Mother and baby health care is a high priority for us at Bodywise – we can help you with the following from our herbal dispensary:
Here are some of the issues impacting mother and baby care:
pregnancy, morning sickness, labour, birth, babies, colic, post natal depression, milk flow, teething, constipation in babies, acne, rosacea, skin dryness, ezcema, boils, warts, chilblains, molluscum contagiosum, fungal infections, thrush, cold sore, nappy rash, croup, asthma and infectious childhood diseases and more.
Generally we use drop doses of herbal medicines or teas, probiotics and occasionaly liquid supplements.
Body wisdom for Mothers and Fathers with Babies
The following headings to lead you to a particular subject further down the page
- Look after Mother First
- Body wisdom for Mothers in brief
- A little preparation goes along way when managing a family
- Nature’s bounty
- Getting Enough Sleep
- Nature’s greatest gift – Breastfeeding
- The thrills and spills of Mothering
- Nature’s Baby: What to feed baby
- Teething & Colic
- Common Homeopathic remedies
- Common colds, diarrhoea and vomiting: Homeopathic remedies
- Hygiene and skin care
Look after Mother First
Oh yes! All those motherly instincts to put baby first are vital for the life of your baby. Yet in this era, when mothers are often home alone most of the day with a newborn, it is the mother who needs to take responsibility to see to her own needs and plan ahead, so that they can be in the best possible condition to look after themselves and their baby. Sometimes this is very difficult.
If you need help, please ask for it. How we do that is important. If verbal communication is not so easy write a realistic list of things you need done and leave it for your partner to read and discuss at a suitable time. This proactive approach can enhance your relationship during this stressful time. Keep in mind that the Dad’s may have had a demanding day at work and may be suffering from lack of sleep too. Of course all this info is also applicable for Dads, so do read on Dads.
Getting organized to make life run smoothly:
- Plan ahead for the next day. It’s a form of visualisation and it works.
- Simplify with foods that look like they come from nature.
- Prepare tomorrows lunch by doubling dinner. It is a great feeling to know a healthy lunch is alrady prepared before you sit down to your dinner.
- Enjoy lots of nutritious herbal teas, hot or cold to promote milk production
- Beautiful colourful food and rest make energy for you and your baby
- Rejuvenate with moderate exercise in the sunshine, at a park or beach and hopefully with a friend
- Reaching out for help is necessary for all of us and do not feel guilty, one day you may help someone in need.
A little preparation goes along way when managing a family
Plan outings and shopping by writing a list the night before. Imagine you have got to the evening of the following day and that it all went beautifully apart from of a few moments which you took in your stride. You had planned ahead the night before and had everything ready so your day went really well. Now that is worth celebrating. What a great habit to create and way to reduce stress.
When going shopping leave baby at home if possible with Dad or a friend, it is a brief opportunity to have some space. Also, retail therapy is not what its cracked up to be. Get out into nature with a yummy snack and drink with company will be far more restful and invigorating.
Nature’s bounty – Choose food from all food groups and make it is colourful, fun and a taste sensation
- The key to health and energy is all about preparation
- Shop for several days with the intention of preparing enough food for 2 meals at a time and at a time of the day when you have energy.
- At your main meal (dinner or lunch), double the amount of food you prepare. Have extra fish or meat, vegetables (salad) and complex carbohydrates (roasted vegetables or wholegrain rice) that may be made into a soup or salad for the following day.
- Eat a great variety of food that looks like it has come from the garden or the farm, is colourful, smells good, and where possible is not wrapped in plastics (plastic leaches into our food and is NOT good for any of us)
- Portion size guidelines for each meal –
- Protein, the size of your palm, Vegetables, the size of both of fists, and fats the size of a teaspoon, with each meal and perhaps an extra potato or spoon of wholegrain rice depending on how much exercise you get.
- As many people are sensitive to bread and the sensitivity can be passed to babies, avoid bread where possible (except gluten free in moderation) by enjoying lots of vegetables and complex carbohydrates.
- Breakfast is so important to stimulate metabolism, energy and milk production. Enjoy raw, unsweetened muesli soaked overnight in water and natural unsweetened yoghurt or full fat milk or, if dairy free rice or almond milk. In the morning add fresh fruit and a tablespoon of almond butter or tahini and a spoon full ground linseed or LSA for breakfast and. Make enough to keep for a high energy pick up in the midafternoon instead of a muffin!! By soaking muesli your food is easily digested.
- Alternatively enjoy eggs or sardines on toast are terrific brain foods. You will be full of energy until morning tea.
- For snacks (even in the middle of the night), savour antioxidant packed fruit, best eaten between meals that provide you with readily available energy minerals and vitamins, fiber and water that promote efficient digestion and protection from oxidative stress during the long days and nights. Other great snacks are small handfuls of walnuts, almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked for several hours and then strained) or sardines, tomato and avocado on a gluten free bread or some left over muesli.
