High doses of peppermint water can be dangerous to a baby, although mothers have long been giving peppermint water to their infants to quell an upset stomach. The trick is to only administer the water in extremely low doses and in an extremely diluted form, using peppermint candy as the peppermint source rather than essential or pure peppermint oil.
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Children younger than 5 years old face the risk of choking from the menthol contained in peppermint if they consume high doses, according to Encyclopedia.com. Peppermint oil can also be dangerous to infants and young children if you apply it directly to their faces. Ingesting the essential oil of peppermint, pure peppermint or pure menthol can be dangerous even to adults. Pure peppermint can lead to irregular heartbeats, while a dose as low as 1 tsp. of pure menthol can be fatal.
Peppermint Water Remedy
A very small amount of peppermint water, such as a drop or two, is safe for babies to ingest, according to a study published in an April 2007 issue of “International Breastfeeding Journal.” The study noted peppermint water has antibacterial properties that provide a numbing and calming effect that can calm and soothe a baby’s upset stomach. The use of peppermint water to soothe a baby’s upset stomach is further backed up by certified La Leche leader Anne Smith, who says the safest way to create and administer the water is by dissolving a peppermint Lifesaver in 2 oz. of water and offering a drop or two in the baby’s mouth.
Other Stomach Remedies
If you remain wary about giving a baby even a small dose of peppermint water, Smith notes a number of remedies that can help soothe an infant’s upset stomach. Burping a baby frequently can help soothe an ache caused by built-up gas in the baby’s stomach. Other natural remedies include various body positions. Fold the baby’s legs up to her stomach while she’s lying on her back and move her legs in a bicycle-riding motion. Lay the baby face-down along your forearm with her head in the cup of your hand while you use your other hand to pat and rub her back. A warm bath can help, as can placing a warm water bottle beneath her stomach as she lies on your lap and you rub her back.
Other Peppermint Water Remedies
Peppermint water proved helpful for preventing nipple cracks in breastfeeding women without causing any harm to their babies in the study published by “International Breastfeeding Journal.” Women participating in the study applied a small dab of peppermint water onto their nipples with a cotton ball before and after breastfeeding, rinsing the breast with water before and after the peppermint application. The peppermint water solution contained a small amount of essential oil diluted in 1 liter of distilled water.