Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Healing Baby Colds

Hello all!  Recent events have inspired this post!  Turns out, my babies are sick.  I hate that they are feeling under the weather.  It's never easy for a mother to see her children when they are ill even with something as simple as a cold.  I hope this blog doesn't make it appear that I have everything together all the time, nonchalantly shrugging my shoulders while simultaneously reaching into my well-stocked all natural apothecary for the perfect remedy to any ailment, injury or malady!  That is most certainly not the case!  I am still very new to the world of natural healing, herbs, supplements.....things our grandparents and great grandparents knew instinctively that we have long forgotten.  I am very interested in this 'new' world of natural remedies. (I say 'new' because really we should never have retreated from this way of life!  It makes a lot more sense!)  I have learned a lot since my daughter was born a little over two years ago and I am grateful for the people in our lives who are helping us to further our knowledge of this subject!  However, I most definitely still freak out about my children being sick, as most moms do, and immediately call my mama, midwife, best friend or hit-up facebook for a good venting/freak-out status! (That's what it's for, right?!)  So with this post it is my intention to give you ideas for some great, all natural helpers to use when your kids are sick!

First, I strongly suggest you pick up this book from the library or purchase it for yourself!  "Naturally Healthy Babies and Children" is a great resource for a variety of ailments!  It may say 'babies and children' in the title but there are many adult remedies as well and it's useful for pregnant and nursing mothers also.  The thing about our society today is....we don't know how to handle being sick.  Our kids get ear infections, colds, the flu, bronchitis, fevers, even constipation and we immediately run them to the doctor for an antibiotic or some other chemical-laden medication that will end up doing more harm than good especially over time!  Now, please don't get me wrong!  I am not against the medical world, I certainly think it has it's place but I really think there should be a better blend.  I think the medical and natural healing worlds should work together and that we should first reach for all things natural.  That being said, we need to remember that our bodies were designed with an immune system and a fabulous one at that!  For instance, your body's response to an invador is sometimes fever.  It is best to let the fever run it's course because it is actually trying to make you or your child better.  It is an immune response that signals chemicals in the body to get moving on the 'intruder' and burns away impurities.  We have been taught to suppress this natural response with medication while that may actually be keeping our children from healing as quickly as they could have if the fever had been allowed to do it's job.  A lot of these remedies and natural healing aides are not immediate cure-alls but will help your child to strengthen his/her immune system and allow them to feel better until the malady has passed.  Some of them will help your child to get over their sickness more quickly and others will help prevent an illness from having the ability to invade your child's space by, again, strengthening the immune system!  The remedies listed here that need be ingested are only appropriate for a child old enough to eat solids.  Please read the instructions on any homeopathic remedy to ensure the correct dosage for your child.  If your baby is nursing, you can take the remedies yourself and they will transfer via breast milk to your child!  Here are a few of our go-to remedies for some of the more common ailments:

*For any problem your child is having: teething, colds, congestion, earache, I recommend becoming very friendly with a good chiropractor!  Not all chiropractors are licensed and qualified to treat infants and children so be sure to interview well!  If you are local and need a good one, I have some recommendations!*

For colds/flu:  As a preventative, it is a good idea to make sure your children are getting a variety of healthy foods that include as many organic fruits and vegetables as is possible and please stay away from processed and refined foods!  However, even kids who eat mostly raw foods have days when they aren't getting everything they need so we use a multi-vitamin to 'fill in the gaps.'  I get our gluten-free vegan vitamin drops at the local health food store but you can probably get them online as well.  We also give our toddler vitamin D drops daily in the fall, winter and spring and any day we won't be in the sun for at least 30 minutes.  I have noticed this helping with teething also! 
~Make sure your child is getting plenty of fluids and lots of rest.  A smaller baby who is still nursing will require extra nursing and cuddle sessions.  If your child is bottle fed and seems to be wanting more fluids than usual, you should oblige and, of course, give them extra cuddles!  Green smoothies, fresh juices and water are great for older kids and toddlers.  Children are really intuitive and you may notice them asking for more fluids than usual or 'making up for' what they aren't eating with additional fluid, let them!  Our daughter drinks green milk (almond milk with spinach blended in, sounds gross but you can't taste it).



