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 [email protected] 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
- .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.
30 thoughts on “Are Essential Oils Safe to Use While Breastfeeding?”
I have been passively diffusing Pumpkin Pie at work in some Hymilayn Salts thinking its not kidsafe so I wont diffuse at home, but realize the back said not pregnant/nursing safe and I am nursing. Is this ok to passively diffuse in this way?
While you’re probably completely fine with what you’ve used so far, we recommend sticking with only nursing safe oils, even with passive diffusion, until you’re done nursing.
What is unsafe in the energy synergy blend? It’s been giving m life since being pregnant and so sleepy!
It’s the Ginger Root in the Energy blend that’s not pregnancy safe. You can find a list of all our pregnancy and nursing safe oils and blends here.
Because of this blog I was able to safely introduce Plant Therapy oils to my 2 nursing daughters-in-law. They both have the downloads and are safely using the appropriate oils. Thank you Plant Therapy!
Wow, great information! This list will definitely come in handy!
Awesome info! Thanks for posting!!
If I apply an essential oil blend on myself topically such as lavendar, is it safe to be around my newborn with it or should I wash it off?
Tiana, this depends a lot of the dilution of Lavender you are wearing. We recommend for children ages 0-3 months using 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil (this makes about a 0.1 – 0.2% dilution); this is ideal if it’s for an area your newborn will have skin to skin contact with, possibly like your arms, neck, and chest. For ages 3-24 months, you can up it to 2-4 drops per ounce. If you are applying the blend to an area your baby doesn’t have contact with (legs, maybe?), then I wouldn’t be concerned about it and keep it at a dilution that is appropriate for you. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] 🙂
There a lot of questions unanswered here 🙁
My question is in regard to inhalation: are personal inhalers (not diffusing) safe for use during pregnancy and nursing?
If you’re using oils marked as safe in the chart, yes. We do not recommend them in the first trimester, however.
This blog has been a lifesaver for me and people I send to it. Thank you for the list too! So so helpful.
Great information! The info about basil and fennel was helpful, especially since its opposite of what I’ve been hearing. Thanks so much!
I just ordered Sweet Slumber for my toddlers. I’m currently nursing a 7 month old. Should I return it or avoid using it?
Thank you for the awesome printable! I’m keeping this as I’m currently nursing. 🙂
You are so welcome Lindsay!
for avocado oil, any other carrier oil I can replace as I do not have avocado oil. Than you
You can replace with a carrier oil of your choice. 🙂
I am curious, is there an oil (or blend) that can boost my milk supply?
Thanks for asking Annie. I wouldn’t advise using essential oils to boost milk supply for your sweet little one. Many of the helpful things in herbs (which can be used) do not translate to the essential oils. For this reason, it’s often said that fennel is helpful. This is the herb that people refer to. The essential oils basil & fennel can be estrogenic and should not be used with or near children. This is true even of lactating mothers, since it may transfer to the milk.
There are essential oils that can promote a peaceful nights rest and help you to relax which in turn can have a positive effect on milk supply. Some of my favorite synergies for these purposes include Roman Chamomile, Bergamot, and Neroli. You can also use our KidSafe Sweet Dreams to promote sleep or our Spring Blossoms synergy to help you relax during the day. I hope this helps!
Is peppermint contraindicated because it can reduce milk supply, or is there another reason in addition?
Thanks for asking Lauren. There are a few reasons we generally do not recommend using Peppermint while nursing, reducing your milk supply is one of them. In addition, Peppermint is not considered a KidSafe oil. Since there is the potential for the oil to cross over into your milk supply, as well as the possibility of your baby inhaling the essential oil while nursing, we generally do not recommend using it.
Is the kid safe sweet slumber safe for pregnant women?
I see Blue Tansy on the list, but thought this was not a pregnancy safe oil. Can you elaborate?
Thanks for the question Kim! Blue Tansy, also known as Tanacetum annuum, can be safely used while pregnant and while nursing. The oil you want to avoid is Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare, which is contraindicated.
Are there safe Essential Oils that can be used to help boost/encourage breast milk supply?
Can you comment on lavandin being safe for pregnancy? I thought is was to be avoided during 1st trimester? Thanks.
Sorry, I went back to the part one of this series and see that you addressed first trimester there. Thanks again for this series.
Oh dear, I thought Rosmerry was the opposite nursing safe but not.pregnant safe. I’ve been using it in my shampoo and I’m nursing. What are the effects of rosemary while nursing?