Alternatively Speaking: Mother's little helper

Alternative medicine expert Natalie Marx answers your questions: Can you suggest any herbal earache solutions for a toddler?

hug (photo credit: courtesy)
(photo credit: courtesy)
Natural remedies can indeed be a parent's best friend when it comes to treating and caring for their child's upsets. Natural medicine offers a safe and effective choice for many childhood ailments, and a much gentler and safer option than the pharmaceutical alternative.
Most pediatricians are beginning to understand today the bad habit of "over prescribing" to toddlers and infants and therefore will likely support the choice to try the natural alternative.  I suggest always using natural medicines with the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Q. Dear Natalie, I am a first time mother and my baby has just begun teething. As a homeopath, can you suggest homeopathic remedies to help soothe the pain and put her out of her misery?
A. Don't panic. There are many homeopathic remedies available to help ease the pain and reduce irritability during your child's teething. The benefit of homeopathic remedies is that they can be used as a safe and effective alternative to over-the-counter painkillers. Choose the homeopathic remedy that most closely suits your child's needs.
Aconitum Napellus: Aconite is especially indicated when there is a fever accompanying the teething. Use aconite when your baby is very fretful with lots of crying, and/or chewing on her fingers and hands. Your baby may also be waking from sleep violently.
Belladonna: If your child is startled upon waking during teething and has dilated pupils, belladonna is the remedy of choice. Flushing of the face and a feeling of heat indicate a need for this remedy. The baby is restless and may be easily startled.
Calcarea Carbonicam: Calc Carb is indicated in cases where there is sweating from the head along with gums that appear pale.The baby may begin teething at a later age.
Chamomilla: This is one of the most common homeopathic remedies for teething. It is especially beneficial to calm the nerves when a teething child wishes to be held constantly. The gums may be so tender that touching them is intolerable — they usually feel better from hard pressure and biting down on something cold. Another indication for Chamomilla is greenish diarrhea that occurs from the teething stress.
Silicea: Silicea is indicated when the teeth are slow to come in and where there are blisters formed on sensitive gums. Children who benefit from silicea may have problems with their bowel movements and often their sweat has a strong odor.
Sulphur: Use sulphur when there is a rash or reddish irritation on your baby’s chin or diaper area during teething episodes. Diarrhea may present as pale and your baby is irritable and anxious, feeling worse from being warm or covered up.
Q. Dear Natalie, Can you suggest any herbal earache solutions for my toddler or natural solutions…I am at a loss.
A. In my weekly infant clinic I've had hundreds of parents over the years that have had great success using common oils such as olive, grape seed and castor for their children's ear aches.
Make sure you warm the oil slightly by placing the vial in a glass of warm water and always test it on the wrist before placing it in your child's ear. Once the oil has warmed, place a few drops into the affected ear to help diminish pain and this will also soften wax stuck in the ear.
A few drops of warm breast milk can also alleviate pain and help kill off bacteria. If your child's ear has any oozing liquids from the ear, the drops should not be administered.
If you would rather not pour anything into your child's ear, I suggest holding a warm compress to the ear to ease pain and help any fluids drain. You can elevate your child by placing something under the head of her mattress to help reduce pressure caused by the fluid in the ears.
Q. Dear Natalie, I know I am not alone in this matter however I would be very grateful if you can help me. My baby is now 14 months and still not sleeping. My doctor has checked and said there is nothing he can do. Can you suggest any alternative solutions? 
A. Getting babies to sleep well can pose many challenges for new and old parents alike. In many situations, herbal sleep remedies may help your little angel fall asleep more quickly and sleep more peacefully.  As a safety precaution, do not use herbal sleep remedies in babies under the age of six months.
My preferred essential oil for cases of insomnia of all ages, including babies, is lavender. You can put a single drop of the essential oil directly in your baby's bath water, or look for a baby bath product containing lavender. You can also use lavender scented oil for a massage following bath-time.
Look for a topical ointment for your child with chamomile, often added to baby lotion. A few drops of chamomile can also be added to your baby's bath water.  If you are still breastfeeding, then drink chamomile tea before his/her bedtime and see the sleep enhancing benefits pass to your baby.
I also recommend nestling and rocking your baby to help them fall asleep. By placing the baby's head directly below your chin, the vibration from your voice can help calm them to sleep.
Also, establishing a bedtime ritual is an effective sleep remedy. A baby can really benefit from a consistent routine before sleep. When it is bedtime, try performing several calming activities such as reading books, giving a bubble bath, singing lullabies and giving good night hugs. Make sure you keep this routine up on weekends too. By helping a baby understand that it is time for bed can encourage him to fall asleep more easily.
This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments. This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.
Natalie runs a clinic both in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem offering a wide range of natural treatment, including a women’s clinic every Wednesday. To make an appointment please email [email protected].
Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer, email Natalie with your question at [email protected]
Someone Once Said: "
A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for."