By: Dr C Groenewald M.Tech Hom (UJ)
After 10 months of anticipation, the day finally arrives. You get to hold your new-born baby for the first time. You are so overcome by emotion, so totally in love with this little being, you feel your heart might burst with happiness. You get to go home, and life with your little miracle begins. The first few days’ worth of awe and excitement starts to wear off, as you try to settle back into your life before your little one (life b.c. - before child). By now, the sleep deprivation starts to set in, and the rose-tinted glasses start to come off. You slowly start wondering, who in their right mind would send a baby home with you...without supervision!
You realise you have NO idea what you are doing, and the effects of the sleep deprivation takes an even further toll on you. By now, your hormones are flying the coop, you probably realise you are ill equipped for this parenting thing, you feel 100% overwhelmed…You pretty much want to give the baby back and feel like the worst parent in the world because of it.
You have barely taken a shower, nor managed to drink half a cup of ice cold coffee, eaten half a can of cold soup in divided efforts to get some food into your body. You look like death warmed up, you smell, you are covered in baby vomit and you have baby poop under your finger nails. The most basic task of going to the loo, making dinner, taking a shower, doing laundry and getting dressed, becomes a frantic scramble with zero outcome, because you can't put the baby down for two seconds out of fear he/she might start screaming.
By the time your spouse gets home, you basically throw the baby at them, and run to take a wee, shower - anything, that does not involve holding a baby. Three seconds of peace and quiet. But alas, baby starts crying, and despite your spouses’ best efforts to help, baby ends up back in your arms half way through whatever you were trying to do. It finally boils down to you weeping with the baby. And that, is just the day. You start fearing night time, because that is when the screaming begins, and if you are lucky, you will get about two hours of interrupted sleep that night, finally sitting with baby on your chest, praying for morning to come.
To add further insult to injury, you feel like the worst parent ever, wrought with guilt, because you pretty much hate all of this, and you find yourself wishing you could have your old life back. Then on top of everything else, you have post-partum hormones, bouncing off the walls, pushing you over the edge.
It was only after I joined a mommies group, who spoke openly and honestly about what the first few months of motherhood felt like to them that I started to realize - I was not alone. I am not a bad parent, it is normal to feel totally overwhelmed and ill equipped. Wanting to throw the baby out the window once or twice is normal too. No one tells you how hard it is going to be, or maybe they do, but you have zero frame of reference, so you are totally unable to compute the magnitude of what they are saying. The only way to know, really know, what it feels like, is to live through it, and nothing and no one can prepare you for it, the only way out, is through.
Finding a group of likeminded new mommies, all with the same fears and anxieties, the same doubts and worries, literally saved my life. But many women do not have the opportunity to be surrounded by a such a support network. I often see new mothers in my practice, and it is like war flashbacks. I see the dark circles under their eyes, the desperate expression on their faces, the oily hair and pale faces. They try to act 'normal' for the first two minutes (because, surely they are supposed to love this, and any other feelings makes them feel ashamed), then baby starts crying, and I see their shoulders drop. 'Go ahead and feed them, I say'. And as they settle baby on the breast, I smile and say, 'what you are feeling is totally normal'. I can see the tiniest flicker of hope, as I talk them through the first three months of 'hell' and what to expect, and they sob, because they thought they were awful for feeling totally overwhelmed. Although you love this little being with all your heart, you are not coping and that is ok.
Postpartum depression does not affect everyone, and there are many women that flourish during this time, everything seems easy and they are back in their nine-inch heels with perfect hair and make up within two weeks…making you feel even more inadequate and total failure as a mother. For the rest of us, non-nine-inch heels type of gals, with the reflux baby or the colic baby, let us take a closer look at baby blues and post-partum depression (PPD).
