natural sleep remedies for babies

Natural Sleep Remedies For Babies

Babies under the age of one can be incredibly difficult to put down for a nap or bedtime. While it may seem like something is wrong, this is perfectly normal. Babies during this period of their lives are still developing their normal sleeping cycles as well as adapting to a completely new environment.  

The tips we provide about how to get them to sleep can potentially help so if they work amazing but if they don’t it’s okay you are not doing anything wrong. Every baby is different.


What is Colic and How Does It Impact Sleep?

Colic can be an extremely distressing issue for parents. Baby and infant colic is defined as inconsolable crying episodes. Part of the definition is a timeline known as the “rule of three”: this means 3 hours of crying a day, for more than 3 days a week and longer for 3 weeks in a baby or infant that is well-fed and is in good health. The occurrence of colic in infants and babies can vary from 5-25%.

One potential reason for colic could be due to discomfort stemming from digestive issues. This condition can be very difficult for sleep as many babies that suffer from colic cannot fall asleep completely flat. 

Colic will go away on its own! Colic has the highest frequency in the first 6 weeks of age (17-25%), then at 8-9 weeks of age it drops to 11% and lastly at 10-12 weeks it becomes 0.6%.

 

Natural Sleep Remedies For Babies

The tips provided will specifically address natural sleep remedies for babies under the age of one. Before you decide to incorporate these remedies into your baby’s daily routine please talk with your pediatrician. Despite contacting your pediatrician, remember that you are the expert of your baby


Herbal Teas

There are two teas that can help your baby sleep better and for different reasons. These teas should only be used for babies over the age of 6 months. The reason behind this is because babies under 6 months are still developing their liver and kidneys which are responsible for handling the tea.

The only thing they should have during this time period is breast milk or formula milk as it is carefully designed to have the optimal electrolyte and mineral balance. Feeding your baby anything else during this time period could put them at risk of nutrient deficiencies. 


"It can feel like a minefield trying to find information about what is safe for my baby".

 

When we were writing this post, the amount of information out there can be a headache for anyone! That being said, we condensed this information into very relevant tips that could be valuable to your baby’s sleep. 

Whenever you are looking for tea, especially herbal tea, the most important thing is to ensure they do not have caffeine, that they are unsweetened and that your baby is not allergic to them. Another thing many new parents may not know is that you should not give your young baby honey! 

Honey can contain a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum that can be dangerous to your developing infant. The reason adults can eat honey and not succumb to this bacteria is because our immune system is fully developed.


Chamomile Tea

Sleep Aid: Chamomile is widely regarded as a sleep-inducer which can be attributed to several antioxidants that it possesses. The antioxidant that causes sleep is apigenin as it binds to receptors in the brain causing calming effects. 

Colic Aid: In a study conducted on 68 healthy infants, chamomile tea was able to eliminate colic in 57% of them! Fixing colic symptoms is a win-win as it helps your baby sleep while also reducing your stress. 

Improved Digestion: Chamomile tea can aid in digestion reducing acid reflux. It has been used to treat many digestive issues such as flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, motion sickness, nausea and vomiting. Digestive issues can be a source of false starts or night time awakenings


Fennel Tea

Colic Aid: Fennel tea at a dose of 150ml 3 times a day has been shown to reduce crying in infants with colic symptoms. The reduction in colic symptoms can be very helpful for improving your baby’s sleep quality and duration. 

Improved Digestion: If your baby does not suffer from colic symptoms, this herbal tea can still be beneficial at improving sleep by fixing potential digestion issues. However, when looking for fennel tea products ensure that they do not have sugar or alcohol. The last thing you need is a baby that’s had too much sugar! 


Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used in the treatment of health for thousands of years yet it seems like the industry just sprouted up yesterday! There seems to be a lot of confusion and controversy around the use of essential oils. You have certain groups of people claiming they can cure cancer while others claim that they are a “glorified placebo”. As with anything, the truth lies somewhere in between so if you do decide to use essential oils to help with sleep remember three main things.


Dilute The Oils

Undiluted oils can be very strong and can harm babies as their organs are still developing and won’t be able to handle it the same way we can. 

A recommendation by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, is that the oil should be diluted to a ratio of 0.5 to 1 percent.

 

Conduct A Patch Test

A patch test is used to test for allergies. The reason you should conduct a simple at home patch test is because if your baby is allergic to any of these oils then the reaction is very mild. 

The way to conduct this test is to apply a couple drops of the diluted essential oil to your baby’s leg or arm. After waiting for 24 hours, check the site you applied the oil to. If the site is red, inflamed or painful for your baby then it could be indicative of an allergic reaction. 


Baby’s Age

If you use essential oils do not use them on babies under 3 months old as it could harm their development. 

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s discuss the methods and types of essential oils that you can use if you choose to. 

 

Types Of Essential Oils That Are Baby Safe

Lavender Oil

Research has shown that aromatic therapy using lavender has the ability to increase melatonin levels (a hormone responsible for sleep onset and duration) allowing the promotion of sleep.


Chamomile Oil

Chamomile can be an effective sleep aid, colic aid and digestive aid. The natural soothing properties of this oil has been used to treat insomnia in both babies as well as adults.


Safe Methods To Give Your Baby Essential Oils

In A Diffuser

Diffusing an essential oil can be an effective alternative to artificial air fresheners however, similar to a patch test, always double check that it does not irritate your baby. You can check if it's an irritant by diffusing a small amount of the oil into the room and seeing if your baby has a reaction.  


In A Massage

Massages can be done with or without essential oils. If they are done with lavender and chamomile oils it can only add to the benefits of infant massages. There are three main benefits of giving your baby a massage:

Benefit 1: Massages have been shown to increase the bond between mothers and babies. 

Benefit 2: Massages can help relieve gas and constipation that your baby has built up due to poor digestion. 

Benefit 3: Consistent nightly massages have been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce the number of night time awakenings and improve bedtime ease in infants 3-18 months old. The study even found benefits related to the mother’s quality of sleep and daytime mood!

We would not recommend using it in baths as your baby could accidentally ingest the essential oil in the water.


Consumption-Free Solutions

Pacifier 

The role that pacifiers play in baby sleep onset is not fully understood; however, pacifiers have been shown to play an important role in preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

 

To prevent SIDS, your baby’s bed should be as empty as a candy store the day before Halloween!”

 

Darkness

Sleeping in complete darkness is an effective strategy for babies of all ages. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of blackout curtains for your nursery or if you are interested in learning more about how darkness can help get your baby to sleep without being held, click the respective links!


Now We Want To Hear From You!

Which tip have you tried? Are there any tips that we missed?

Did any of these homeopathic natural sleep remedies surprise you? What was the biggest surprise?

 

Leave a comment down below!



Citations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
https://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0815/p735.html
https://naha.org/index.php/explore-aromatherapy/safety/ 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31780012/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29101776/

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