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This is a momentous event in your life, which can and should be thoroughly enjoyable for both you and your baby. However it can also be a scary time, as new mothers will have a myriad of concerns about the health of their babies, and whilst most of these worries are minor, it is natural to be a little over anxious when it comes to the health of your own newborn.
This is one of the most common problems associated with infancy. It can be the result of a number of factors, but is generally considered to be related to an immature gut. While the causes are still not understood, there are a number of measures that can be taken, some of which may well lessen the problem.
1. Massage your baby gently and regularly in a warm room. Apart from relieving trapped wind this will help to develop the physical and emotional bond between you, improve sleep patterns and help to de-stress the baby. Infant massage has also been shown to have a positive effect on infantsâ immune and respiratory systems. We stock two blends of infant massage oils â Pure Potions Baby Bath Oil which is ideal as a massage oil (and also available as a balm) and Gaia Baby Massage Oil. Many other brands are available to order from us, just e-mail or call us to find out more or place an order. Always make sure that the oil is at room temperature before applying to the baby. Tips for massaging can be found here
2. Consider a change of formula (options include soya-based preparations or goats milk (this is deemed to be unsuitable as an infant formula by the EU so have a look at this article for more information or if you are breastfeeding, take into account what you yourself are eating â your baby may be exhibiting signs of an allergic reaction to something in your diet. Try excluding some of the more common allergens from your diet to see if it makes a difference – the most common culprits are cowâs milk, eggs, wheat (and gluten), fish and shellfish, peanut and tree nuts (almonds, etc.) and soya (which comes in many hidden forms such as hydrolised vegetable protein so check ingredient labels carefully).
3. There are a few herbs that can help to relieve colicky symptoms such as fennel, and chamomile. If breastfeeding, the mother can drink a mixture of these teas which will get through to the baby via the breast milk. If bottle-feeding, a small amount of tea prepared from either or both of these herbs can be given to the infant between feeds.
4. Cranial sacrotherapy is another route worth investigating. This highly effective practice can help to reset âretained mouldingâ- structural abnormalities in the skull caused by compression in the birth canal. You can find more information regarding cranial osteopathy here and more information and practitioners around Ireland here.
SKIN CONDITIONS (such as eczema, nappy rash and cradle cap)
These are a common occurrence during infancy and as the gut develops and immunity strengthens, sensitivities to environmental allergens should begin to fade. Certain factors may inhibit this development, such as exposure to antibiotics, choosing bottle-feeding over breastfeeding (for a detailed discussion of the advantages of breastfeeding click here. Outlined below are just a few things that can be done to help both reduce the symptoms and prevent the development of long-term chronic skin problems.
1. If your baby is suffering from nappy rash make sure that nappies are getting changed regularly, that the skin is well cleaned at changing time and kept as dry as possible. A breastfed baby should have fewer problems with nappy rash as their stools contain less enzymes and other elements that can irritate the skin. It is common for a baby to develop nappy rash during bouts of teething. A mug of chamomile tea made in the normal way and added to the bath water can make a dramatic difference. Pure Potions Nappy Salve, which contains extracts of healing herbs, is an excellent aid for healing the rash. If nappy rash is really persistent and severe it might be advisable to see your GP as this could be a sign of the presence of Candida.
2. Cradle cap is a self-limiting condition that usually clears up by around 6 months of age. Regular washing with a gentle baby shampoo and massage oil should be enough to minimise the outbreak (once again we stock the Gaia Baby Shampoo, which is very gentle, and we can take orders for many other popular brands) and it is important to note that cradle cap isnât usually as uncomfortable as it looks for the child in question.
3. If your baby is suffering from eczema there are a number of factors to consider such as changing formulas, if the baby is not breastfed. On the other hand, if you are breastfeeding, it may be helpful to adjust your own diet to include more essential fats. You could include nuts, seeds, oily fish, linseed or hemp oil in your diet. Alternatively, a supplement containing any of these key dietary constituents could provide useful support. Successful studies have also been carried out using hemp oil (a rich source of Omega-3s) on infants with eczema. This can be purchased in oil form, or it may be obtained in capsule form. Alternatively, the babyâs diet can be supplemented with Omega-3s found in fish oil, such as that available in Equazenâs Eye-Q Baby which you can find on the shelves in our shop.
Further to this, essential oils of lavender or chamomile can be helpful if added to a bath (or diluted with a base oil such as jojoba for massage). Try adding a sock full of oatflakes to the bath for extra soothing comfort.
What else would you like to learn about? Please feel free to contact us if you have further queries or would like to see us post articles on other areas of motherhood that might be useful to you.