Baby Blues vs Post-Partum Depression
All of the above mentioned, can be totally normal. This phase, commonly referred to as Baby Blues, is part of the transitionary phase we go through the first couple of days to one or two weeks after baby is born. The signs and symptoms of Baby Blues include:
Baby Blues differs from PPD (Post-partum depression) in that the symptoms only lasts a few days to weeks after baby is born, and then improves as time goes by. You should feel better after a week or two, if however, you notice your symptoms worsening after the initial two-week period, you might be suffering from PPD
PPD is a serious mental disease and should be treated immediately by a health care professional. Signs and symptoms of PPD include the following:
All the above symptoms can be normal if experienced for only a brief period. We all feel irritable or sad sometimes, we all suffer from anxiety or feel overwhelmed at times; however, these feelings are fleeting. When your feelings of inadequacy, guilt, sadness etc remains excessive and for prolonged periods of time, it is time to seek urgent medical attention.
How can Homeopathy help for Baby Blues and Post- Partum Depression?
Homeopathy works based on ‘like cures like’. If a remedy can produce a symptom picture when administered to a healthy individual, then it should cure the same symptom picture in an unhealthy patient. There are several homeopathic remedies used to treat PPD. Each person is treated as an individual, therefor, after an extensive case taking is performed. Your Homeopath will choose a remedy based on your individual needs and your specific symptom picture. Sepia 200 is one such remedy used to treat baby blues and PPD, with the following symptom picture:
If you suspect you might be suffering from PPD, please contact your health care professional to make an appointment as soon as possible. You are not alone, PPD affects 1/5 woman and is a debilitating condition, which is 100% treatable. Do not suffer in silence.
“Compassionate Moms” get together - Tomorrow, 6 March at 10am.
is a unique community service to new mothers, so you are empowered to confidently care for yourself and your baby, engaging with health care providers in our support network. We are excited to offer a compassionate space where mothers can learn, share and make informed choices on health care, lifestyle and well-being.
There will be a professional facilitator each Tuesday to help with healthy lifestyle and diet, emotional support and advice on the numerous uncertainties that arise when a new baby is around.
Tomorrow, 6th March 2018 you are going to have the opportunity to discuss your questions and concerns with Doddie Boer: Birth Doula, Stress and Trauma release, Personal Growth & Stress Management, Child birth educator
“There is no better evidence of the good action of a remedy, than mental improvement”
So here you are, a beginner mom and you are starting to realise that it is all about a series of tubes leading from the mouth to the anus. You are almost sure that your little baby’s whole existence is caught up in that one tube… And you are so right!
One of the first things you noticed after you took your precious baby in your arms was the “root reflex” It is seen in a newborn baby when the corner of the mouth is stroked and the baby turns its head in the direction of the stroking. This helps the baby find the bottle or the nipple to begin feed. Then when the roof of the mouth is touched, the baby will suck.
During my years of working in a homoeopathic practice, I have learned that most of the troubles you are going to have to deal with originate in the digestive system. For this reason I find it to be very important to understand your baby’s gut early in her life. Let us start at the beginning of life.
DURING THE GESTATION PERIOD
At 8 weeks’ gestation, that most important tube is starting to form along with the stomach and by week 10 the stomach starts to produce digestive juices and enzymes. Early in the second trimester, around week 13, the digestive system’s structures are fully formed and in the right places. Baby begins to suck and swallow amniotic fluid and the muscles and organs that make up the digestive system start to contract. Baby also pees every 40 minutes. In the final weeks of pregnancy, the digestive system gets ready for its own first delivery: meconium starts to build up in the intestine. This is baby’s first bowel movement. Instead of food, it’s made up of the stuff your baby collected in the intestines while in utero (like old blood cells and skin cells), which is why it looks so drastically different from the baby poop yet to come.
FIRST WEEKS AFTER BIRTH
At birth your newborn's digestive system is still very immature. As a result, he may lose up to 10 percent of his body weight in the first days of his life, as he adjusts to using his digestive system. Because a newborn's stomach is small, your infant needs frequent feedings. Breast milk is high in fat because that is the most efficient way for your baby to meet his caloric needs. Your baby’s tummy is about the size of a small marble at birth and until he is about 4 months old, your baby’s tummy can hold only small amounts of milk at a time. Too much milk during feedings can cause your baby to spit up or be fussy.
