ideal for babies and children as it is a gentle yet effective system of
medicine. The highly diluted
natural substances used in homeopathic medicines are safe to use in the very
young, including newborn babies.
By acting as a catalyst to their developing immune systems, homeopathy
can effectively raise the immunity of your child(ren) to help them deal with
illnesses or other problems as they grow.
Plus, on the practical side, the mildly sweet pills, powders or liquids
are easy to dispense, being more palatable than many conventional medicines and
without the side effects or risk of long term dependency.
homeopathy does not only help when your child is ill. It can also help children who are angry, unhappy, frightened
or traumatized, who have difficulty accepting change or who suffer symptoms
during their natural growth and development (breastfeeding difficulties, colic,
teething, weaning and digestion problems, nursery bugs, school and separation
anxiety, exam stress, growing pains, hormonal difficulties and more). Also, by seeing a professional
homeopath regularly (once every few months), together we can often prevent
life’s stresses from developing into more serious conditions.
complaints can you safely treat at home?
fast with children because they are usually full of vitality. Acute complaints such as fevers can in
many cases be resolved rapidly at home using a well indicated remedy, often avoiding
the need for conventional medicine (for more on how to use homeopathy at home please come to one of my workshops).
If your child’s symptoms are severe or chronic (ongoing or recurrent),
you should consult a practitioner (contact me).
If your child is already undergoing homeopathic treatment, it is best to
check with their homeopath before prescribing at home.
All the remedies
mentioned here should be given in a 30c potency (unless otherwise stated), and should not be repeated more than three times in one day for an intense acute, or three
times over three days for a less intense acute. If there is no change, or some change but still some
symptoms persist, then try another indicated remedy and / or consult a
breastfeeding problems can be addressed simply by ensuring a good latch and
feeding position (see video illustration here), so it is important to consult a breastfeeding counselor if
you are having problems. To find
one, and for homeopathic suggestions for breastfeeding difficulties experienced by the
mother, please see here.
Sometimes however, after having got advice and done everything you can,
your baby still just can’t latch on or suckle effectively, or cannot hold down,
digest or absorb the milk. If that
is the case, you may like to consider one of the following remedies (with thanks to Patricia Hatherly for this information):
- Calc carb babies tend to be hungry but lazy
sucklers who become disgruntled if they have to work too hard for their
milk. They prefer it if thier
mothers have a bountiful supply and fast let-down. They tend to guzzle but then may
regurgitate much of their milk because they overfill their stomachs. They also tend to get hot and
sweaty during feeds, especially at the back of their heads.
- Calc phos babies, on the other hand, have the
reputation of refusing their mothers milk, as they appear to have
difficulty coordinating their breathing and suckling, and can appear blue
around the mouth. Quite often
they may have had hiccups in utero, and show an intolerance to cow’s milk,
even in the mother’s diet.
- Silicea babies appear physically weak and
tend to find holding their heads up to suckle so tiring that they fall
asleep at the breast and have trouble pulling the nipple far enough into
the mouth to get a good latch (see the video on the breastfeeding page for
an example of a good latch).
Instead they tend to ‘flutter suck’ which does not help them feed
sufficiently, leaves them exhausted, sweaty, and failing to thrive. Often, increasing the protein and
general nutrition of the mother’s diet can help, as can switching breasts
often to encourage multiple let-downs.
ColicColic is a
general term for when babies cry in pain for no obvious reason, but it is
generally thought to be due to abdominal pain due to their developing digestive
system resulting in wind, cramps and pain. It usually comes on a few days or even weeks after birth,
and usually comes on in the early evening - or can last all day and night. Sometimes changes to the mother’s diet
helps if she is breastfeeding, or it is often due to an intolerance of cow’s
milk in formula. Cranial
osteopathy is highly recommended for colic, as it can also result from the
stresses of birth and adjusting to life outside the womb, and some people found
infant pro-biotics to be useful.
You may also like to consider the following homeopathic remedies:
- Magnesium phos can be useful when your baby doubles
up in pain. They may occasionally have colic with few other symptoms. Their pains are better for warmth
and for bending double; babies pull their legs up and are better for heat
such as a warm hand or lying on a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.
