By Neepa Sevak
Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is an exciting as well as a very anxious time. Although your baby may be perfectly healthy there are some common conditions that your baby may experience. Now I will discuss some infant ailments that can be treated easily and safely with the help of Homeopathic medicines. The remedies given below with the specific health conditions are just a few of the commonly used Homeopathic remedies and are mentioned only to create awareness about the effectiveness of Homeopathic medicines in infant ailments. It is not advisable to resort to self-medication for any health issues.
Thrush is a common fungus that is usually present in the vagina. If the natural balance of the vagina is disturbed especially during pregnancy, this fungus can overgrow, causing redness, itching, burning, and a flaky white, cheesy discharge. The newborn may pick up the infection during birth or through breast milk. In babies it develops as cracks in the corners of the mouth and white patches on the tongue, palate, lips, and inside of the cheeks causing it to be sore while sucking on a bottle or breastfeeding making the baby cry during feeding.
Self Care Measures for Thrush
- Nursing moms should add yoghurt to their diet, this will help re-establish the correct balance of bacteria and fungi.
- Clean your baby’s mouth from inside with a damp wash cloth after every feed.
Homeopathic Remedies for Thrush
Borax and Candida tincture application to the thrush area inside the mouth may be helpful.
Colic is sharp abdominal pain with severe intermittent cramping. Colic is most common in the first few weeks to four months of an infant's life. Infants with colic are uneasy and cry in pain, especially after feeds, the baby may become red in the face and pull up legs to ease the stomach pain. They may become constipated or you may notice a change in the color of their stools. In breast-fed babies, colic can be caused by an immature digestive system, air intake while feeding or crying, spicy or acidic food in the mother's diet, the mother's anxiety, over stimulation of the baby or allergic reaction to any food. Colic may become worse when baby is lying down.
Self Care Measures for Colic
- It may help to lay the baby over your lap on his tummy and rub his back.
- Be sure to wind baby properly after feeds.
- Walking or rocking the baby might help.
- A mother who is breast feeding must eliminate certain foods like alcohol, tea, coffee, chocolate, spices, onions, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, peppers, berries, oranges, grapes and apricots.
- Offer your little finger to an uneasy baby who has just fed. Some babies will feed continuously when colicky but the extra milk can overload the stomach and worsen the colic when all they want is comfort sucking.
Homeopathic Remedies for Colic
- Chamomilla: It is indicated in colicky babies who scream, are restless and want to be constantly rocked and carried. Gaseous distention of abdomen and pain is mainly in the navel region with hot perspiration and facial flushing on only one cheek. Stools may be green and smell of rotten eggs.
- Colocynthis: Colic with a bloated abdomen is a strong indication for this remedy. The pain may be severe and coming in waves. Babies look extremely restless and want to draw their legs up. They feel better when carried tummy-down, with firm pressure on the stomach, having their tummies rubbed or after passing a stool. They may develop green diarrhea. They are worse after eating fruits, in a warm room and before a bowel movement.
- Dioscorea: This remedy is indicated in babies with a growling and gaseous tummy. The pain may be paroxysmal, with gas and burping, worse in the morning and on lying and better from holding them upright.
- Nux vomica: This remedy is helpful in colicky pains that result when the nursing mother has eaten spicy food, overeaten or overindulged in coffee, alcohol, and other stimulating substances.
The most common cause of this rash is soiled diaper left on for too long which makes the area warm and soaked in ammonia from urine, or bacteria and fungi from stools. Buttocks, thighs and genitals become sore, red and infected with thrush, a yeast fungus. Fungal infection or an allergic reaction to soap or detergent left in fabric diapers due to inadequate rinsing can also cause diaper rash.
Self Care Measures for Diaper Rash
- Change diapers often.
- At each change bathe the rash with lukewarm water - do not use soap.
- Pat the affected area dry with a soft towel and apply Homeopathic Calendula ointment.
- Leaving the baby diaper free from time to time helps the skin to dry out and promotes healing.
- Never use perfumed wipes on inflamed skin and avoid talcum powder, as it tends to cake on the skin, trapping germs and causing sores.
- If using fabric diapers wash them with a mild baby detergent and rinse thoroughly by putting them through an extra rinse cycle in the washing machine.