THE OPEN GUT
The “open gut” hypothesis has not been supported by good evidence, but it may be a good idea to keep that possibility in the back of your mind. It is said that a baby’s gut is permeable until the age 4 – 6 months to allow breastmilk particles to move through the gut walls. An immune response is caused in order to grant passive immunity to the young baby. It is believed that if a baby eats solid foods too early in life, this very same process may cause an overreaction of the body’s immune response, leading to allergies and auto immune conditions.
NORMAL GUT ISSUES in babies (AND WHEN IS IT ABNORMAL)
reflux in babies
Spitting up can happen when your baby:
What to do:
When to worry:
diarrhea in babies
The rotavirus is normally responsible for the most cases of diarrhea in small children. It is normally found in children between ages six months and two years. Other common causes for diarrhea in small children are milk allergy, lactose intolerance and antibiotics.
What to do:
When to worry:
Suspect a milk allergy or lactose intolerance when a diarrhea lasts for more than two weeks without a fever or any signs of infection.. Please note, there is a huge difference between the two and you will have to get professional help and a diet adjustment in both cases
Dehidration is often more fatal than the illness itself. When you see any signs of dehydration as described above, give more fluid
constipation in babies
Constipation is not measured by the frequency of the stool, but rather by the look of it. The stool will be small, dry and hard and you will notice that your baby is struggling to pass the stool.
It is more common in formula fed babies and may also occur when solids are introduced.
Most medications given for pain and fever also cause constipation.
What to do:
When to worry:
the homoeopathic approach to normal gut issues
You will notice that your homoeopathic practitioner will always look at the full picture and not only at the specific complaint.
If you read through the different homoeopathic remedies, you will see that the same remedy that is prescribed for constipation can also be given for diarrhea.
Nux vomica, for instance, is a good example. It is prescribed for all kinds of digestive disorders depending on the specific type of person who needs the treatment. Silica is another one that can be given in both instances of diarrhea and constipation. When the practitioner starts asking you questions about your baby’s sleep pattern and all over happiness, her reaction to strangers and her emotional wellbeing, then it is because your doctor is trying to match your baby with just that correct remedy.
In your health shop or pharmacy you will find several complex Homoeopathic remedies. If you are trying to solve a mild condition, it is quite fine to buy them.
For infants with diarrhea, they should contain some of the following simplexes:
Calcarea carbinicum: Chronic diarrhea and sour, undigested stools. For infants who are teething and for overweight children.
Chamomilla : For colicky or teething infants. For children who scream or hit and are extremely angry and for irritable and hypersensitive adults. The person’s face will be red and flushed. The diarrhea is hot, green and watery, smells like rotten eggs and is accompanied by abdominal pain and gas.
Mercurius solubilus: Burning watery stools and sometimes slimy blood-stained stools. Infants may have green stools. Offensive odor. Children will experience pain before, during, or after a stool and have frequent or constant urging and a never-get-done feeling. Anus is raw from burning stools. Symptoms are worse in the evening and at night.
Podophylum: Watery, urgent, profuse and explosive diarrhea accompanied by much gas. When diarrhea accompanies teething in children.
Silicea: For breast feeding infants who get diarrhea from mother's milk.
Homoeopathic remedies for infants with constipation should contain some of the following simplexes:
Calc-carbonica: When your baby seems to be not bothered at all in any way by being constipated and the bowel just seems inactive. The constipation may accompany teething as well or not. They may have trouble digesting milk or be sensitive to lactose or milk protein.
Lycopodium: This is where the baby will be irritable with the constipation. Very gassy. Lots of burping and/or farting alongside the complaint. They will also be clingy and fussy in general from the discomfort and their abdomen will be distended or hard as a rock.
Nux-vomica : For an impatient, determined baby. Can be irritable but is independent rather than clingy. This baby will be trying to will strain and push but nothing will come out.
