PERFUMES, MOTHERHOOD AND BABIES. Are fragrances safe for Moms and Babies?

May 11, 2021

The mother-baby bond and memories that develop through the human sense of smell are amazing. And a baby’s sense of smell is highly sensitive from day one, because babies use it to help them understand their world. However, public is bombarded with chemically fragranced products every day. So can using a fragrance near your child be dangerous?

Mom-baby bond (Photo: Unsplash)

“Your baby won’t yet be able to recognize you by sight, right after birth, but he’ll know you by your natural scent. That’s why it’s not good to mask your natural scent with perfumes right away.”

Babies start using their sense of smell while still in the womb. As they breathe and swallow amniotic fluid, they become familiar with its scent. This is useful because the smell is similar to that of their mother’s breast milk, which they’ll need soon after birth.

After birth, they have a highly developed sense of smell. Though your baby can’t yet recognize you by sight, he’ll know you by your natural scent, and that’s what he’ll most want to smell. He’ll also be drawn to the scent of your breast milk.

Breastfeeding (Photo: Pixabay)

“Your scent will help your newborn get to form a deeper bond with you.”

Our advice is, don’t use highly perfumed or fragranced skin products in the early days of your baby’s life. Not only will it bother baby, but you want to keep your chest area completely natural-smelling so that your baby doesn’t confuse your scent. This is especially important in the early months until breastfeeding is well established. This will help your newborn get to know your scent and form a deeper bond with you.

“A wide range of natural smells can work as a stimulation of your little one’s senses. Helping him form neurological connections and evolve different brain centres. He will link smells with moments and feelings, forming a deeper understanding of the world around him.”

On the other hand, the sense of smell is processed by a part of the brain that also controls memory. It creates strong associations between particular scents and experiences. As a result, years later a scent may trigger a memory for your child and remind him of a time or feeling from the past. To add up, different smells can work as stimulation of your little one’s senses. If you want to stimulate those,use baby-friendly perfumes and scents.

Kids, scent and memories (Photo: Unsplash)

Why can’t I just wear my normal perfume?

“Chemicals are the main problem here. They can be harmful to babies health and development. That’s why, the quality and safety of perfume ingredients is so crucial.”

Public is bombarded with chemically fragranced products. These products can, besides perfumes, also include cosmetics, colognes, detergents, air fresheners, soaps, and deodorants. Contained in these fragranced products are often chemicals that can be harmful to human health and children development. Many are surprised to learn that our bodies absorb the chemicals in fragrances when they’re applied to the skin. And when you smell a fragrance, you are essentially breathing in chemicals, which are easily absorbed by the lungs and reach our bloodstream within a few minutes.

Chemicals (Photo: Pixabay)

Moreover, children have a much higher rate of chemical absorption from their skin into their bloodstream than adults. And if accidentally ingested, perfumes could also result in accidental poisoning. If applied in large quantities, allergies and other health concerns can develop.

The most common chemicals found in fragranced products are known to:

  • interfere with hormone function in the body (Darbre, 2015);
  • irritate the skin, and cause allergic skin reactions (Johansen, 2003);
  • trigger asthma symptoms (chest tightness and wheezing);
  • cause headaches and migraines;
  • irritate the eyes, nose and throat;
  • trigger nausea;
  • cause infant illness (Steinemann, 2015);
  • impact the neurological system and trigger restlessness, dizziness or difficulty concentrating;
  • be linked with behavioural symptoms in children (Kim et al, 2009; Engel et al, 2010);
  • accumulate in fat and make its way into breast milk (Bridges, 2002).

Sick child (Photo: Pixabay)

To sum up, you want to make your home and your baby’s environment as free from detrimental chemical exposure as possible. Choose to not wear poor quality perfume full of dangerous chemicals, and rather focus on the high quality ones. The same applies for lotions, baby powders and soaps. Not to mention, your children does not need a perfume. If you want them to smell good, just bathe them with gentle soap and water, it will do it.

The best thing you can do for your newborn baby is exposing him to familiar smells, especially those natural smells of Mom or Dad, which can be very comforting and soothing. You know the feeling, when you snug close to a person you love and feel that instant feeling of warmth, safety and home? Well kids feel that especially strong and that parent-child bond is knit so tightly, also through scent. But don’t worry, you won’t be deprived of your favourite smell that makes you feel sexy, confident and feminine. When the baby will be a bit older, you’ll be able to put your favorite perfume on again, discover the scents together with the little one and feel better than ever!