Steps 2, 3, and 4: Baby’s Stuffy/Runny Nose

A friend contacted me today wondering how she can help her infant, who recently came down with a runny and stuffy nose. Looks like cold/flu season is coming early this year!

The runny/stuffy nose is a clue for which homeopathic remedy you could start with, if you feel comfortable giving one. An explanation of homeopathic remedies was provided in my previous post, ‘Step 1: Homeopathic Remedies.” Since we covered Step 1 in the last post, here’s what to do next:

2. Burt’s Bees Hand Salve on the feet.

Wierd, I know…but the ingredients in it are similar to–but better quality than– what is in Baby Vicks. I had heard of Vicks as a remedy and tried it on my son, and it did help him. But I wasn’t satisfied with using petroleum jelly and isolated, lab-produced chemicals on him. (Natural remedies are effective yet gentle, due to their naturally-occurring combinations of chemicals. It is the combinations which work together to enhance the positive effects of the remedy, while limiting the negative effects.)

When my little guy was sick with a cold, I happened to notice that the ingredients in Burt’s Hand Salve contain everything I would personally choose if I were creating my own salve for my sweet baby’s stuffy nose, so I went ahead and tried it on his feet–along with a little swipe under his nose for good measure. The fact that it contains several antiseptic/antiviral essential oils, all balanced in a rich jojoba-based salve, has me convinced that in addition to helping clear nasal passages with eucalyptus (which contains menthol as one of its active ingredients), it is also delivering effective yet gentle medicine to baby’s blood stream to help fight whatever bug has infected them. Win-win.

A fun fact to keep in mind when applying this remedy to baby’s feet? It only takes 1-2 minutes for an essential oil to travel from the nerves of the feet to the nerves of the brain in an average adult! So, they should feel some relief almost instantly.

3. Saline nasal drops (labeled for your baby’s individual use) and bulb suction at every diaper change.

This is important for keeping everything cleared out of the nasal passages and sinuses so baby’s cold doesn’t turn into a sinus or ear infection. You can just turn them a little bit upside down on your lap, like you’re going to tickle them, and add 3-4 drops per side. Try not to get it in their eyes. Keep them tilted while you count out loud with them, “One Alligator, Two Alligator….” to 10. Then sit them up and suction everything out of their nose that you can with the bulb. Your baby will probably get mad and cry. That’s the bummer about being the adult sometimes; you need to do it anyway. Besides, tears are also helpful for helping thin mucous.

Once you are done, tell them so – and mean it. They’ll forgive you as soon as they realize they can breathe again. (As a side note, I always tell everyone to ask for an extra suction bulb when they bring their baby home from the hospital, because the bulbs at the store are just not the same. When my daughter was born last November, I realized that the bulbs from the hospital are actually labeled for use with ulcers. So, if you need to put out an order for a bigger bulb, maybe that little tidbit will help in your search.)

4. Eucalyptus Oil at Bath Time

Put a dime-sized amount of eucalyptus oil in a cup of very hot water and bring it in the bathroom with you at bath time. (Don’t put it in the bathwater, just bring it into the room). It will fill the whole room with an antibacterial, antiviral respiratory steam treatment. You can include lavender if your baby seems restless or uncomfortable. 10 minutes or so is sufficient to be effective. If your baby is older than 1, you can also leave a cup in their bedroom at bed time. It’s that simple!

Steps 2,3, and 4 are inexpensive, easy, and effective for both fighting the cold bug and providing comfort to your sweet baby. Don’t forget to call or visit the doctor. There’s a reason they get paid the big bucks.

Next I will cover how to care for stomach bugs, since apparently that is going around already, too!

Stay healthy,
Jen DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Jennifer is a Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator in Colorado Springs. In addition to coaching couples through Christ-centered childbirth, she specializes in wellness coaching for prenatal and postpartum women and their babies. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the proud owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC.

To learn more about Jennifer, visit: www.Edenspromisellc.com

First Natural Remedy: Homeopathy

In my last post, I promised to explain what to do with each of the natural remedies on the shopping list. I suppose the best way to work through them with you would be to go in the order in which you will probably want to use them, so we’ll start with the homeopathic flu remedy. (It would be prudent for me to mention that no natural remedy, including homeopathy, is a replacement for medical attention. Everything I recommend should be done in addition to – not in place of – whatever your own doctor or pediatrician recommends.)

First, let me explain what a homeopathic remedy is. Basically, it is a not-even-measurable amount (or infinitesimal dose) of a natural agent, which helps the body to ‘understand’ an illness. Think of it like this: If you told your child to go make cookies, would they know where to begin? Mine wouldn’t. But if I sat down with him and explained the recipe and helped him to measure out each ingredient, then it would be quick and easy for him to combine the ingredients into cookies.