- Lunch is a must for energy, so enjoy those leftovers as a soup or salad. Salads are lovely life giving energy complete with a good oil dressing made from extra virgin olive and flaxseed oil and tasty apple cider. Essential fats are vital for mood and hormone production and many more functions in the body.
- Dinner, just think colour and all food groups, some raw, some cooked, add herbs/spices, some sea salt, make food yummy, present it well. When you plate up dinner, add 2 lunch boxes and you will be pleased to know that you have just made lunch for you and your partner!
- Lastly, remind yourself that this beautiful food is your fuel to make you and your baby happy and content. You will get so much more enjoyment and digestibility from your food if you can eat before you are ravenous or to tired, can sit in the sun and take a little time to enjoy.
Getting Enough Sleep
- Sleep is vitally important for health. Sleep deprivation leads to health problems and emotional stress. We strongly recommend that you do not feel guilty for laying down after feeding in the afternoon. So plan a nap every day, your body, mind and soul will be grateful.
- Fathers may need more sleep too. During the weekends take turns on the afternoons to get a nap and during the week if your baby is restless at night, getting a sleep earlier in the night can help if you have a long night ahead.
- Get help if baby is unsettled, earlier rather than later. A Naturopath may identify reasons not always covered. Sometimes the developing digestive tract becomes sensitive and needs some calming herbs and healthy probiotics to increase the good bacteria in their bowel.
- Foods that increase the happy chemicals in your brain and fuel your metabolism are very important. Sorry to sound like a stuck record but seriously, alcohol and coffee do not feed a tired body and mind!!
- For symptoms of fatigue, spaced out feelings always think of taking a dose of Homeopathic Cocculus – while not a miracle cure you will feel better and when you get to have chance for a nap the body should be ready to take it.
- A lovely relaxing tea from Artemis or a tonic from our Herbal Dispensary will lift tired spirits and nurture the nervous system. And I cannot stress this enough, if you think you are feeling really out of sorts, with negative thoughts, overly tearful and generally have feelings of not coping, do get help. Bodywise is there and we are all mothers and know how it might be.
Nature’s greatest gift – Resting to feed your baby.
- Breast milk is undoubtedly the perfect food for every baby, being the ultimate fast food that is free! Of course for many reasons some mothers are unable to breast feed. All the information below is suitable for bottle fed babies. If breasting feeding is an issue at an emotional level, sometimes it is associated with anxiety of your ability as a mother and counselling may help you move through the impasse and benefit you as a mother and ultimately how you bond with the baby.
- The nature of the conception, pregnancy and birth of a baby, as well as the quality of important relationships to the father, family and friends can also impact the experience of the mother. If there has been significant stress the mothers stress hormones can become depleted creating anxious moments and reducing confidence. With emotional support and the use of herbal medicine we can lift mood, reduce anxiety and bring about a greater feeling of energy and ability to cope.
- Feeding time is not just about feeding baby. Feeding also ensures mothers stop, rests, relaxes and has a cup of tea and snack! A hurried mother may create an unsettled and anxious baby, so slow down and enjoy providing one of life’s greatest gifts. Create a comfortable place, laying down or in a chair, with your feet up and with a side table for the warm herbal tea or cold drink you prepared earlier, so that you can enjoy the giving and receiving between you and your baby. A nice view into the garden will be most rejuvenating for those feeling really tired.
- Change position with each feed to avoid bruising areas on your nipples. Use Weleda Hypercal or Thyme Heal – comfrey cream to reduce swelling and bruising
- A well fed and watered mother will be relaxed and have the energy to produce beautiful milk. To promote milk production drink a tea containing the herb nettle and fennel like Weleda’s “Nursing Tea or Artemis’s “Breastfeeding tea” At Bodywise, we also have one we call “Galactogogue Tea”. This is an old term used to describe herbs that aid the production of milk. Always have a drink handy for that thirst that comes as soon as the “let down reflex” begins. By making tea in the morning in any old pot, with enough to last most of the day, you will always have some on hand to enjoy hot or cold at a moment’s notice. Warning! Do not reheat in the microwave (nutrients can be destroyed by microwave), just pour enough of the concentrate to give yourself a good dose and add boiling water. Please keep clear of baby until it has cooled a little!!
The thrills and spills of Mothering
- Managing yourself and your baby. Babies are immensely enjoyable and sometimes immensely frustrating. Babies will let you know what they want, yet will also fit in and go anywhere with you without too much trouble if you are prepared and attend to your needs and their needs before they become distressed.