Opium: For stubborn constipation in infants, due to inaction of the intestines. When passed they are little, hard, dry, black balls. It may get worse from gas building up in the upper part of the intestines.
Silica : When stools are hard, small and dark and are produced with much strain and effort. . Use if the constipation starts up coinciding with difficult and slow teething. Use if your baby's appetite is poor and they are not gaining weight satisfactorily.
Please remember that your new born baby’s gut is still developing and many of the gut issues will pass by the time everything is nicely in place, anything between four and six months of age. Now that you know how homoeopathy can assist in ordinary gut issues, we can focus on baby colic in our next talk.
By Sister Alida – Our registered nurse Naturopathic Health Care Centre, Hazelwood, Pretoria
So here you are, a young first time mom with your brand new baby and the only thing you want… is to do everything right.
You have read a pile of baby magazines and you are subscribed to a few email newsletters to help you stay on track. You are attending baby stimulation classes and go to workshops and somewhere along the line somebody mentioned Homoeopathy. Yet another new topic to explore.
In my career as a nursing sister working in a homoeopathic practice, I have seen a number of little children whose parents were desperate. Their kid is six months old and already finished her third course of antibiotics. Often people come to the homoeopathic practitioner as a last resort.
It would be great if we could get our patients early, teach them what to look out for and help them to understand the value of the body’s own healing properties. My ideal is to have parents who can act as first line healers in their own homes. If we can achieve that, the world would be a better place.
The first thing to understand is the illness:
An acute disease develops in a short period of time. It is important that you learn to observe the circumstances during the early stages of development because your homoeopathic practitioner will ask about the following:
Parents should learn to watch out carefully for the symptoms, realise that the body’s own defense mechanism already kicked in with an inflammatory response causing a raised temperature, pain, swelling, tiredness, etc. We are going to discuss the whole issue around fever in future talks.
The homoeopathic approach to acute diseases is to find a remedy or a complex of remedies that support the immune system in that specific area. Most pharmacies keep homoeopathic complexes to treat almost any minor ailment and it is quite okay to keep some of those little bottles in your medicine cupboard. It is a combination of remedies in low potency that can be taken frequently according to the acuteness of the situation.
In most cases the illness will start improving within 24 hours, starting on a mental level. In other words, when you see your child does not moan anymore and starts looking happier, then you know that there is a turn for the better.
A chronic illness develops over a longer period of time and it lasts for several months to years. A chronic case is more complicated to treat and will almost always need professional help. Chronic disease has often to do with an over response of the body’s immune system. You need a knowledgeable health care practitioner who are not only able to find the correct homoeopathic simplex , but who also has a good understanding of the physiological mechanism of the body and are able to tackle the condition from a different angle like for instance the digestive system.
Why does homoeopathy work?
To answer this question we must look into the history of homoeopathy. It all started with Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who qualified in 1791 as a medical doctor. He practiced medicine for about nine years, but became increasingly disillusioned by the cruel and ineffective treatments of his time. At this point I must remind you that medicine and medical treatment in those days were not what we are used to these days. They made use of plants and herbals of which some of the side effects were very dangerous and even poisonous.
Dr. Hahnemann left practice and focused on studying, writing and translation work. To make a long story short, he started experimenting on himself. For that he used Peruvian bark, known as Cinchona. Homoeopaths call it China.
Hahnemann then observed that Cinchona produced in a healthy person the symptoms of malaria, the very disease that it was known to cure, a discovery which was a cornerstone in the development of homoeopathy. He referred to it as similia similibus curentur, meaning let like be cured with like. This principle became the first law of a system he called homoeopathy. (Homoios – similar and pathos – disease.)
