Olive oil is well known for its goodness on health, skin, and hair. Since a very long time, olive oil has been a part of several home kitchens across the world. This could lead us to believe that it is safe to be used for babies as well.
A pilot study, Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil or no Oil for Baby Dry Skin or Massage (1), by the University of Manchester suggests that massage with these oils significantly improves hydration but damages the skin barrier. However, there are several benefits associated with olive oil for babies. MomJunction tells you more about it.
What Is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a fat obtained by processing whole olives, which are fruits of a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin, named olea europaea.
- Oil produced by mechanical means and without any chemical treatment is called virgin oil.
- Extra virgin olive oil is pure without any added chemicals or temperature treatments. It is extracted from fruits of olive trees, which are free from diseases, harvested at the right time, and processed immediately.
Constituents And Nutritive Value Of Olive Oil
According to USFDA, one tablespoon of olive oil contains:
- Calories: 119
- Fat: 13.50gm
- Carbohydrates: 0
- Saturated fats: 2gm
- Fibers: 0
- Protein: 0
- Vitamin E: 1.8mg
- Vitamin K: 8.1 microgram
Olive Oil is composed of mixed triglyceride esters of oleic acid, palmitic acid, and other fatty acids, besides traces of sterols and squalene. Phenolics including tyrosol, oleocanthal, hydroxytyrosol, and oleuropein are a few other components.
|Oleic acid||55 to 83%|
|Linoleic acid||3.5 to 21%|
|Palmitic acid||7.5 to 20%|
|Stearic acid||0.5 to 5%|
|α-Linolenic acid||0 to 1.5%|
7 Benefits Of Olive Oil For Babies
1. Olive Oil For Baby Massage
Baby massage time is a quality time spent to strengthen the parent-baby bonding. Massage calms down the little one and improves his sleep, growth, and health (2).
An important aspect here is the selection of the right oil. Parents have been using olive oil for baby massage without any problems or complaints. Below are some benefits of olive oil massage for baby:
- Olive oil is known to make baby skin smooth, shiny, and healthy. It is a pretty good manicure lotion and a perfect moisturizer for baby’s skin.
- The oil has regenerative power over skin tissues and helps in keeping the skin toned.
- As olive oil is rich in healthy fats, phenolic anti-oxidant Vitamin E, squalene and oleic acids, regular massage could help in maintaining good skin tone, promoting bone and muscle health.
- Olive oil can be used in both cold and hot weather.
[ Read : How To Massage Your Baby ]
2. Olive Oil In Baby Food
It is advisable to use olive oil in the baby’s diet after six months of their age (3). Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that benefit the heart and pancreas (4). The oil can be a healthy source of fat for the weaning baby and thus play a significant role in their growth.
Olive oil is good, but you must never use more than one-fourth teaspoon for two ounces of baby food. Over consumption of the oil can lead to diarrhea. When eaten in right quantities, olive oil is conducive to the overall health of the baby.
3. Olive Oil For Constipation In Babies
One natural tip to ease constipation in babies or soothe a colic baby is to rub warm olive oil on the baby’s stomach in a clockwise motion. It is said to prevent gas and ensure peaceful sleep.
Including olive oil in your baby’s diet also helps in dealing with constipation. Many use it as a laxative for curing constipation, as a home remedy. However, this remedy is not backed by research. It is advisable to seek doctor’s advice to deal with constipation in babies.
4. Olive Oil For Cradle Cap
Olive oil is reportedly found effective in curing cradle cap (5), a form of dandruff that leads to the formation of a dry, flaky skin layer on the baby’s head. Hydrating properties of olive oil can act as a natural remedy in removing cradle caps in infants.
- Apply olive oil on the baby’s scalp.
- Massage with a washcloth or soft brush and leave it for 10 to 20 minutes.
- If the crust is thick, allow the oil to soak into it overnight.
- Later, wash the scalp thoroughly using mild shampoo and lukewarm water.
- Use a comb to gently remove the loosened crust from the infant’s scalp.
Additionally, applying olive oil can help in strengthening the baby’s hair, besides softening the fizzy and coarse hair.
[ Read : How To Prevent Cradle Cap ]
5. Olive Oil For Diaper Rash
Using an olive oil emulsion works wonders in keeping diaper rash at bay.
- The emulsion is prepared by mixing two table spoons olive oil in one table spoon water.
- Rub it on your palms and spread gently over the genitals and buttocks of your baby.
- If the problem does not subside, contact a doctor.
[ Read : 12 Ways To Treat Diaper Rash In Babies ]
6. Olive Oil For Cough In Babies
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises doctors to recommend natural home remedies for cough in babies, and not OTCs. Any time your baby is sick, breast-milk is the best! It boosts the immunity of your little one. At times, natural oil rub can sooth your baby.
- Mix three to four teaspoons of olive oil with two to three drops of rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint oil.
- Rub the mixture on the chest and back of your baby.
- Applying the oil before bed time helps your baby sleep well.
7. Olive Oil For Preemie Babies
Clinical trials have found that olive oil, when combined with soy oil, have lipid profile similar to breast milk, and are useful as parenteral (intravenous) nutrition for preemies (6).
Doctors recommend olive oil for low birth weight babies or babies with feeding difficulties.
1. How to use olive oil in my baby’s massage?
Take equal quantities of oil and water in a jar and mix well to massage the baby. After 15 to 20 minutes of massaging, use lukewarm water to clean. Clean thoroughly to avoid any residue rashes.
2. Is olive oil good for my baby’s skin?
Olive oil is good when the infant has a normal skin. But avoid it if the baby’s skin is permeable and sensitive because the oil is rich in oleic acid, which makes the skin permeable and weakens its natural defenses. There is also less of linoleic acid, the fatty acid that strengthens skin barriers. If the baby has eczema or damaged skin, then olive oil can worsen the condition.
3. Does olive oil make baby skin fair?
Genes determine baby’s complexion and there is nothing much we can do to change it. Health and environmental issues could show a temporary influence on your baby’s skin color, which will come back to normal once the issues get resolved. Currently, there is no research done to suggest that olive oil changes the complexion of a baby’s skin.
4. Can olive oil be used in baby ears and nose ?
It is a common practice to pour oil in the baby’s nose, ears, or naval to clean the parts. But it is highly advisable to avoid pouring any oil in these places to prevent infections.
Irrespective of the benefits linked to olive oil, always seek an expert advice before using it for your baby. Let us know if you have used it successfully for your baby.
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