Homeopathic Remedies for Diaper Rash
- Calendula ointment can be applied to the affected area.
- Sulphur: This remedy is indicated when the skin becomes dry, scaly and looks unhealthy between buttocks, on genitals and may extend up the back.
- Mercurius: This remedy is indicated when the diaper area is very moist and is associated with teething.
Frequent loose, watery stools could create dehydration in infants and lead to serious health problems as they cannot survive much fluid loss. Signs of severe dehydration are weariness, dry tongue and mouth, sunken eyes and no urination for 4 to 6 hours. Breastfed babies usually produce runny, yellow stools but these are normal and not an indication of diarrhea.
Self Care Measures for Diarrhea
- Encourage fluid intake. Prepare a solution by adding two tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of table salt to one liter of boiling water and feed the baby frequently.
- Consult your practitioner immediately if the dehydration symptoms seem severe.
Homeopathic Remedies for Diarrhea
- Aethusa: This remedy is considered when babies are unable to digest milk, leading to colic, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The children regurgitate the milk and other food within one hour of eating or drinking, sometimes with vomiting containing yellow or green curds. The infant sweats, appears weak, restless, anxious, and weepy.
- Arsenic Album: This remedy works best when babies have symptoms of stomach flu, food poisoning like diarrhea and vomiting. The stools smell offensive. The babies are thirsty all the time, look tired, weak and extremely restless. Warmth and warm drinks provide temporary relief.
- Ipecac: Diarrhea with constant nausea is characteristic of this remedy. They have drooling salivation and painful urgings to have a stool.
- Nux vomica: This remedy is indicated for diarrhea in breast fed babies after Mom has eaten rich or spicy foods. These children feel better after a stool, but will have diarrhea again immediately after eating or upon waking.
Cold and Cough
Common cold and cough is an inflammatory process that affects the respiratory tract. This could be very uncomfortable for an infant as breast or bottle fed babies cannot suck with its nose blocked or chest congested and has to use its mouth for breathing. Your baby may dilate his nostrils when he breathes, or use the muscles around his rib cage and collarbone to help him get air into his lungs, or he may make a sound and tighten his abdominal muscles. He may also make a wheezing sound when he breathes. This may also affect the eustachian tube leading to earache.
Self Care Measures for Colds and Coughs
- Infants have not developed defense mechanism and resistance to sudden changes of weather hence they should be protected from sudden changes of weather.
- Keep infants away from children or adults suffering from cold or any other viral or chest infections.
- The nose of the infants should be kept clean.
- Infant should be kept warm and comfortable.
Homeopathic Remedies for Colds and Coughs
- Aconite: This remedy is useful when the baby develops sudden cold and cough after exposure to cold wind making the baby very restless.
- Belladonna: This remedy is best indicated for cold with a barking cough, high fever and a red face in a very thirsty baby.
- Mercurius: This remedy works well when baby develops cold and cough with a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, ear ache and is sensitive to cold weather.
- Hepar Sulph: This remedy can be given to babies who have a dry rattling cough, like wheezing. The baby may not want to eat or may cry while eating due to throat pain on swallowing.
This is an inflammatory skin disease and is known as infantile seborrhoeic eczema in infants. It usually starts on the scalp known as cradle cap or the diaper area and quickly spreads to the face, elbows, knees, neck, wrists and ankles. Although this type of eczema looks unpleasant, it is not sore or itchy and does not cause the baby any discomfort.
Self Care Measures for Eczema
- Avoid long baths for your baby as they can easily remove natural oils from the skin. Moisture can be locked into the skin by applying a non-allergenic baby cream or lotion after washing.
- Bathe your baby without using soap.
- Use mild detergents for washing your baby’s clothes.
- Try to expose affected areas of skin to the air as much as possible. Lengthy exposure to sunlight should be avoided as this will have a detrimental affect on the eczema.
- Try to wear soft cotton clothing while carrying your baby as other fabrics would irritate your baby’s skin. Also cotton bedding and comforters might be more soothing to the baby’s skin.
- Avoids pets in the house as pet hair can cause an allergic reaction on your baby’s skin.
- Avoid excessive heat in your house and use a good and clean humidifier.
Homeopathic Remedies for Eczema
- Sulphur: This remedy is best indicated when the skin looks very unhealthy and gets dry and red in bed or after a bath.