He started experimenting with smaller and smaller doses, until he got rid of the side effects, but now it no longer effected a cure. He then developed a new method of dilution. Instead of simply stirring the substance after each dilution, he shook it vigorously. This shaking he called succusion and the liquid he called a potentised remedy. He found that the more he dilutes the remedy, using the method of succusion, the more effectively his remedy cured. He believed that the shaking released the energy of the substance and dissipated its toxic effects. This of cause is difficult to understand, difficult to explain and difficult to accept. How can anything so dilute have any affect? Yet despite opposition homoeopathy survived and spread remarkably quickly – because it was remarkably effective.
Important Principles, mode of action:
The classical homoeopath would give one remedy at a time, trying to match as much as possible symptoms of the patient with as much as possible characteristics of the remedy. This is time consuming and hard work, but once a practitioner gets the hang of it, it becomes most rewarding.
OTC’s on the market
Luckily for you, you do not have to become an expert before you can help your child. There are complex remedies on the market that contains a combination of simplexes altogether aiming for the same target. The ideal remedy will probably be in the complex, but until you can get to a practitioner who is able to choose the remedy more accurately, the OTC will do it for you.
When to self-medicate and when to seek professional help.
This is something that is different for every person, depending on one’s knowledge, or lack thereof, but also one’s personality and nerve. For instance, if you bump your toe, you are not going to ran off to the doctor. But if the toe becomes hot and red and the pain persists for several days, you might suspect a fracture. Then you might consider going to the doctor. And then there are still a few who will say: What will the doctor do? Take an x-ray, confirm the fracture and bandage it. I can do it myself. …
While it is always important to seek professional advice for serious injuries and situations, don’t forget that even here, homeopathy can help. A few doses of the needed remedy while the ambulance is on the way can make all the difference when every minute counts.
Now you have an idea of what homoeopathy is about. In the next talk we are going to discuss a few general conditions and remedies that work well on those conditions.
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the embryo develops three layers of cells.
· The Endoderm: it will eventually become your baby's digestive system.
· The Mesoderm: it is the source of the sex organs, bones, kidneys and muscles.
· The Ectoderm, or outer layer, develops into the nervous system, hair, skin and eyes.
At its most basic level, the digestive system is a series of tubes leading from the mouth to the anus.
By about 8 weeks’ gestation, that tube is starting to form along with the stomach.
By about week 10, the stomach starts to produce digestive juices and enzymes. For now, your baby is getting all his nutrition from you, via the placenta and umbilical cord (and he’s sending the waste right back into the placenta). Her own digestive system won’t take over for real until she is born and starts consuming breast milk or formula.
Early in the second trimester, around week 13, the digestive system’s structures are fully formed and in the right places. Now it’s time for practice: Baby begins to suck and swallow amniotic fluid and the muscles and organs that make up the digestive system start to contract. He also pees every 40 minutes. These are all tasks that baby will rely on for digestion once she’s out in the world, consuming breast milk, formula and eventually solid food.
The digestive system continues to practice its waste management duties, but it won’t be fully ready for prime time until your baby is born and starts taking all her nutrition by mouth (instead of by umbilical cord).
Still, in the final weeks of pregnancy, the digestive system gets ready for its own first delivery: meconium starts to build up in the intestine. This is baby’s first bowel movement. Instead of food, it’s made up of the stuff your baby collected in his intestines while in utero (like old blood cells and skin cells), which is why it looks so drastically different from the baby poop yet to come.
FIRST WEEKS AFTER BIRTH
During gestation, your baby received nutrients and disposed of waste products through the placenta. At birth, this changed abruptly, but your newborn's digestive system is still very immature. As a result, he may lose up to 10 percent of his body weight in the first days of his life, as he adjusts to using his digestive system. Because a newborn's stomach is small, your infant needs frequent feedings. Breast milk is high in fat because that's the most efficient way for your baby to meet his caloric needs. Ounce for ounce, fat contains over twice as many calories as proteins or carbohydrates.
Your baby’s tummy is about the size of a small marble at birth. After three days, it is about the size of a ping-pong ball, but still can’t hold much.1
Until she is about 4 months old, your baby’s tummy can hold only small amounts of milk at a time. Too much milk during feedings can cause your baby to spit up or be fussy.