- Chamomilla is often used when the abdomen and
stomach are bloated and the pains are unbearable and severe. With
diarrhea, the stools may be green and may smell of rotten eggs or look
like chopped eggs and spinach (even though all they may have had is breast
milk or formula). Babies needing this remedy scream with anger and are
restless. They demand to be carried (fast rather than slowly) and cannot
be comforted. They want
things that are then rejected and drive their parents crazy.
- Colocynthis can help babies with a bloated abdomen and green
diarrhoea. The pains are severe and come in waves. They are worse after eating
(especially fruit) or drinking, if over heated and before a bowel movement.
They are better after passing a stool and for pressure or rubbing. Babies draw
their legs up and are better for having their tummies rubbed. They scream with
pain and are better if you put them over your knees or shoulder to give
pressure to their abdomen.
If you are
breastfeeding, you may also need to consider your diet, as high sugar,
including fruit sugar diets can make breast milk hard for some young babies to
digest. For more on this please
see Patricia Hatherly’s breastfeeding diet suggestions. See also Miranda Castro’s article on Colic for more remedy suggestions.
There are other reasons why babies might scream however:
The baby who screamed for a week, by Miranda Castro
One Wednesday morning Susan called to tell me that her nine-month-old
baby, Alice, was teething and had been screaming day and night
for two days ... and two nights!
She said "I am so frustrated...
Nappy rash, cuts and scrapes.
Calendula (Marigold) used as a cream is very healing and
anti-septic, or it can be used in potency (6c for a week). If symptoms are
severe or persistent, please seek professional homeopathic help as they may
require constitutional treatment to deal with the underlying susceptibility.
Calendula is also excellent for cuts and scrapes, and healing skin wounds in general.
TeethingTeething is a necessary part of
life. It’s a pain we have to
endure, but it comes and goes in waves, and it does pass. Tibetans, for example, believe that the
pain of teething is necessary to bring a child’s spirit fully into it’s
physical body (they also say that every time a child falls down whilst learning
to walk, they forget one of their past lives – again necessary for the child to
live fully in the present). For
this reason, I do not necessarily recommend even homeopathic treatment for
teething unless there are other symptoms that indicate a remedy. After all, it's not a disease. But please do read the section on ‘coughs and colds’
below, as these often go hand in hand with teething.
If your child is really angry or miserable with the pain however, you might like to consider one of the following remedies (see also Miranda Castro's video on the left here).
- Chamomilla is a commonly used remedy for when
your child is inconsolable and angry with the pain of teething (usually
when they are cutting the gum), with contrary demands (Pick me up! Put me down! Give me that! – then throws it
back at you).
- Pulsatilla - miserable, crying, whining, clingy children who want cuddling and soothing and who are much better for being in fresh air.
(individual) homeopathic treatment however will most likely help your child
through teething most, and should be sought from a qualified practitioner.
For advice on treating tooth decay, both in children and parents (or parents to be), please see my page on holistic dentistry.
and coughs and colds go together.
Even if you can’t see your child’s teeth yet, they are still using a lot
of their energy to push them through the jaw bone, before they even reach the
gums. This requires the body to
produce a lot of lubrication in the form of saliva (drooling) and mucous (especially
with the top teeth that have to come through the jaw bone below the nose and
sinuses). In fact the whole facial
and sinus area can become full and feel swollen just with the work of teething.
If the mucous is
clear, then it is unlikely that your child has an infection or cold. But the increased mucous and saliva at
this time can still make them cough, especially if they are sleeping on their
back at night (for this reason always prop a coughing child up high on a pillow
if they sleep on their back).
Often however, this is also an opportune time for viruses and bacteria
to strike, as your child’s vitality is already compromised just by the work of
producing teeth, and the extra mucous, especially if they get tired and cold,
is perfect for bacteria to grow on.
This is when you see the mucous become thick, green and or yellowy which
can make the cough worse, and the symptoms can move into their chest.
The best advice
therefore whilst teething is to just keep your child warm, at home, well rested,
and if you are breastfeeding, to nurse them as much as possible. This will not only provide them with
anti-bodies to fight off any infection, but will also soothe the pain and helps
them to sleep (if they bite you, take them off the breast, give them something
else to chew on, and don’t offer the breast again until the urge to bite, like
an itch, has passed). With this
treatment, infections and colds can be often avoided or resolved as rapidly as
If your child is
getting repeated bouts of bad coughs or colds, constitutional (individual)
treatment from a professional homeopath is required. If they have other symptoms as well, such as pain, a fever, a sore
throat or earache, then consider one of the remedies listed below or under the teething section above.
