If you’re a new mommy, then you most probably have been given (often unsolicited) advice to have Aceite de Manzanilla for baby. According to Moms, Grandmas, aunts, and elder neighbors, this “miracle” manzanilla oil in a small bottle would come in handy when your baby gets colicky or inexplicably cranky come nighttime.
What can you read in this article?
- Is Aceite de Manzanilla oil effective?
- Risk factors of applying manzanilla on babies
But you must wonder: is it really effective? Is it even safe to use with your precious little one?
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Millennial moms hardly have any idea what it truly is, hence the doubt and fear that it will cause more harm than good.
“My mother-in-law handed me two bottles—Aceite Alcanforado and Aceite de Manzanilla oil—and told me these two are a must-have for her newborn grandchild,” shares new mommy, Stella. These are two names she has never heard before.
Still, she took the bottles and read the labels. There she saw that manzanilla oil is actually a blend of chamomile and citronella oils, which are essential oils that do work miracles on illnesses. Aceite Alcanforado is for cold relief, and Aceite de Manzanilla oil is for stomach pain and digestive problems, and also has a calming effect on colicky babies.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla o Chamaemelum nobile)
Image from Freepik
German chamomile and Roman chamomile are two essential oils that have calming and soothing effects on babies and children who are having a hard time sleeping. Chamomile oil is extracted from the flowers of the chamomile plant, which is very popular as a flowering plant.
Chamomile is an ancient medicinal herb that contains medicinal properties with natural calming and soothing effects, which can be effective for irritable, angry, very young children; while German chamomile is effective in curing inflammation and skin irritation on adults.
Chamomile has often been used for insomnia in both children and adults. According to a medical article called Roman Chamomile Essential Oil Benefits & Uses, written by nutrition counselor at certified health coach, Christine Ruggeri, chamomile, combined with lavender, becomes more effective for colic in babies.
Is Aceite de Manzanilla oil effective?
Image from Freepik
“As a first-time mom, I could not understand why my four-day old baby was crying. She was crying nonstop for almost an hour, until an older mommy friend came to the rescue, tapped baby’s tummy and said that she had colic.
She rubbed a few drops of Aceite de Manzanilla on my child’s tummy and then, like a miracle, she stopped crying. We’ve had this small bottle of Aceite de Manzanilla ever since,” shared Mommy Camille.
Aceite de Manzanilla and its “healing powers” is not a myth. It’s one of the most natural essential oils that is effective and safe for babies and children.
Here are some Aceite de Manzanilla uses for newborn:
- When used as topical oil that is massaged and rubbed gently on the skin (about 2 to 4 drops, particularly the back and the baby’s tummy), chamomile has calming and soothing effects that relieve stomach pain, gas, and other digestive problems, including some skin conditions and inflammation.
A study published in 2013 titled Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, explains that chamomile and citronella oils in manzanilla can also help in anxiety and depression. According to the study, these essential oils can calm the nerves and lower anxiety levels, even in babies.
When applied on the skin, the baby can inhale and smell the oil, and the brain directly receives the signals, and there is immediate emotional trigger to calm down.
- Chamomile in manzanilla oil contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, that can effectively flush out phlegm and decongest the chest and airway.
- Chamomile in manzanilla oil can also calm crying and cranky babies, especially if the cause for crying is stomach pain. It also helps lower high-grade fever.
- For a good night’s sleep, you only need to apply 2 drops of manzanilla onto the baby’s temple. For older children and adults, you can gently rub up to 4 drops on the temple for a cooling effect, immediate relaxation and help in staying asleep.
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Risk factors of applying manzanilla on babies
However, some pediatricians would advise against the use of Aceite de Manzanilla on infants. In fact, according to Dr. Barbara Manio, a pediatrician from Asian Hospital and Medical Center, the comfort that a baby feels when this medicine is applied on his tummy may be attributed to something else.
When a baby has colic, the main thing that helps him calm down is getting the air bubbles out of his digestive tract, either by changing his position or applying warmth. This may be what is responsible for easing baby’s pain and discomfort.
“‘Yong pagpahid ng manzanilla, kapag pinapahid mo kasi siya, namamassage mo rin si baby. “‘Yong massage, ‘yon ang nakakapag-improve dun.
Kapag nilagay mo siya sa tiyan, medyo warm siya. ‘Yong warmth, ‘yon ang nakakapagbigay ng comfort kay baby,” said Dr. Manio.
She added that one of the danger of applying manzanilla on your baby’s skin lies in the ingredients. Aceite de Manzanilla contains essential oils, which some babies with sensitive skin are allergic to.
“Ang danger dun, maraming bata ang allergic sa manzanilla kasi topical siya.” she said.
Another pediatrician, Dr. Maria Belen Vitug Sales, from Makati Medical Center, agreed that manzanilla might not be good for infants with sensitive skin.
“Ang sa akin lang kapag hinilot natin, puwedeng gumamit ng ordinary oil. Kasi minsan kapag ginamitan natin ng manzanilla, masyadong mainit, matapang, they get allergy. Their skin gets so red and they get allergic reaction sa manzanilla,” she said.
Another important warning: for babies with G6PD, doctors advise against using any mentholated oil or product, and this includes manzanilla. Consult your doctor first before using anything on your baby with G6PD.
Other ways to soothe baby’s colic
While a lot of older moms swear by the calming effect of manzanilla in soothing a fussy, colicky baby, there are other safer ways that you can try such as:
- Giving baby a warm bath followed by a gentle massage.
- More frequent feedings or change in the breastfeeding position of baby
- Changing the atmosphere in the room; eliminate light and noise
- For bottle fed babies, make sure that you put the right amount of formula milk and water to prevent indigestion. Also try using bottle teats that are recommended for colicky babies.
- A change in environment; take baby out for a walk and carry him in an upright position.
- Wrapping baby in a blanket or swaddling him will help get the air bubbles out of his tummy.
- Try putting a moist towel (dipped in lukewarm water) on top baby’s tummy.
- Baby bicycle exercise; while baby is lying down, lift his legs and move them around like he is riding a bicycle.
When to go for a checkup?
While these tips may help soothe baby, there are still some instances that need medical attention. Bring your colicky baby to the doctor if :
- He continues to be fussy despite trying other home remedies to soothe him
- He is not feeding well
- He is not gaining weight
- He has diarrhea or could not poop because of constipation
- He is displaying signs of dehydration (no tears, less pee, dry lips)
- He gets an allergic reaction to manzanilla or another home remedy for colic
Your baby’s first few months are crucial, so if he is crying nonstop, being extra fussy or you notice something different about him, don’t hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician.
MayoClinic, MedicineHealth, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2013), Roman Chamomile Essential Oil Benefits & Uses by Christine Ruggeri, CHHC
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