This is what a homeopathic remedy does: it shows the body the broken down ‘recipe’ of an illness, so the body can proceed with making the correct antibodies. The homeopathic remedy does not actually contain an illness. What it contains may be a variety of naturally occurring herbs, flowers, minerals, etc which, if  taken in incredibly massive doses, would produce similar symptoms in the body as whatever you are trying to fight off . Taking a homeopathic remedy is basically like reading a recipe card to your body.

You would therefore choose your remedy on the basis that “like cures like”, meaning you just need to choose the homeopathic remedy which would theoretically cause the same symptoms you are experiencing. A quick online search, or even the book provided by Boiron or Hyland’s near their products in a natural food store, are perfectly good sources for deciding what to use. (For example, is your runny nose your worst symptom? Allium Cepa–also known as Onion–is probably the right product.) Once you give it a run, you’ll find that it’s easy and even a little bit fun.

If you start taking your homeopathic remedy as  soon as you start feeling symptoms (this period of time is referred to as “the healing crisis”), then your chances of overcoming the cold before it really even has a chance to begin are greatly increased. There are good remedies out there that can be used for  adults, children, and infants (such as Heel BHI FluPlus), and all you have to do is change the dosing according the instructions. Always follow the instructions on the label.

There are also products made specifically for children, if you are concerned about dosing, but it is interesting to note that the measurements in homeopathic remedies (3c, 6c, 12c, 30c) simply indicate the number of times the product has been diluted, thereby breaking down the ‘recipe.’ So while you’d still stick to the lower numbers for children (like 3c and 6c), it does help some parents to know that the higher numbers do not contain higher amounts of the natural substance. You just don’t want to overwhelm your sweet baby’s body with information, is all.  (Homeopathic remedies can also end in “X.” Same goes for those.)

Homeopathic remedies are especially helpful with children because their bodies are already in the process of growing and changing, and they don’t contain as many of the chemicals which tend to make homeopathy less effective (such as caffeine, nicotine, mint/methol, artificial sweeteners, etc). As a note for adults, if you are going to take a homeopathic remedy and are able to cut out any of the above-listed chemicals from your own diet, it will help to improve the effectiveness for you as well.

By the time the healing crisis has ended, sore lymph nodes and head/body aches have generally subsided… and other symptoms have probably taken their place. The illness will still run its course, but it will be a shorter and less intense trip than if you were to brave it without homeopathy. Next time I will cover the 2nd step in overcoming your illness quickly and comfortably.

Stay healthy!

Jen DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Jennifer is a Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator in Colorado Springs. In addition to coaching couples through childbirth, she specializes in wellness coaching for prenatal and postpartum women and their precious children. She is the author of Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional and the proud owner of Eden’s Promise, LLC.

For more information about Jennifer, visit: EdensPromiseLLC.com

Your Natural Remedy Shopping List: Stock up before you need it!

I know, I know. It’s August. But I just spent the last week of my life dealing with a nasty, achy cold that just would not quit. The worst part? My kids (ages 5 and 9 months) and husband got it, too. Thankfully, we had the very last remnants of what I consider to be our essential arsenal of natural remedies still on hand from last year. I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing what to use and when, so I’m pretty sure we were able to cut the life span of this cold at least in half–as well as its intensity. It got me thinking that with the school year quickly approaching and winter on the way (yes, I said it!), it’s time to start restocking that handy arsenal of natural remedies so that I’m ready the next time my family is struck with a nasty cold. Since people inevitably ask me what I do for my family only after their family is already sick and they don’t have any remedies on hand, I decided to share my shopping list with you so that you can start stocking up, too!

Now, don’t go out and buy all of this stuff at once. Just make the list, stick it in your purse, and you’re bound to start finding these items on sale as you do your regular shopping. (I am a weekly King Soopers shopper, and a monthly Whole Foods and/or Natural Grocers shopper, FYI). By the time Old Man Winter knocks, you’ll be able to open the door with a fully loaded bazooka of effective remedies to blow him right back outside. Here’s the list. I’ll teach you what to do with it all later.

  • Lavender Essential Oil (I usually buy NOW brand from Whole Foods or Natural Grocers, and only when they are on sale.)
  • Lemon Essential Oil
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil (I wait for the big one of these to go on sale)
  • Traditional Medicinals Cold Care Sampler
  • Honey
  • Epsom Salts (Sam’s has a huge bag for under $10)
  • Nasal spray (one for each family member, including your babies, labeled for each person)
  • Homeopathic FLU remedy. I really liked the Heel BHI FLUPLUS from Whole Foods this time around.
  • Garlic and Olive Oil

That’s it! Pretty easy, huh. Now just keep the list handy and pick up items as you see them. Have fun, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Jennifer DeBrito, CCLD, CCBE

Holistic Christian Doula & Birth Educator

Author, Expectant Parents Workshop: Devotional

Owner, EdensPromiseLLC.com