FeverNursing ourselves and our families
through a fever can be an anxious time for many of us. The first thing most people do is reach
for some pills (antipyretics) such as paracetamol, asparin, tylenol or
ibuprofin thinking that they may prevent febrile convulsions following a high
temperature. This is now widely
recognized however, including by the medical establishment, as a harmful
misconception. Trying to bring
down a temperature artificially is not generally a safe option as there are
associations between antipyretic use and risk of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis,
eczema and autism (for more on fever with please see here).
I don't even
necessarily recommend homeopathy for fevers, but it can be helpful if other
symptoms are also present. The
most commonly used remedies for children’s fevers are the ‘ABC’ of
homeopathy. They can even be
bought as a combination remedy with all three together in one pill, but I don’t
recommend using it as it’s much better to observe your child’s symptoms and
select the best single remedy for them.
In this way you can learn a lot more about your child and about
homeopathy that will help you both in the future.
- Aconite fevers come on very fast, especially
after being out in cold winds, and the child wakes in the night (often
around midnight) with intense fear, anxiety and restlessness.
- Belladonna is used where the fever comes on
suddenly and they are burning hot but dry with a flushed red face (or
other painful part – eg ears or throat), with glassy spaced out eyes with dilated pupils, and they may be delirious,
having hallucinations or nightmares.
- Chamomilla is also used for burning fevers with
shivering, where the child is angry with any pain or discomfort, and contrary in it’s demands –
rejecting what it has only just requested and driving carers mad.
Stomach bugs can affect the whole family, so bear
these remedies in mind for both children and adults:
- Nux vomica is often used for bad tempered,
impatient children (or adults) with vomiting, especially after rich foods.
- Arsenicum is a highly used remedy for vomiting
and diarrhea, perhaps with chills and a fever (hot on the inside, cold on
the outside), restlessness, anxiety and fastidious fussiness – nothing is
right and they may demand things to be ‘just so’.
- Arnica is the most widely used homeopathic
remedy because of its excellent action of reducing bruises and bumps quickly
and for shock or fright. Typically
people needing this remedy will say things like “don’t touch me, I’m fine”
after a shock or accident, when clearly they aren’t.
- Ruta is the number one remedy for sprained
ankles. While Arnica works on the soft muscle tissues of the
body, ruta works on the tendons.
and earacheBoth of these can
be very distressing for children and their families, especially when they
happen again and again. However
usually the cause is viral rather than bacterial, so repeated courses of
anti-biotics are likely to do more harm than good. Grommets used for ear infections are also not without
problems and do not help to treat the underlying cause of the infections. In most cases, constitutional
(individual) treatment from a qualified homeopath can resolve these
issues. Studies have found homeopathy to be superior to conventional treatment and placebo for ear infections (http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/304/19/2161.abstract ; and BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007; 7: 7
concludes that homeopathy should be the first line treatment for acute
otitis media in children. This study compared treatment by a homeopath with conventional treatment
for acute ear infections in children. Out of 103 children in the
homeopathy group only 5 needed antibiotics. The children receiving
homeopathy had faster pain relief during the initial infection and fewer
ear infections over the following year. The results found that median duration of pain during acute otitis
media (middle ear infection) was 2 days in the homeopathy group; 3 days
in conventional care group. 70.7% of the homeopathy group had no
recurrence over the following year, compared with 56.5% of conventional
care group. Friese K-H, et al. Homeopathic treatment of otitis media in
children: comparisons with conventional. therapy. Int J Clin Pharmacol
Ther, 1997; 35: 296-301
like to consider trying one of the following remedies if it seems to fit your
child’s symptoms. If your child
also has a fever, then do also consider the fever remedies and advice given
above. Remedies to consider
- Apis is used for burning, stinging pains with
earache or sore throat; worse for heat and better for cold (drinks,
compresses, ice packs). Doesn't want to be touched or covered. Child is
weepy, restless and thirstless.
