Baby and Infant Health

Baby health talk

Baby Nutrition

By Claire Grullemans
BHSc (comp medicine), Adv. Dip Naturopathy, MNHAA

Your baby is precious, and their health is so important. In my experience as a mother, and a health care practitioner I know that even a sniffle can spark concern. The hardest part about knowing if your baby is actually sick or just a little unwell is that they can’t communicate to us. So if you are ever in doubt, call the 24 hour nurse hotline, or go to the doctor. They are trained in how to care for your baby medically.

The focus of this talk (and hand out) is to give you some simple remedies and ideas about what to use at home in combination with your doctor or nurses advice.

Here are some of the ailments that parents come to me with for their babies:

  • Colds/ Ear infections/ Mucous
  • Wind/Reflux
  • Diarrhoea/Constipation
  • Fever
  • Sleep
  • Rashes
  • Conjunctivitis

The good thing is that our bodies have many defence mechanisms in place to support us when we get sick and signs to tell us if something might be out of balance.

The naturopathic approach is to start with the digestive system. What is the baby eating- breast milk (then what is the mother eating?), formula (what is in the formula?), started solids (which foods, how are they prepared?). Once we have established the baby’s major food source we can start to paint a picture of what might be going on with their general health.

  • Are they getting too much food (with the exception of breast milk)? This is something I am seeing a lot of in clinic. Over feeding.
  • Is the formula the wrong one for your baby? It could be the protein in the cow’s milk “casein”, which may be undigestable for your baby.
  • Are the types of solids being introduced highly processed foods? Do they contain high levels of sugars (including fructose)? Are they providing enough fibre for the gut bacteria to develop and mature to support immune function?
  • Is the baby getting any probiotic rich foods?
    Each of these questions is important when addressing your baby’s health, and asyou can see it is starting from what is going inside their mouths.

    Nutrition for babies:

    “Breastfeeding is very important for infant nutrition, with universal agreement that breastmilk is the best first food for babies. Australian and international health authorities recommend exclusive breastfeeding until around 6 months. ‘Exclusive breastfeeding’ means that nothing else (except medicine or prescribed vitamin drops) is given to the infant – they receive breastmilk ONLY. At around 6 months, solid food can then be offered while breastfeeding is continued until 12 months or longer if the mother and baby wish” NSW health Nutrition for infants and toddlers manual 2014.

You can read my introducing solids information on my website:

Nutrition for Babies (Part 1)

But the summary suggests the top 5 foods to focus on are; egg yolk, avocado, pureed organic meat, sweet potato, papaya/pear and you can read why these foods are best for bub and how to prepare them.

Let’s talk some natural remedies which are safe to use for babies health:

Probiotics- these can be used for constipation, diarrhea, recurrent colds, flus, ear infections, fever management, skin conditions, wind, and colic. When choosing the right probiotic it is essential you speak to a naturopath or nutritionist rather than just picking out the one they have at the health food store. The two genera Bifidobacterium and Lactobacilli work on different things, and the species will be used for specific health concerns:

Chart of clinically trialed probiotics and their uses:

Lactobacili species

L. gasseri

L. casei

L. acidophilus

L. plantarum

L. paracasei

L. fermentum

L. rhamnosus

L. reuteri

Asthma

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Bloating

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Antibiotic diarrhoea

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Infectious diarrhoea

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Abdominal pain

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Dermatitis

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Eczema

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Allergic rhinitis

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Bifidobacteria species

B. longum

B. breve

B. infantis

B. animalis

B. bifidum

Streptacoccus thermophilus

Asthma

Bloating

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Antibiotic diarrhoea

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Infectious diarrhoea

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Abdominal pain

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Dermatitis

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Eczema

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Allergic rhinitis

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Human clinical studies done at The University of Sydney Copyright Medlab Clinical Ltd 2014

 

 

Echinacea liquid drops- this safe and effective herb is such a wonderful way to boost immunity when kids are starting day care, or if other people in the house are sick. Simply drop about 5-6 drops into their food and mix through, 3 times daily. It can be used as a preventative or as an adjunct treatment to other medicines.

Uses: Ear infections, flu, bronchitis, chest infection, diarrhea, skin infections, conjunctivitis (internal use only), supportive for fever management, eczema, impataigo, chicken pox and many more conditions.
Always best to consult with your health care practitioner before giving your baby herbal medicine.

 

Iberogast liquid IBS drops-

Ibergogast is a clinically trialed and proven herbal formula
used for IBS. In babies I find it very effective for colic,
wind, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, and
gas/flatulence. The combination of digestive herbs are
used to calm the digestive system down, support normal
transit time for bowel movements, relieve trapped wind
and gas, and help to regulate stomach acid. I used this with
my daughter and many patient’s babies and had great
feedback. Alternatively your naturopath can make up a
formula of herbs to suit your baby’s needs. Adding 5-10 drops into your baby’s food 3-4 times per day for best results.

 

Fish oil liquid-

Fish oil is high in omega 3 essential fatty acid, which contain two acids- EPA and DHA. These acids have amazing health enhancing properties which support the reduction of inflammation, the reduction of allergic reactions, the improvement of cognitive and brain function, and assist in the digestion of fats.

Uses: Babies who are failing to thrive, difficulty putting on weight, not reaching milestones, or experiencing inflammatory type symptoms (eczema, asthma, rashes, dermatitis).
Ideally we would get our omega 3 requirements through our diets, but for most people this doesn’t happen. Using a high quality fish oil liquid is a wonderful addition to a baby’s diet if the signs indicate they need it. The quality of your fish oil is very important.

 

The most important thing is that you watch for the signs and symptoms that your baby is unwell. If they seem out of sorts, use your common sense and your intuition as to what level of intervention is needed. If in doubt consult with your GP.

Natural medicine is a great way to support your baby as it develops and grows, in combination with a healthy unprocessed diet. The more food you are making from scratch, and the less jarred and packaged foods you are feeding them, the healthier they are going to be. If you are time poor, then look into services that can help prepare for you, or batch cook a couple of different dishes and freeze them, or if you can ask a friend/relative to help out that is also handy.

Your baby deserves good health, and outside of genetics and environmental influences, their nutrition will play a large role in this.

If you would like to discuss anything specific to your baby, please feel free to send me an email:
info@clairegrullemans.com.au
or call the reception team to make an appointment:

02 8221 8855

I see patients in my Double Bay clinic (Shop 1, 17-19 Knox Street- entrance on Knox lane) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am-3pm.

I am always happy to help. Thank you for your time, and this information will also be available online at www.clairegrullemans.com.au/blog

xx Claire