6 common baby ailments sorted

Posted on February 18th, 2016

6 common baby ailments sorted

Babies need to build up their immune system, and a normal part of growing up is for them to ‘battle’ through a whole host of ailments, most of which are minor,” explains Dr Lorraine Becker, a family doctor in private practice in Gauteng. Learning to fight their way through these ailments builds both immunity and strength, she adds, which is exactly what you need to draw on to help them along the way.

1. My baby’s battling to feed

A blocked and congested nose is usually the culprit here, thanks to seasonal congestive rhinitis or a cold, which make it hard for your baby to suck, says Dr Raoul Goldberg, an integrated health practitioner and Medical Director of the Syringa Integrative Health Centre in Cape Town (www.syringahealth.co.za).

How to help your child:

Certain natural oils such as eucalyptus or a combination oil like Olbas, are wonderful natural remedies, as they actually liquefy the mucus and reduce congestion, says Dr Goldberg. “Never use these oils directly on the skin, but rather on clothing or a Certain natural oils such as eucalyptus or a combination oil like Olbas, are wonderful natural remedies, as they actually liquefy the mucus and reduce congestion, says Dr Goldberg. “Never use these oils directly on the skin, but rather on clothing or a

2. My baby’s throwing up

Babies and toddlers tend to vomit for a number of reasons, most of which are no cause for concern, says registered homeopath, Dr Jaci Schultz.
“One of the most frequent causes for newborn babies and infants vomiting – or, in this case, spitting up or posseting – is the fact that the digestive system is not fully matured, and the food moves from the stomach up the oesophagus and out of the mouth (onto your shoulder!) Reflux is another cause, as is a persistent postnasal drip due to allergies or infection.”

How to help your child:

Homoeopathic remedies like Silica 6ch, Lycopodium 6ch and Antimoniumcrudum 6ch, are often effective in treating spitting up or posseting, says Dr Schultz. “For reflux, try feeding your baby smaller quantities more frequently, and using homoeopathic remedies ike Aethusacynapium 6ch, Natrumphos 6ch and Calcareacarbonica 6ch. The homoeopathic nasal spray, Sinusan, is an excellent product to get rid of excess mucus secretions.
Be sure to consult your health practitioner if there’s blood or bile (a green-coloured liquid) in the vomit; if your baby is lethargic; if the vomiting persists for more than 24 hours, and at the first sign of dehydration; and if he has dry lips and mouth, absent tears, listlessness, depression of the ‘soft spot’ and decreased urination.”

3. My baby’s off his food

Any sign of your baby going off his food, should be investigated, says Dr Becker. “It could be an upper respiratory infection, a sore throat, an ear infection, or possibly a tummy problem.”

How to help your child:

Monitor your child closely while pushing the fluids – breastmilk/formula and boiled and cooled water – if he’s drinking and seems content, it should be okay for a day or two. Try feeding smaller amounts more often and keep an eye out for any indication that he may be dehydrated (see above). If the situation continues consult your doctor.

4. My baby’s rubbing his ears

When babies discover their ears, they tend to play with them constantly, says Dr Becker, “as it’s something new and fun to fiddle with! However, when your baby is rubbing one ear and is miserable and crying persistently, there’s definitely something wrong.”

How to help your child:

Keep a look out for a number of signs, advises Dr Becker. “If your baby goes off his food, has a temperature, and wakes up after half an hour, screaming (usually due to a build-up of pressure in his ear), he could well have an ear infection. This is extremely painful and needs medical treatment, as an unmanaged ear infection can lead to a burst eardrum.
Try to contain the fever by undressing your child and putting him into a warm bath, allowing the water to cool for 20 minutes. Calpol or Panado will help with both fever and pain.
Remember to always trust your instinct, and if you have any doubts and/or if symptoms persist or deteriorate, go straight to your doctor.
A massive ear infection may need grommets or may require oral antibiotics, although the trend today is to avoid giving these as much as possible.”

5. My baby has a fever

Fever is not an illness, but the body’s response to some irritation, explains Dr Goldberg. “And because fever is actually the healthy response of a healthy body to invasion, it’s usually not necessary to suppress it. While it’s natural for you to be concerned about your child’s feverishness, remember that most babies can handle low levels of up to 39°C very well. When temperatures go higher, his anxiety of having a fever fit does kick in, but this only occurs in about 4% of children.”

How to help your child:

Respect the fever, advises Dr Goldberg; it reduces viral counts, controls bacterial growth, and activates your baby’s whole immune function. “Don’t panic and keep an eye on his temperature. Ensure that he remains well hydrated, and if your baby is hot and uncomfortable, start sponging him with lemon or vinegar water (half strength), or use lemon or vinegar compresses (wrapped around his limbs to draw the heat out.)
You can also speak to your homeopath about fever-specific medication. Consult a medical practitioner if the temperature persists for 48 to 72 hours, if it goes above 39°C, or if your baby is younger than six months.”

6. My baby has mucky eyes

Oozing and crusty eyes are very common, says Dr Goldberg. “They’re usually caused by blocked tear ducts, but may also be due to conjunctivitis or another infection.”

How to help your child:

Diluted, sweetened camomile tea (dip a tea bag in and out of boiling water and allow to cool) is a great anti-inflammatory, says Dr Goldberg, “and so is breast milk dropped into the eyes. It’s antibacterial and works wonders.”
You can also try Colloidal Silver – drop it into the eyes two or three times a day, or dip cotton wool into it and work it around the eyes, suggests primary healthcare advisor, Jaymati Kunvar.
“From an Ayurvedic perspective, a Triphala Churna Solution is also highly effective, but don’t put it directly into the eyes. As with Colloidal Silver, dip cotton wool in it and use it to clean them.” Again, if symptoms continue, consult your health practitioner.

Living And Loving Staff

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Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals.