Posts in Living well
gentle baby | how to safely use essential oils around your children
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The younger the child, the more sensitive and delicate they are. A baby’s skin absorbs products more easily, their immune, respiratory and central nervous system isn’t yet fully developed and their sense of smell is different than ours. Although I’d recommend you to get your hands on good literature to support healthy essential oil usage (Essential Oil Safety, The Complete Book of Essential Oils for Mama and Baby and Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child are good ones) and talk to a professional, here’s a post on how you and your children can safely enjoy the amazing benefits of essential oils!


WHERE TO START:

  • DO YOUR RESEARCH: Whether it’s for you or your child - research first, use later. Essential oils are very strong and potent and affect us differently at different stages of life (childhood, pregnancy, breastfeeding, illness etc). Always ask: what age is this appropriate for? Are there any hazards or contradictions?

  • ALWAYS DILUTE THE OILS: A single drop of essential oil withholds and incredible amount of strength & respective medical properties. This is amazing! Just make sure to dilute properly, even when adding essential oils to the bathwater of children.

  • AVOID INGESTING: You will probably find a whole lot opinions about this but as long as you’re not a doctor treating a patient this is something you should really avoid. As Robert Tisserand puts it: “a patient should not ingest essential oils unless advised to do so by a practitioner who is qualified/licensed to prescribe essential oils in this way.”

  • PAY CLOSE ATTENTION: When you add a new element to your child’s environment, remember to make sure fresh air is available and monitor the reactions very closely to understand whether or not it affects your babe in a negative way.


WHAT OILS TO SAVE FOR LATER IN LIFE

There are many amazing oils that we (the adults) can use but not our little ones, for many reasons. This might be because the essential oil has hormonal properties, or it may be too powerful for the weaker constitution of children. Since we don’t want to play with their health, it’s important that we respect the potency and strength of essential oils and simply choose to not use some oils until later in life.

Wintergreen and Sweet Birch should absolutely not be used on or given to children in any amount due to the risk of developing Reye’s syndrome, and Peppermint Oil should be avoided until the child is older than 6 years due to triggering a reflex in young children which slows breathing significantly, sometimes even dangerously.

Instead of giving you a complete list of what to avoid, I’ve chosen to focus on what oils your children can actually benefit from instead. When used correctly, essential oils can be used as wonderful tools of healing! These are only general guidelines and remember that great care should be taken to research each essential oil's maximum dermal use individually before use.


OILS SAFE FOR NEWBORNS TO 3 MONTHS

The first three months of a baby’s life you should really just enjoy the scent of your newborn. Your newborn is better off without essential oils!

3-6 MONTHS

camomile roman, camomile german, dill, lavender, mandarin, geranium, rose otto

7 MONTHS–1 YEAR

bergamot, calendula (infusion), carrot seed, cedarwood atlas/virginia, cinnamon bark (only in diffuser), cinnamon leaf, citronella, coriander, cypress, fir needle, grapefruit, helichrysum, lemon (avoid topical use on children under 2), mandarin, neroli, palma rosa, petitgrain, pine (pinus divaricata, pinus resinosa, pinus strobus, pinus sylvestris), ravensara, rosalina, rose otto, sandalwood, spruce, sweet orange, tangerine, tea tree

2-6 YEARS

basil lemon, basil sweet, benzoin, black pepper, cassia (only safe for diffusion), clove bud/clove leaf, copaiba balsam, frankincense, garlic, ginger, hyssop, juniper berry, lemongrass (Andropogon citratus, Andropogon flexuosus, Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus), lime, melissa/lemon balm, myrrh, oregano (Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, Origanum compactum, Origanum hirtum, Thymbra capitata, Thymus capitatus, Coridothymus capitatus, Satureeja capitata), sweet marjoram, patchouli, red carrot, spearmint, tea tree lemon, thyme, turmeric, verbena lemon, vetiver, valerian, ylang ylang (can be diffused for children under 2)

6-8 YEARS

anise/aniseed, anise star, apricot, cajeput, camellia, cardamom, cornmint, fennel sweet and bitter, laurel leaf/bay laurel, marjoram spanish, myrtle, niaouli, nutmeg, peppermint, sage greek/white, sunflower

9-11 YEARS

eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithii), rosemary

NOTE!
The Thieves essential oil blend is a wonderful anti-germ blend, but not very kids friendly and should not be used for kids under the age of 10 since it contains eucalyptus, rosemary, clove and cinnamon bark. You can use it in your home for cleaning but just make sure that you ventilate properly, that you clean without the kids in the room and that they do not come in contact with the blend.


HOW TO DILUTE:

Choose an appropriate carrier oil for your child, for example almond oil, jojoba oil or fractionated coconut oil.

