Using scent to help soothe baby

Using scent to help soothe baby

Newborn babies are extremely sensitive to smell. While they’re developing their other senses, scent is largely how they recognise their parents.

Stimulating baby’s sense of smell can be a great way to familiarise them with the environment and people around them. It can also be a good way to help soothe them! Once bub recognises where they are or who they’re with, it may help them to settle.

As part of our five senses series, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite tips to help you soothe baby using their sense of smell.


The easiest tip of them all! Cuddling baby is a fantastic way to bond – they get to know you and you them. Part of this means that baby will get to know your scent and grow familiar with the smell.

It’s good to steer clear of perfume and cologne in the first few days when baby is getting to know their parents it can be overpowering on their little senses. Having them learn your natural scent is important too – as you’re unlikely to be wearing perfume or cologne at 3am when you’re comforting them.


When mixed with a sweet almond oil or something similarly light, lavender can be a great scent to familiarise baby with – especially if they take a long time to settle. Lavender is known for its calming qualities and many parents swear by it. Mixing lavender with another scent-free oil helps to dilute the scent, making it less powerful on bub’s nose.

Lavender can be used in a range of ways. Some parents like to use a diffuser, others like scented bath oil and some just dab a small amount onto bubs clothing or mattress. Whichever you choose, be sure to only use a small, well diluted amount and monitor bub closely to ensure they’re receptive to it.

Soothing smells:

Going to new places and being surrounded by new people can be overwhelming for some babies. To you and me, it’s just another day out, but for bub it means new smells, new sounds and new sights.

Soothing smells, like the scent of a parent, can help to settle bub while out and about. A comfort blanket or toy can do the trick here! Just remember that washing it will wash away your scent so try to keep it as clean as possible. Some parents carry two, so they’ve got a back-up.  

Do you have a different tip? Share it with our Owlet community in the comments below.


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