Wouldn’t it be great if newborns came with an instruction booklet on how they will completely rearrange you life, establish solid routines, and bond with you, all while you’re frenzied from a lack of REM sleep? Sure, it’s nice to have a dream. You
can find a manual for just about anything on the planet… tuning up your car, installing track lighting, getting the best price on a BBQ grill. But what do you do when baby develops colic, starts teething, or gets a rash? In short, ask a doctor. But here are some home remedies, from one parent to another, that can put you (and baby) at ease.
One of the most frustrating baby ailments is colic. It can seem dreadful, painful, and never-ending. And it’s hard on the child, too. Doctors will usually use the “case of threes” when diagnosing this ailment: a healthy child that cries for the first three
months of life, for three or more hours per day, for three or more days per week. It occurs in about ten to twenty percent of babies. Symptoms (aside from the crying) might include a child that pulls up his/her legs, belches, tightens fists, or appears to be in pain while crying. There are many speculated causes, including sensitivity to dairy, or reflux. Check with your doctor for a true diagnosis. If it turns out to be gas, a few drops of Infant Mylicon added to the milk in baby’s bottle should do the trick. Soothing colic can be tricky, but one of the best methods is carrying your baby as much as possible, using a baby carrier or sling. Start a comforting routine before it kicks in. Once your baby is anxious and wound up, the situation gets more difficult to maintain. Other effective remedies are music, gentle rocking, tight swaddling, and creating “white noise” by running the dishwasher.
Another “right of passage” for babies is teething. When children begin teething, it may not be clear right away. A child who is fussy, sticking hands or objects in his/her mouth, and drooling with no other obvious cause is probably teething. There
are tried and true techniques for soothing little sore gums as the “little teeth that could” try to poke into the world. They
include frozen teething rings (make sure any edges are smooth.) Basically, anything cold and hard will work. Be sure not to use bagels or frozen waffles, as these could break off, causing baby to choke. One remedy that seems to work well is frozen breast milk. Frozen in ice cube trays, the milk becomes slightly slushy and is very handy for the nursing mother.
Rashes can seem somewhat of an enigma in an infant. They can be caused by external influences, like contact dermatitis (lotion/soap allergy, poison ivy) or more commonly by a viral illness (common cold, diarrhea.) In most cases, rashes will disappear after a few days, requiring only home treatment. Diaper rash is one of the most common rashes in babies between 9 and 12 months. Rubbing, bacteria, or moisture in baby’s urine or stool causes it. The fastest methods of home treatment include frequent diaper changes with super-absorbent diapers, and using a thick ointment that contains zinc oxide (to protect the skin.) If a bacterial infection has developed, a topical or oral antibiotic may be prescribed. Sometimes, oral antibiotics can cause baby to have diarrhea. In which case, the acids in the stool can irritate the skin. One of the most effective home treatments sounds like the most unorthodoxÃ¢Â?Â¦ using a cotton ball, coat baby’s clean bottom in Maalox or other antacid. This will neutralize the acids and soothe the area. And steer clear of baby wipes; they often aggravate an already sore area. Better yet is to gently cleanse the area with a soft tissue and plain water. (Warning: Do not ever feed Maalox to your baby ~ this is strictly a topical device.)
Being a new parent is stressful enough when your kids are healthy. There are many resources available to parents via the “Information Super Highway” and the neighborhood library on how to raise and care for your child. You have no doubt
become the master of healing with kisses, hugs, and ticklesÃ¢Â?Â¦ the rest should fall into place, right? Perhaps. All too often, treatment of baby ailments includes word-of-mouth advice from your sister’s cousin’s friend who used to work with the guy whose mom was a nurse at a pediatrician’s office. Try to relax and not panic. Just keep in mind that people do this every single day in every single country in the world. It will get better. The bottom line is getting what you need to help your child. So don’t be afraid to ask questions, gather information, and seek advice (even from your sister’s cousin’s friend.)