These are the age-related recommended and maximum concentrations of essential oils for topical use*:

Premature-infant:
Recommended (%): 0
Maximum (%): 0

Up to 3 months
Recommended (%): 0.1
Maximum (%): 0.2

3–24 months
Recommended (%): 0.25
Maximum (%): 0.5

2–6 years
Recommended (%): 1.0
Maximum (%): 2.0

6–15 years
Recommended (%): 1.5
Maximum (%): 3.0

15 years
Recommended (%): 2.5
Maximum (%): 5.0

* These are recommendations from Essential Oils Safety. These concentrations are not research-based, and should be taken as helpful suggestions rather than absolute rules. The particular oils used and the health status of the individual are also important factors.


What does a 1% dilution look like? 

  • 1 drop of EO to 5 ml of carrier oil.

  • 2 drops of EO to 10 ml of carrier oil

  • 3 drops of EO to 15 ml of carrier oil

  • 5 drops of EO to 30 ml (1 oz) of carrier oil

  • 10 drops of EO to 60 ml (2 0z) of carrier oil


Sources:

Tisserand, Robert - Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals 2nd Edition - 2014

Anthis, Christina - The Complete Book of Essential Oils for Mama and Baby: Safe and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth, and Children Paperback – 2017

Worwood, Valerie Ann - Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child: More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends (More Than 300 Natural, Non-Toxic and Fragrant Essential Oil) - 2012




saffron milk
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November is probably one of the worst months of the year. It’s wet and cold and the amount of light outside is catastrophic. I love autumn but the lack of sunlight always gets my mood this time of year.

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Something I’ve dived myself into these past few weeks is reading about the health benefits of saffron. I’m always happy to fill my saffron quota but this season I’m perhaps making a few more excuses to eat saffron buns knowing that eating a lot of saffron during the darkest & coldest months does have a function except for it being really tasty.

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Saffron is calmative, anti-inflammatory, helps with PMS, food digestion and weight loss (by reducing the need to snack) and is amazing when it comes to treating anxiety and depression. Saffron can even be used as antidepressant and has equal effects to the prescription drug fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac)), without the adverse effects (this study suggests 30mg saffron/day if you want to treat major depression)

So with a mission to boost my mental health and beat the winter blues, I’m devoting this season to treat myself with everything saffron.

I’m leaving you with a recipe of saffron milk that is super simple to make. I like to drink it when the kids have fallen asleep and I finally have some time to do some work, when it’s too late to pur a cup of coffee.


To make it you’ll need:

2dl milk
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar (I really want to try with honey next time)
Saffron to taste

Pour the milk into a pot and bring to a boil while stirring the milk. Lower the heat and add saffron and raw sugar. Stir till the sugar is dissolved and simmer for about 5 min.

xo

how to deal with having a distant, self-involved or emotionally immature parent

Dealing with the pain of having had an absent parent, being treated like less for being born a daughter/son and having a parent who have let their dysfunction and brokenness affect their ability to parent is hard.




Here are a few ways to keep yourself in check:

1. Go to therapy. See the life coach. Read the books. Get the tools. Process. Process. Process. 

2. Set the boundaries. Be your own boundary police. Set up your own rules to protect your heart. Do what has to be done to protect your borders. 

3. Break the cycle. Be who you needed, and who you wished to have had. Work to leave the legacy of hurt behind.

4. Allow grace to grow in your heart. It keeps your heart soft. We need more soft hearts in this world.

“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.” - Winston Churchill

xo, Briana

slow living in the city - 9 tips on living life at a slower pace

We have made a few changes to our routines & life at home and I'm slowly getting to where I want when it comes to the daily rhythm for me and my little family. I'm still longing for a slower pace related to where we live, and I really want to move where I can put garden furniture and plant potatoes, but while I'm still living in the middle of the city, I'm working to get as much slow living out of this city as I can.

The city pulse is sure hard to get rid off when you're right in the middle of it, but here are a few tricks I've find really helpful to apply to wind down...
 

Make rituals.

I remember growing up, my grandfather always has a ritual with his morning coffee. It was a slow but very devoted process, and together with grandma and their morning prayers, they both created a calm space were there never a feeling of rush in the mornings.

A few ideas on rituals: candlelight bath, taking time using body scrubs & creams when taking a shower, reading before going to bed, putting some effort in making a good cup of coffee in the morning, drinking tea, lighting candles...
 

Eat with gusto.

In my family, eating has been more of a social activity than something solely for nourishing purposes and I love that. Every time my mom comes over we chat & eat and we can easily end up eating for hours. During that time, we've enjoyed each other's company AND enjoyed our food without rushing it down our throats. Even if you don't have hours to eat, make some time for yourself to actually enjoy your food and company and not only rush it like it's another quick stop in life. Also! Put your phone down while you & your family are eating. Human interaction is good for you.
 

Create your vibe with music.

Let me invite you to two of my favorite Spotify playlists when it comes to creating a lovely vibe at home - Women of Jazz and Sweater Weather. Sweater Weather has been my go-to for years now, and it's absolutely perfect for spring and autumn. 
 

Fill your home with wonderful scents. 

Is there anything nicer than a home that smells good? I love having scented candles at home because 1. the candles does their part in creating a feeling of awareness, and 2. the scents from the candles makes the home really pleasant to be in. 
 

Plant plants.

Because bringing nature inside automatically comes with a slower pace, especially if you're more of a nature person than a concrete jungle person like me. Get yourself some flowers for the kitchen table, some for the windows, and if you're feeling ambitious - buy some seeds and plant your own plants! Here are some plants that help clean the air in your home...
 

Get rid of electronics that has you lazy/speeds your life up.

I think one of the best things that have happened to our home lately is me having hid the microwave and also slowly getting my husband to use a pot instead of our electric water boiler. Taking time to do things without the rush (and laziness) that comes with having things done super quickly really throws tension + stress out the window. 
 

Spend time offline. 

Leave your computer and phone in a drawer and spend some time offline. If you need to take photos, bring your dSLR instead of your phone, or even better, bring an analogue camera that'll need your total awareness of what is going on around you. It's hard to rush film. 
If you're used to spending time online and being available 24/7 this might be really stressful in the beginning because it'll make you realize how much stimuli you have gotten yourself used to. It will get better with time:) Soon enough you'll enjoy it, crave it and long for your offline hours.
 

Don't cram your day.

It's easy being swept away by the city pulse and the belief that we need to keep our schedules full and productivity levels maximized. We can't control the outcome of all days, and some will be busier than others, but some things can simply be done tomorrow or next week. Don't aspire to cram your days, let those days be exceptions rather than habits.
 

Plan your escapes and find your city paradises.

My mom and her home saves my life. During spring and summer we spend hours in her backyard. The baby is able to sleep outside which he loves and I am able to get me some sun while drinking coffee, doing crosswords and smelling the syringas. My mom's home is definitely my city paradise, and while we both are working our dreams of one day having our countryside homes, we also survive by planning our escapes. For me, it's definitely just getting out of the city to visit some small towns, beautiful natural sites or family on the countryside.
 

Oh the things you can see when you slow down...

self-care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos

Never in the world could I imagine how easy it would be to ignore & forget basic self care when you’ve just made and birthed a human. When I was pregnant I imagined that the furthest I would go when it came to neglecting the concept of self care would be months without doing my nails, buying a new piece of clothing or getting my hair done. Having babies would never be my "lie" to justify my own negligence.

But now when our babe is finally here, fully dependent on his parents to take care of every little need that occurs as he grows (especially from his momma who nurses him), and healing from childbirth, the consequences of me not prioritizing my own basic needs suddenly became extra prominent. 

The trending concept of self care is more than often only defined as something luxurious; every-day, big or small ways to make a life of complete overload a little more bearable. It’s like you can find the word everywhere, and somehow it seem to have lost some of the meaning of a deeper kind of care for yourself.

Living in a world where self care is trending actually tells us how much we have to work with, and how detached we have become from normal & healthy ways of taking care of ourselves. 

But self-care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos. 
Self-care is not always beautiful.
 

"The act of self-care has become yet another thing women are expected to be good at. Did you use the right filter for that ‘gram of your impeccably prepared acai bowl? Are the candles you just lit in your Snap story made from organic hand-poured soy or are they that mass-produced factory shit? And how can we stem the inevitable capitalist tide from turning something as simple as self-care into yet another thing to be bought and sold? These are all things I wrestle with as I order Dominos in sweatpants under the guise of ‘being good to myself.'" – Amil Niazi


Self care is informing your partner about his part in your recovery after giving birth. Self care is as unglamorous as not skipping out on food & water. It is, choosing not to run from problems, making important phone calls and asking for help.

It is re-strategizing, loving people on a distance, saying no and making people uncomfortable with your integrity. It is creating a decent sleeping routine and it is giving up on blaming a busy or unreasonable life to justify self-sabotage.

It is taking care of a loved one, standing up for mothering your babies your way, calling a friend and taking time to read a book.

Caring for yourself is not about indulging in consumer self care on a regular basis. When it comes to long term wellness and treating yourself, consumer self care is only touching the surface and when we oversize it, it instead makes us disconnected to our basic needs - those who help us form a life we don’t feel the need of escaping from. 

Self care is about being our own heroes. It is letting ourselves off the pressure. It is about how to be a human in this world and finding ways to cope between traumas.

Self care is not all milk baths and cappuccinos. It is what leads us to know that those things are only ways to enjoy life, not to escape from it.