~Breast Milk!!!!!!!  You will notice that breast milk is a common thread in these remedies.  If you are nursing a smaller baby and also have a toddler or older child who is sick, you can pump some extra milk and add it to your child's cereal or glass of whatever milk they typically drink.  I will give my toddler girl about 2 ounces of breast milk in her sippy cup with her almond milk filling up the rest.  Breast milk is a natural antibiotic and has incredible nutritional stats.  I realize that some people are extremely grossed out by this and it's not your fault!  Our society is scared to death of boobs and I'm really not sure why ~get over it peeps, that's why they're made mmm-k?!?  It will be alright, promise!
~Elderberry syrup/extract is great for colds and sore throats!  You can make your own tincture if you are feeling up to the task (don't use grain alcohol!) or you can buy some in a bottle similar to any other medicine bottle at the Health Food store or online!  Just be sure it's gluten free!  We give our daughter 1/2 a teaspoon when she is sick or anytime we feel she may need an extra boost, like after she has been around lots of other kids or playing at a park or gym.  We take two teaspoons whenever we feel it necessary. 
~Echinacea is a great addition to the body as well.  I prefer drops whenever possible to ensure you aren't ingesting the lactose that typically binds anything in pill form and your body doesn't have to work to digest a drop the way it does a pill.  You will then be more likely to get the benenfits of the supplement.  The problem with some drops is that they contain grain alcohol which is not usable for people with celiac disease.  In that case, look for 'children's drops' because they are alcohol free!  Obviously, you would do this for your kids anyway but if you need the supplement you can just take an increased dose of the children's drops!
~Raw Honey is great for coughs as well as sore throat.  You can give this to your child directly or mixed with warm (not hot) milk or water.  Do not give honey to children under one year of age!


~Congestion:  Often colds/flu come with congestion but there are lots of things you can do to give your child, and even a small baby, some relief.
~Cool mist humidifier  Run a cool mist humidifier in the room where your child sleeps.  The only reason for using cool mist as opposed to warm mist is to reduce the risk of burns.
~Steam bath  Get the bathroom all steamy by running the hot water in the shower and keep the door closed.  You can then strip your child down to their diaper and hold them in the steamy bathroom (not in the shower directly) or give them a bath in the baby tub but set it outside of the regular tub. 
~Nasal aspirator I have had little, very little in fact, success with the standard nose-sucker but I love this battery operated one!  Works wonders!
~Vicks Baby Rub is great!  Just be sure to follow the instructions.  Our daughter sleeps on her belly all curled up in a ball so I put the Vicks on the back of her neck and on her upper back.  I don't want her completely inhaling the Vicks like she would if I put it on her chest, though that is just a personal preference!

For earache:  Again, chiropractic care helps greatly with ear infection.  Typically ears get infected as a result of drainage from another sickness though it may happen for other reasons as well.  The chiropractic adjustment will help to clear the ear.
~Garlic Oil  You can purchase this at any health food store, online or make your own.  Garlic has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  We have used this remedy on ourselves as well as our toddler, rarely does it take more than a day to clear up the problem.  This will also help with pain.
~Warm compress will give additional help with pain.  We use warm (not hot) wet wascloths pressed against the infected ear. 

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)  Pink eye is highly contagious so keep your child from touching the eye if at all possible and wash, wash, wash hands!  However, we have found on very, very effective remedy for pink eye.....
~Breast Milk!!!!!  (are you really surprised??)  You can pump extra milk if you are able and place a few drops in a small medicine dropper.  The milk can be dropped directly into the inner corner of the eye.  I put about an ounce per day in a small container and kept it in the refrigerator.  When I needed to give a dose, I just went to my refrigerated milk with a clean dropper.  It will take longer for an adult to completely heal using this method (yes you can apply this to an adult's eye as well, it's ok people!!!) but a child should see results immediately with full healing in a day or two, maybe three. 


Little sicklet cuddling on the couch



Good luck all!  Hopefully, your children won't get the sicks but if they do I hope these remedies will be helpful to you!  Have a lovely day!

What are your favorite homeopathic remedies for some common childhood OR adult ailments???






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