Spitting up can happen when your baby:
· Burps (this is called a wet burp)
· Eats too much
· Swallows too much air
There is no reason to worry about these common causes for your baby spitting up. It is not painful, and most babies do not even realize they have done it. As long as your baby is healthy and gaining weight, it is simply part of the development process. It might seem like a lot, but the amount of liquid your baby spits up might not be as much as you think. One tablespoon is normal, but it looks like a lot.
WHAT IS COLIC?
The cause of colic is unknown. Researchers have explored a number of possibilities, including allergies, lactose intolerance, changes in the normal bacteria found in the digestive system, a digestive system that hasn't fully developed, anxious parents, and differences in the way a baby is fed or comforted. Yet it's still unclear why some babies have colic and others don't.
The "Rule Of Threes."
When infants cry for three or more hours a day at least three days a week for three weeks or more, it could be colic.
Colic generally begins at 2 to 3 weeks; it is unusual after 3 months.
Fussing and crying are normal for infants, and a fussy baby doesn't necessarily have colic. In an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby, signs of colic include:
· Predictable crying episodes.
· Intense or inconsolable crying.
· Crying that occurs for no apparent reason.
· Posture changes. Curled up legs, clenched fists and tensed abdominal muscles.
· It usually starts a few weeks after birth and often improves by age 3 months. By ages 4 to 5 months, the majority of babies with colic have improved.
THE HOMOEOPATHIC APPROACH
If we understand the stages through which a new born baby’s digestive system develops, then it is easier to stay calm when baby has reflux, gas, diarrhea and some discomfort. Crying is your baby’s only way of telling you something is bothering him. It does not always mean he is experiencing serious discomfort. Check first to see if he is too cool or warm, hungry, gassy, or tired, or if he needs a diaper change.
Colic improves on its own, often by age 3 months. Unfortunately, there are no proven treatments that consistently help every baby. Treatments that have been tried include:
· Gas & Cramp -relief medications:
· Calming the tummy nerves
· Probiotics. Probiotics are substances that help maintain the natural balance of "good" bacteria in the digestive tract. This kind of treatment is relative expensive so do not experiment without seeking advice from a knowledgeable practitioner.
Homoeopathic remedies that can be considered:
· Carbo vegetabilis is indicated for flatulence, and burning crampy, stomach pain.
· Magnesium Phosphoricum is used to treat abdominal bloating and flatulent colic.
· Strychnos nux-vomica is indicated for flatulence, symptoms that are associated with mental strain and rritability.
All the above remedies are found in Natura Magen.
· Achillea millefolium relieves acute pain in the pit of the stomach.
· Arnica montana relieves stomach pain and abdominal discomfort associated with loose stools and aversion to touch.
· Calendula officinalis quietens apparent hunger in a baby who has just nursed.
· Centaurium erythraea helps relieve gripping abdominal pains and colic with excessive flatulence and which tends to be more severe at night.
· Matricaria recutita (Chamomilla) is indicated for painful teething, regurgitation of food, abdominal distension and colic accompanied by loose stools.
All the above remedies are found in Natura Cesranol
All the above remedies are found in Natura Sedaped
A good support system gives you a much needed break when your baby’s crying becomes overwhelming. Ask for help from your partner or a family member to get relief or sleep when you need it. If the crying makes you feel like you might lose control, calmly and safely place your baby in a crib, and step away briefly to collect your thoughts and calm down. Feeling overwhelmed is only temporary — never shake an infant.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own practitioner in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
www.livestrong.com › Diseases and Conditions
1. Spangler AK, et al. J Hum Lact. 2008;24:199-205.
2. Behrman RE, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 16th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 2000:165.
3. Samour PQ and King K. Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition. 3rd ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005:90.
4. Fomon SJ. Infant Nutrition. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Co., 1974:24.
Mayo Clinic Staff
Natura Website - http://www.comedhealth.co.za/