- Calcarea carbonica is often used for infections with
swollen glands in teething infants, and throbbing earache with noises in
the ear. The child is sweaty,
especially the head and back of the neck, especially at night. Everything
smells sour (sweat, stools, breath).
- Pulsatilla is used for when complaints may come
on after getting wet, when teething, or with emotional stress (especially
during any separation from mother, including weaning). Earache with a feeling of pressure
from catarrh pressing on eardrum, with hearing loss and noises in ear. The
external ear is red. There may be a thick yellow discharge. Also the throat can be dry,
irritated and raw, as if there were dust in it. Symptoms are worse for heat and better for fresh air. The child is thirstless, pathetic,
clingy, wants to be carried and cuddled. Weeps with the pains and needs lots of reassurance.
information see Miranda Castro's article on homeopathy for earaches and sorethroats.
AggressionHere's an article about how homeopathy helped one aggressive boy threatened with expulsion from school. Excerpt: "The school was aware of Somi’s homeopathic treatment and also saw a
huge improvement in his behaviour. During this period there was just one
further physical outburst that occurred at school, and both the school
and his mother were amazed at what followed. For the first time, Somi
seemed shocked at what he had done and felt sorry for the child he had
attacked. He spent the night crying in his bedroom and on his own
initiative apologised to the boy the next day – something he had never
done before! Instead of being expelled, the school agreed on a week-long
suspension and watched his behaviour continue to improve.
Four months down the track Somi was a different boy. He no longer had
a problem with explosive rage and violence. A happy relationship had
developed with his mother and favourable reports were arriving home from
school. ... Instead of being pushed from school to school and
labelled a ‘problem child’, Somi was well on the way to enjoying a
normal, happy childhood."
bounce back from acute illnesses and may even experience a growth spurt or
developmental leap immediately afterwards. Homeopaths specialise in boosting your child’s natural
immunity. We work towards a
different health model from the conventional one. Every child is special
and has their own physical and emotional way of dealing with disease. This knowledge requires individual
treatment tailored to your child’s needs, which homeopathy provides.
acknowledge that there is much anecdotal and scientific evidence to support the
arguments presented for and against vaccination. It’s not our job to tell you whether or not you should
vaccinate yourself or your family, but it is our job to make sure you have the
information needed to make rational, informed decisions on the short and
long-term implications of vaccinations.
Whatever your stance on vaccinations is, homeopathic treatment can
improve natural immunity, lessen the chance of adverse effects from
vaccination, and relieve symptoms of vaccine damage – including Autism Spectrum
Disorders (for more about vaccines and homeopathy for ASD’s please see here).
For more about vaccines, including what many medical healthcare practitioners are saying about them, please see here.
need a proper course of treatment with a qualified homeopath include skin
conditions, including eczema and cradle cap, recurrent vomiting, ongoing sleep
problems, night terrors, digestive disorders, recurrent infections (including of the throat, ear and urinary tract), asthma,
menstrual problems and acne in teenagers, as well as behavioral problems such
ADHD, temper tantrums, aggression, severe shyness or anxiety and autism spectrum disorders. In children with such complaints, a full case history is
needed for a trained homeopath to select an individual course of treatment for
also help children on long-term medication. For example, there is no doubt that asthma in on the
increase – a cough with wheezing that will not go away may be diagnosed as
asthma and before you realise it, your child is put on long term medication and
will have to suffer the side effects.
With the support of your GP however, homeopaths can help your child to
reduce or come off their conventional medication, or in some cases can help
your child to avoid the need for it altogether.
Treating Childhood Diseases with Homeopathy, by Miranda Castro
Your child has just been diagnosed
as having Chicken Pox or even German Measles or Mumps (they are still
around in spite of vaccinations) and your doctor has prescribed Tylenol
(acetaminophen) for the fever. This may be their first real illness apart
from the odd minor cough or cold and you don’t know how you are going to cope. Illness can be scary,
especially for new parents...
Miranda's books can be found on Amazon here,
and are highly recommended, although you may have to buy an old edition
second hand as her latest prints are sold out last I looked! (The good
news is they are much cheaper this way).
If you would like more
information about the use of homeopathy for babies and children,
please contact me or come to one of my workshops!