Herbal Remedies for Babies
How to help your baby using alternative remedies
In this week's blog, Oswestry Herbarium looks at helping your baby with Colic, Teething, Sleeping and Colds.
This week we ask our Oswestry Herbarium expert, Medical Herbalist Louise Idoux, what are the best herbal remedies for babies?
To contact the herbarium just call 01691 656934 or visit the website by clicking on this link Oswestry Herbarium
Herbal remedies for babies
Parents have often looked to alternative remedies to treat their children, preferring to use natural treatments as a gentle alternative to conventional medicine. It’s important to treat children carefully and it is always recommended that you seek expert advice from your herbalist.
Louise, our experienced herbalist at Oswestry Herbarium, offers bespoke advice for every parent and baby. It’s recommended that you drop into the herbarium for a quick chat or book a consultation with Louise where she can help you identify your exact needs and prescribe the appropriate remedies that may help your baby.
Louise tells us, “I’m often asked if it's possible to administer herbs to babies and how to do this. Herbs have been used for babies for millennia, safely and effectively. The commonest complaints amongst the parents of babies are those of colic, teething, sleep problems, and colds.”
Herbal remedies are safe for babies when given in the recommended ways. Remember that less is often more and small amounts should be used to help our little ones.
Breast or bottle
Firstly, before deciding on the best baby colic remedies, Louise likes to identify whether the baby is breast or bottle-fed. If the baby is breastfeeding she tells us that she will administer a colic remedy to the mother so that it can be passed through in her milk. If the baby is bottle-fed, Louise’s advice is to add the herbal remedy directly to the baby’s bottle.
Breast milk can also often be an answer in itself, it can provide easily absorbed nutrients designed by nature to be exactly what your baby needs. It has antioxidants, enzymes, and immune benefits. It contains antibodies from mum, as when the mother is exposed to different things, such as coughs and colds, the resistance built up by mum will be passed to the baby through her milk.
Breast milk is also normally abundant and available whenever your baby may need it. However, where breastfeeding is difficult, feeding formula from a bottle is an excellent alternative.
Unfortunately for our tiny babies, colic is very common. Colic can be absolute agony for your baby and can feel like the worst abdominal pain ever. It’s basically a spasm in the digestive tract.
Colic has symptoms such as difficulty settling, crying with no obvious reason, clenching fists, drawing their little legs up to their tummies, arching their backs, they may go red in the face, and you may hear rumbling tummy noises or notice they have a lot of wind.
Colic can be triggered by different things that may vary between breast and bottle-fed babies.
These triggers might include things like difficulty digesting milk or food, intolerance to certain foods such as cow's milk(even if consumed by the mother in the case of breastfeeding), or in some instances - bodily discomfort from the birthing process that may be helped by an Osteopath who specialises in infant treatment.
Fortunately, Medical Herbalist - Louise Idoux, reassures us that there are some natural baby colic remedies that can really help.
Louise says that - “amongst other herbal remedies for babies, traditionally gripe water has often been used. This is made from distilled dill seed extract and is very mild and safe, however, may not actually achieve that much.”
“What may be more helpful as a remedy for colic is a combination of herbs made into an infusion with boiling hot water. This is then allowed to cool and then drunk by the mother or added to the baby's own feed bottle.”
Below is the combination of gentle herbs that Louise recommends to help settle colic.
- Chamomile 1 spoon
- Fennel seeds 1 spoon
- Aniseed seeds 1 spoon.
- Add the herbs to a mug or teapot. Pour on boiling hot water and allow it to stand for 10-15 minutes.
- Drink the liquid (Breastfeeding Mother), or allow to completely cool and add 1-2 teaspoons to the milk formula.
- This may be done several times throughout the day. Remember that herbs are gentle, so persistence is key.
- This combination can be used in any situation where the baby is fractious and is therefore of benefit with a sleepless baby too.
Teething is the next memorable stage of development, and how to soothe a teething baby can be a real challenge for a parent.
Teething is where the milk teeth first appear through the gums. Teething can cause sore gums, either one or both red cheeks, a rash on the face, a high temperature, general discomfort, and unsettledness, problems sleeping, and in addition, babies may gnaw on things like teething toys more than normal.
Teething can also cause teething-induced diarrhea which is thought to be when increased saliva production can cause stool to become a little loose.
It can be tempting to look for the best teething medicine but Oswestry Herbarium advises us on how to soothe a teething baby naturally.
Some infants will suffer terribly and parents will often seek guidance. Louise advises us on some gentle herbal remedies for babies whilst they are experiencing the teething process.
The main remedies to help with teething are;
- Chamomile (infusion - normally a tea)
- Marshmallow roots to chew on (softens gums)
- Homeopathic Chamomilla, Pulsatilla, or calc. Carb
- Walnut Flower remedy (any transition)
As most parents know, babies don’t follow the rules of sleep. More often than not, our babies are awake in the night and can sometimes be difficult to settle, leaving tired parents looking for answers to help their babies sleep at night.
A regularly searched-for answer by tired parents is - what are the best natural supplements to help my baby sleep?
It’s important to remember that only gentle remedies are needed for babies and sometimes lifestyle and routine changes can be the answer.
Medical herbalist Louise advises that using 1-2 drops maximum of Lavender oil in the bath or a diffuser can aid relaxation and sleep, as well as Chamomile as an infusion for Mother and Baby.
Simply boil water and steep a bag of chamomile tea for about ten minutes. If breastfeeding then it’s best for the mother to drink it or otherwise allow it cool to room temperature and put 1-2 teaspoons in your baby’s bottle.
Cough and cold
Another regularly asked question is how can I treat my baby’s cough naturally?
Coughs and colds are common and can be really distressing when your little one is suffering and finding it hard to clear and decongest their throat and nose.
A simple way to help is the use of steam. It’s recommended that you steam up your bathroom and take your baby in there to try to decongest. You can also use a vaporizer in the bedroom to help this.
Turmeric is also thought to be an aid to treating your baby’s cough naturally, simply mix up a small amount (1 teaspoon) of turmeric with water until it becomes a paste and apply it to your baby’s chest and feet. Leave for as long as possible (preferably while your baby is sleeping) before wiping away. The heat from the turmeric may help dilute mucus and help congestion run out of the nose.
Herbal remedies for babies can be used for many other conditions. The best path is to talk to an expert. Remember that it’s always important to get professional advice about herbal remedies for babies directly from your herbalist. Louise is happy to listen to your individual worries and give one-to-one advice. Give Oswestry Herbarium a call on 01691 656934 to book a consultation or visit the website Oswestry Herbarium for more info.
Happy Baby, Happy Parent!