may also experience physical discomfort. A 1-2% dilution of essential oils such as Lavender or Copaiba could be applied to the breast to help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with weaning.

 

After Weaning

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We recommend avoiding Peppermint essential oil while breastfeeding because it could lower milk supply.  Naturally, this may lead to the question of whether Peppermint can help dry up milk once the baby has weaned. While there are no studies that can be pointed to that help support this theory, there is no reason why a mom can’t use Peppermint after baby has weaned. However, because the Peppermint can cause babies to have difficulties breathing, we would recommend applying to an area where the baby will not be able to smell or come into contact with the oil. Consider applying 1-2% dilution to the abdomen, as long as baby will have no exposure.

To help cope with the situational stress of weaning, diffusing a Kidsafe oil for 30-60 minutes, 1-2 times a day is a good choice for both mom and baby.  If mom is still breastfeeding on occasion, we would recommend sticking to Kidsafe & Nursing safe essential oils. 

No matter your reasons for weaning, do not forget to be gentle with yourself during this time. Celebrate your journey and embrace this new phase in life and what it means for you. 

 

Transition Diffuser Blend

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What you’ll need:

What you’ll do:

Combine oils in a personal inhaler and use to help ease the emotions of the transition time.

Need more help and suggestions? Feel free to email our aromatherapists at [email protected] or check out our Safe Essential Oil Recipes group on Facebook for DIY recipes and support!