- Our Bodywise advice includes, if you have something planned for the next day, prepare the night before! Anything from soaking your muesli for breakfast, gathering your baby items, packing your lunch box and Eco Tanker (stainless steel water bottle) with herb tea. Also think about what you and the baby will want or need to wear, are the keys to the car are in your handbag with your wallet and you have already put the buggy in the car. Even think about the weather and the hats or sun cover (not SPF for a baby), foot wear. Got all that and you can be ready to go!!
- Trust your instincts, if you feel worried that something is not right with baby, that will be your cue to get help from your midwife or go to the doctor. Listen to your and your partner’s internal wisdom.
- Ask for help if you need it. If you were asked to help another mother, you would do your best to help and without hesitation. Therefore remember that what goes around comes around and that when you feel you need a hand, just reach out, it is OK to ask. It may seem an effort to ask however, socialising with friends is a normal human trait so enjoy a stroll along the riverside or through a park with a friend. Nature and company will inspire you far more than shopping! However if you are in the city and are looking for a quiet place to feed a baby or have a rest then you have an open invitation find that peaceful place at Bodywise
- Look after yourself with beautiful colourful food, gentle exercise and sleep when you can. Seek out nature not mindless shopping, nature rejuvenates every time. Practice loving and encouraging talk to yourself during tough times and heap on the gratitude during peaceful times. All of that will ensure your baby feels they are in great hands.
- If you really feel you are not coping, and all practical measures have been addressed with your midwife or doctor, you may be helped by some St John’s Wort or a supplement to raise your nutrient levels. Your hormonal system (the endocrine system) may need rebalancing and this can usually be treated with herbs and supplements. In these situations there is no one prescription to fit all, you need to seek guidance from a Bodywise medical herbalist or naturopath.
Nature’s Baby: What to give baby.
Quite simply, food that looks like it came from Mother Nature.
- As stated above breast milk is the perfect food for the first year and while food is gradually introduced. Natural health principles encourage natural foods that look fresh that can be eaten raw, cooked or from frozen for EVERYONE EVERYDAY. Organic produce is great however not economic for all. So try to by local, spray free and hopefully you may grow vegetables to help supplement your grocery bill. Avoid all processed foods.
- In general, what did all our ancestors eat that fed them so well that we are, hundreds of generations later here today? They ate vegetables, fruit and some nuts in season, some eggs, meats, fish and fowl. Since the agrarian age began about 5000 years ago, wheat came on the menu in greater amounts as did more milk, but even then nothing like what we eat today. There is a big debate now about the gluten and gliadins in flours and the very short preparation and baking methods that appear to be undermining health Pasteurised milk devoid of all the naturally occurring good bacteria for our digestive systems are also being questioned along with rancid cheap polyunsaturated vegetable oils
- Fat is also controversial – For adults we suggest about the size of your little finger of fat made up of animal fat and coconut oil(saturated), extra virgin oil (monosaturated)and fish or linseed (polyunsaturated) omega 3 oil. About 3 teaspoons in all. For a baby or child, it’s the size of their little finger.
- Human milk is sweet and high in fats. So for a start, babies need food that tastes similar and yet is coming from nature. So firstly think about what we as adults eat in our healthy meals, and pulverise for baby. Adding a little avocado and tiny amounts of meat broths, butter or coconut oil will give creamy nature to rice, kumara, carrots etc.
- Initially stay clear of all grains and dairy products except natural yoghurt or unpasteurised milk if you can get it. When you do wish to offer bread, get the best quality sour dough bread from a traditional bakery. The process takes at least 3 days and this means the fermentation process has broken down the grain making it far more easily digested.
- Start slowly, with tiny amounts, one new food at a time. Vary the flavours and textures. As soon as your baby is ready simply mash up some of last night’s dinner, with a little broth (including the jelly that appears in the container from cold meat) from meat and vegetables and some fruit. Add a ¼ tsp of butter or coconut oil for extra fat and calories.
- Finely grate, mash, or liquidise, any natural food until baby is old enough to pick up foods. Babies love to suck on their fingers so that they can enjoy the taste and play with food which becomes a learning experience.
- For older babies, some prefer food separated neatly on the plate, it’s a personality type. Being creative with the layout and making it fun and colourful only takes a minute.
- Sit and eat with your baby, they are bright little buttons and will watch you and want to copy; it is a social event that creates communication and builds relationships. Sitting and eating is a good discipline to create for life.
- In hot months and when babies are more than a couple of months old, do introduce them to water, mostly between meals. I strongly recommend you squeeze a little breast milk into the water to get them going.
- Do not buy expensive high sugar cordials or packaged cereals. To use a sipper cup, make sure the baby is sitting down and is upright. When you get into diluting with more water, do the best thing and either use a thick glass or a stainless steel Ecotanker so that baby is not drinking plastic!!!