- Rhus Tox: This remedy is indicated when the skin looks blistered and gets worse in damp conditions.
- Petroleum: This remedy works very well when the skin erupts with yellow crusts and is worse at night.
- Graphites: This remedy is considered when the skin looks cracked and oozing.
- Calendula ointment and olive oil can also help as local application.
There are many reasons why babies suffer from sleeping problems. Sometimes sleep problems become chronic and a pattern of insomnia sets in. The main causes of sleeplessness in babies could be colic, nasal congestion, teething, a lack of bedtime routine, and a high sugar diet and stimulants like coffee and tea by nursing mothers.
Self Care Measures for Sleep Problems
- Set up a routine schedule for naps and night time sleep.
- Treat any condition that is keeping the baby awake.
- Keep evenings calm and do not over stimulate the baby too much.
- Make sure the baby is not hungry while going to sleep.
- Nursing moms should avoid coffee, tea, chocolate drinks and other stimulant foods.
Homeopathic Remedies for Sleep Problems
- Aconite: This remedy works best when the baby wakes up due to a fright or nightmare.
- Chamomilla: This remedy is indicated when the baby is irritable and only stops crying when picked up and carried around. The moment it is laid down, it starts crying again.
- Coffea: This remedy is best indicated when the baby is over stimulated.
- Nux Vomica: This remedy can be given when the baby always wakes up around 4.00 am crying and cannot be consoled.
- Passiflora: This remedy is also useful in treating colic and its high safety profile makes it a gentle and very effective choice for treating the symptoms of insomnia in babies.
Teething usually begins at about the age of six or seven months, with most of the first teeth breaking through before your baby is 18 months old. Some babies have a tough time and may refuse food, become clingy, irritable, suffer excessive dribbling of saliva, become sleepless and restless at night, gums may be red and swollen. He will try to cram his fingers into his mouth and chew on his fingers or bite any hard object that he can get hold of. It is important to realize that the symptoms of teething do not include diaper rash, vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite. These are symptoms of an underlying illness, and not teething, but stress and discomfort of teething can lower a child’s resistance to infection.
Self Care Measures for Teething
- Hugs, kisses and cuddling your baby more often helps.
- Offer cold water or teething rings that have been chilled in the refrigerator.
- Rub your child's gums with a clean finger.
Homeopathic Remedies for Teething
- Chamomilla: This remedy is indicated when the baby is hyperirritable, screaming and hitting with inflamed gums, drooling and a desire to keep fingers constantly in the mouth. Stools are loose and green. One cheek of the baby is hot and red, while the other is pale. They demand things but reject them as soon as they are given. During sleep they toss and turn and may cry aloud. The only relief they experience comes when they are being carried about or rocked.
- Ferrum Phos: This remedy works well when the baby has inflamed gums with fever.
- Calcarea Phos: This remedy helps the teeth come through if they are slow in coming.
- Homeopathic medicines have a widespread application for pediatric complaints, the pellets can be dissolved in water and given to even a newborn baby. A growing number of parents today are concerned about the side effects of conventional drugs, especially in the treatment of newborns and infants. Since homeopathic remedies are free of any chemical toxicity, it is the ideal medicine for people of all ages, even the most sensitive like a newborn baby. Babies respond very well to homeopathic treatment since they have not been exposed as much to conventional drug therapy as adults. Homeopathy is fast acting and brings back the healthy state in the quickest possible manner; be it fever, cough-cold, diarrhea, asthma, etc. Homeopathy helps in building body resistance in children who habitually have recurring infections due to lowered resistance power, as a result of which the child will not fall sick frequently. Homeopathic remedies are very soothing, and work by stimulating the body to heal itself. Homeopathic medicines are diluted to minimum doses by a special method that releases their healing potential. This minimum dose can improve symptoms without causing any side effects. Homeopathic medicines being gentle, safe, non-toxic, FDA approved are effective in treating various problems during infancy. Correct homeopathic prescribing during infancy increases the likelihood of a healthy child. Since homeopathy works with the body's natural defense system the homeopathic medicines will strengthen the overall health functioning of the baby.
The remedies given above with the specific health conditions are mentioned only to create awareness about the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in infant ailments. It is not advisable to resort to self-medication for any health issues.