How to Apply Cod Liver Oil to the Skin (instead of taking orally)

by Sarah Healthy Pregnancy, Baby & ChildComments: 111

apply cod liver oilHands down, one of the most frequent questions I get is how to get a child to take cod liver oil. Giving a baby cod liver oil is quite easy as you just drip 1/4 teaspoon into the mouth with an eye dropper.

How about young children? Taking cod liver oil off the spoon chased with a swig of water is my favored method as demonstrated in the linked video. But what to do if a toddler spits it out? Not a whole lot except clean up the mess on the floor!

Once they spit it out after the first try, toddlers will typically refuse to open their mouths again for a second go. What is to be done at this point? Prying the mouth open and shoving a spoon or eyedropper in there is not a wise approach! 

Stop the Gag Reflex Temporarily with Acupressure

If your child doesn’t like to take cod liver oil due to gagging, using a simple acupressure technique can stop the gag reflex for about 30 seconds. See the linked article for a description of how to use it with a video demonstration.

Skin Readily Absorbs Cod Liver Oil

If you’d like to bypass taking cod liver oil by mouth, the nutrients in cod liver oil are readily absorbed by the skin too.

In fact, until just a few decades ago, over the counter diaper rash creams used to contain cod liver oil!

Drug companies are increasingly taking advantage of the ability of skin to absorb chemicals of all kinds with the smokers patch being one of the most well known. There are now skin patches for birth control and even a patch for motion sickness when you take a cruise or fly in a plane.

Skin will not only readily absorb drugs but it also absorbs nutrients. When sunbathing with no sunscreen, the vitamin D forms in the tiny pools of oil on the skin to be easily and quickly absorbed. When you take epsom salt baths, the magnesium and sulfur are readily taken into the blood.

There is evidence that oil itself is also absorbed by the skin. Midwives frequently suggest rubbing castor oil on the belly of an overdue patient or using a castor oil pack in order to stimulate contractions.

Using this information to get cod liver oil into your child with no swallowing needed is just the ticket!

Where to Apply the Cod Liver Oil?

Since high vitamin cod liver oil can stain clothing and burn the eyes, it is important to put apply it to an area that is not easily accessed by little fingers and hands.

The best place for application then is your child’s bare bottom. Slathering a bit of cod liver oil on the bottom at diaper change time works really well.

You can slather the 1/4 -1/2 tsp daily dose on at one time if you like. There’s no need to put it on at every diaper change.

If your child is out of diapers already, you can slather the cod liver oil on the belly area instead and wrap some gauze around the torso to keep it from contacting clothing. This approach also works for older children with disabilities who may not be able to respond to the reasoning approach.

Don’t worry about a fishy smell either. Any odor is surprisingly gone within just a few minutes of application to the skin!

Which Cod Liver Oil Product to Use?

Should you apply the high vitamin cod liver oil with the synergistic butter oil too? That is a good idea as they work together to increase the potency and effectiveness of each other according to the research of Dr. Weston A. Price.

Please refer to my shopping guide for vetted brands of high vitamin cod liver oil and butter oil.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

The Healthy Home Economist holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mother to 3 healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, and many others.

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