- Herbal teas (tested for quality and purity) are a pleasant and natural way to get potent antibacterial/viral properties into the diet at an early age. Try oat straw, nettle, berries, parsley, thyme and mint, lemon rind all soaked and diluted well.
- Do not eat treats such as ice-cream and such foods in front of babies, they will learn what we role model to them! If you eat well babies and children will in most cases just copy their parent’s habits and behaviour. That’s food for thought! Babies also copy our attitude, language and behavior in general.
Treating common health problems
Warning: Do not ignore serious problems. Go to your doctor if your intuition is telling you to.
Teething & Colic
- Colic- cramping in the abdomen, with varying degrees of pain, trapped wind, diarrhoea and or constipation may be due to a skeletal and energetic problems due to the birthing process, a lack of good bacteria within the babies gut and sensitivity to just about anything.
- First of all check with a cranial sacral therapist to ensure the plates that make up the head are sitting as they should and the spine is also in correct alignment.
- Check your own diet for allergy creating foods like bread and sometimes dairy products, excess tea, coffee not to mention cigarettes and alcohol!! Just don’t drink!!
- Drinking herbal tea containing fennel, peppermint, and aniseed will quieten colicky babies. Herbs may be given directly in diluted doses as has happened for centuries. Just make sure the quality and purity of the herbs.
- The baby can be given a Probiotics in powder form from birth to ensure the good bacteria a present in adequate amounts in the bowel of the baby. Check with our practitioners at Bodywise for the correct version.
- Mother may also take the Probiotics before delivery and most importantly after any prescription of antibiotics for mother or baby.
Homeopathic remedies – Colic
Chamomilla for irritable and clingy babies, with green spinach type stools. No matter what you do, you cannot placate these cross little babies. Belladonna for very red faced, hot glassy eyed babies with pain that may be from any inflammation.
Lycopodium for babies with stomachs that are fully distended, creating fretful babies who look anxious and worried. Lycopodium babies are always much worse in the late afternoon and into the evening. To get the right remedy consult a homeopath. No one remedy fits all.
Homeopathic remedies –Teething
Teething usually starts from about 3 months of age. Symptoms of dribbling, hot red gums and cheeks and sometimes a full on fever can respond to the homeopathic remedies Belladonna and Chamomilla mentioned above. There are many more but they are a good place to start. A homeopath can usually set you on the right track especially for those babies who have great difficulty with the teeth coming through.
Homeopathic remedies – Common colds, diarrhoea and vomiting
Baby’s temperature mechanisms take a good year to develop. They will get cold or hot quickly. When we feel warm on a warm summer afternoon, that lovely breeze may be too cold. In winter always put a hat on and keep out of the wind! Conversely a cold damp bedroom is not for a baby and neither is a very hot one. Damp and mold are a recipe for health problems. During the day open the windows, air the bedding, keep dust to a minimum.
Homeopathic remedies are often used to treat colds and tummy problems and can make such a difference to life at home and especially in the night when illness becomes apparent. There is so much to know that I strongly recommend an introductory class for all interested parents.
Ailments from fright both psychological and physical that bring on anything from nightmares (flashback after a traumatic experience of any nature like earthquakes, car accidents, witnessing violence), sniffles and croup, after exposure to cold wind. Especially when the first sign of symptoms comes on with a drop in the temperature, in the evening and night.
Diarrhoea and vomiting. Tummy bugs like salmonella poisoning or gastric flu – it works a trick nearly every time.
For thick colds and clingy babies who are off their food and drink
There are too many homeopathic remedies to list, so come into Bodywise and if we can help we will or refer you to a Homeopath. The above homeopathic remedies are not a substitute for a doctor’s diagnosis.
Hygiene and skin care – Less is more.
- Body wisdom says that if you over wash skin with harsh chemicals it becomes dry and the fragile balance is tilted in toward dry skin that is sensitive and open to infections. Check out those disposable wipes, chances are they are not very friendly towards young bottoms. Have lots of cheap flannels or old towels cut up and use once only and put into the wash.
- Always check out the ingredients in skin care and wash products.
- At Bodywise we love the organic Weleda range for all things baby and very kind to skin. A good barrier cream is essential and there are a great variety available.
- Sunscreen – do not use unless the product is free from preservatives. There is evidence that the chemicals used may react with sunlight to create skin irritation. Do expose baby to sunlight in 10 to 15 min periods before 10am and after 4pm. The Vitamin D is very important for all of us.
- Damp and dusty rooms and bedding are not good for babies and if you have any pets keep them out of the bedroom as well.
Enjoy learning about how you can provide a healthy environment for you and your partner, and your baby will grow into a hearty and curious youngster. Each year you will learn more and they will reflect back to you everything you teach them.
Parenting can be a great experience with some help, so do come into Bodywise, we will do our best to get you sorted.