Natural Remedies for Common Infant Issues

I’ve worked in health care for the past 10 years and ironically I take little stock in what many traditional medicine prescribes. The best medicine is no medicine in my book. Sleep, healthy food, lots of clean water, exercise and sunlight are the best defense and treatment for almost anything that ails you. That said, there is a time and place for western medicine for serious injuries, infections, vaccinations etc… My daughter sees a traditional pediatrician, a chiropractor, a Chinese medicine doctor and most recently a homeopathist. We have for the most part had a very healthy baby who’s developing and growing beautifully. But she’s had her share of issues. Below is a list of those issues and the holistic approach we’ve taken to addressing them. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE AND ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR OWN HEALTH PRACTITIONER, SO DON’T SUE ME. YA DA, YA DA, YA DA.

Blocked tear duct: She was diagnosed with this right off the bat. At nine months, it still hasn’t resolved so not sure if any of our non-invasive methods are going to open it up. But there is still time.  A homeopath she saw a few weeks ago gave her a remedy that she thinks might help. She also suggested we take her to an osteopath. The osteopath said she is “blocked” in her sinuses, and that she’ll know in a few visits if she can help open it up. So we’ll see. But at least we have been able to avoid infection using breast milk squirted in her eye and massage using a warm washcloth soaked in a bowl with one drop of lavender essential oil in it. When her eye tears enough to irritate and inflame the skin under her eye, I keep a thick film of “Maddie salve” (see recipe below). It seems to be a cure all for anything skin related for her.

Reflux: I’ve already gone over this in detail in another post, so read that to see what I did.

Skin Rash, this includes diaper rash: We’ve been lucky that Maddie has avoided diaper rash for the most part, although I find that now that she’s eating solids, it has cropped up a bit here and there. Her face however has been very rashy off and on from teething, snot and the cold Maine winter. After making my own sunscreen, I decided to make my own lotion too from most of the same ingredients. Our skin was SOOO soft and clear after vacation when we slathered up with the sunscreen that I thought why not make some without the Zinc Oxide and beeswax in it for every day use (Maddie salve). It cleared up her teething rash almost instantly and has kept her pretty much rash free since. For a more serious diaper rash, you could use the sunscreen as that has zinc oxide which is the main ingredient in most commercial diaper rash creams. Maddie Salve – Combine 1 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup shea butter, 2 TBS calendula oil and 20 drops lavender essential oil. Get the calendula oil get from Avena Botanicals, Shea butter and essential oil from Mountain Rose Herbs and coconut oil from Dr. Bronner’s (buy at Whole Foods).

Maddie with her amber teething necklace

Maddie with her amber teething necklace

Teething: Maddie sprouted her first tooth at five months and at nine months has five pearly whites. This basically meant I haven’t slept since she was born. So what works for the pain and cranky-tude? First thing we got was an amber teething necklace. You can get them online or at a local birthing center perhaps. We got ours locally at Birth Roots. If you are worried about strangulation or them pulling it off and choking on it, put it in their sock while sleeping and put them in a sleep sack. Homeopathy – Use Chamomilla when it’s obvious they are in pain or Coffea Cruda when they are extra fussy and can’t settle to sleep. Here is a book I’ve referenced for homeopathy. Make sure to give remedies in between meals and nursing and don’t overuse or it can actually make symptoms worse! The Hylands Teething Tablets are popular but your babe doesn’t need the Belladonna. The homeopathist we saw recently agreed. We also gave Maddie cold washcloths soaked in chamomile tea to suck on when she was in pain. I prefer not to use ibuprofen, but plan on getting some made up at a local apothecary without all the artificial colors and sweeteners they put in the regular children’s pain relievers.

Vaccines: Every baby screams when they get a shot, right? Nope, not mine anymore. First off I don’t overload her system with more than two vaccines at a time. Second, I started giving her a dose of Arnica and Hypernicum just before the visit and then nursed her while the nurse stuck her. No crying and she barely notices. Afterwards I put her in a tub with a few drops of Roman Chamomile essential oil. This is a natural pain reliever and can be used for other pain to. Just be very careful with essential oils and babies. I use 1 drop and also dilute in a carrier oil. This is a book I’ve referenced for essential oils.

Congestion: My daughter has been congested pretty much since day one, and especially this winter. What helps is fresh air (even when its really cold), warm steamy shower, one drop eucalyptus essential oil mixed with coconut oil and rubbed on her feet, saline and breast milk up the nose (she actually doesn’t mind it), cool mist humidifier, and lots of snot sucking with the Nose Frieda (which she screams through).

Constipation: Now my daughter has never been truly constipated, which is defined as a hard stool with difficulty passing. She has had a couple harder stools since eating a lot of solids, but nothing major. She was an every 3-4 day pooper as a newborn and early infant. By day 3, she was always super fussy, gassy and uncomfortable. To help her poop, we did a lot of belly massage, bouncing on her feet (once she was able to put weight on her legs), the Windi (worked 2 out of 3 – be careful of projectile poop!) or a few ml of prune juice mixed with milk in a bottle as a last resort. Once she was about 4 months, we’d put her in the Go Pod to jump a bit and a few minutes later we’d hear that unmistakeable sound.

We’re lucky that this is about it for health issues (knock on wood!). What natural remedies have you used? Toddler suggestions too please as we’re moving into that stage of life now.

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