As parents, we support our children’s health throughout their development. We seek interventions that are as gentle as possible, that will not create side effects and which help prevent illness in the long-term. Naturopathic support of a child’s health brings simple, gentle solutions to common issues of childhood.
Which childhood issues can be treated with naturopathic medicine?
Recurrent respiratory infections and ear infections
If your child has had recurrent colds & flus and has taken too many rounds of antibiotics – you are now in the right place!
In Singapore, mycoplasma is generally often seen in children and adults with recurrent respiratory issues and can also lead to a vicious cycle where the child never really seems to fully recover from a cold to the next. This is particularly true of children who have recently started school, as their bodies are suddenly exposed to a number of age-appropriate germs who will challenge their developing immune systems.
These recurrent respiratory infections may lead parents to consider the removal of their children’s adenoids and tonsils. This may not be necessary after 3-6 months of adequate naturopathic treatment.
Herbs such as astragalus and echinacea, as well as fish oils and vitamin, given in the proper format and right dosage can substantially boost a child’s immune system. Often times, dietary changes are necessary are children can temporarily develop food intolerances which contribute to mucus formation and decrease robustness to infection.
Children who frequently sneeze, who have low-grade asthma, eczema or a chronic runny nose (rhinitis) often suffer from environmental allergies which are generally on the rise in developed countries. A significant link has been established between a child’s microflora, digestive health, and allergic predispositions. Working with diet and eliminating foods he may be intolerant too is almost always a necessity in these children. Nasal saline washes, steam inhalations and herbs like the common stinging nettles are often used on top of dietary changes to palliate allergic symptoms.
Skin issues such as athlete’s foot, diaper rash, tinea or pytirasis, molluscum are commonly seen at the practice. Those can be resolved with the right herbal antifungal agents relatively quickly.
Eczema is another common skin concern. This stubborn condition stems from a combination of sup-optimal digestive health and a need to support the adrenals, which normally produce some of our normal anti-inflammatory hormones such as cortisol. Most children with uncomplicated eczema see drastic improvements within weeks of changing their diets and gentle adrenal support.
Many children complaining from tummy pain come back from the pediatrician with no particular diagnosis. Again, simple customized changes in a child’s diet together with basic digestive support such as high-quality probiotics, fiber and the right homeopathic remedy tend to work very well and quickly for most children.
Difficulty sleeping: many children come to the practice with difficulty falling asleep – this can be brought on by the stress of school or by a situation of mild adrenal fatigue. Ongoing adrenal support in the form of gentle herbs, as well as safe sleeping aids (magnesium, valerian) can optimize a child’s sleep very efficiently.
This can be difficult to tackle as acne is a well-known slow-responder to most interventions. Acne is due to hormonal changes combined with suboptimal digestive health. The intestinal flora of individuals with acne has been shown to be out-of-balance, and oftentimes with yeast overgrowth. Treating teenage acne requires a great deal of dietary discipline – with a diet containing reduced sugars and aggressive digestive interventions to eliminate yeast and balance beneficial intestinal bacteria. Acne does not improve overnight and it takes a few months of discipline before lasting changes are seen. Vitamin A and vitamin B5 are useful palliative agents to improve the skin fast while we work on the deeper digestive causes.
How about babies?
Babies between 0 and 2 years old have their own set of issues which are different from those of older children.
Issues that affect babies commonly seen at the practice include:
This very distressing condition for baby’s caretakers (higher rates of maternal depression in mothers of babies with colic) and thankfully self-resolving after the baby turns 3 months old (typically). However, the inconsolable crying can be difficult to cope with for both parents and and baby. We now that colic is multi-factorial and multiple interventions are often necessary – this is what your naturopathic doctor has found to work well with her own babies and the little ones at the practice:
This extremely gentle structural therapy allows to balance the baby’s sensitive and immature nervous system. The latter resides not only in our brain, but also in our digestive system. This is why grounding a baby’s nervous system will directly affect digestive symptoms and ease the discomfort of colic. It usually takes about 5 20-minute sessions, spaced 5-7 days apart, for parents to see positive results in their baby’s colic.For more information on craniosacral therapy, click here.
The right type of probiotics in the right amounts, taken by both a nursing mom and given directly to baby have been shown to significantly reduce episodes of crying in several studies.
Maternal dietary modification or changes in formula
It may take time to find the right formula for baby and we now know that the mother’s diet (both in pregnancy and during the nursing period) can have a strong impact on baby’s digestion. A discussion on the mother’s diet allows for us to elaborate a customize and feasible dietary plan that can help with baby’s colic.
Certain types of herbs like fennel and peppermint
Given in the adequate form and amount – can provide substantial relief to the intestinal gas produced in the baby’s gut and which causes discomfort. Sometimes, lactase enzymes are also necessary to help the baby digest the lactose in the milk as well.
Silent or overt reflux
This often comes together with colic and can be relieved with similar interventions as the ones listed above.
Eczema is best prevented by interventions done during the third-trimester of the mother’s pregnancy. If the baby is prone to eczema anyway, supplementing the nursing mother and the baby with the right probiotics and the in the right dosage can bring about good improvements. If the mother is nursing, manipulating her diet may also be necessary – this can be difficult, but often quite rewarding as baby’s skin responds quickly to improvements in his digestive health. Certain herbs applied to the skin can also help bring relief gently and without the detrimental side effects of steroid creams commonly prescribed at the pediatrician’s office.
Diarrhea or constipation
Both of these reflect an inadequate dietary intake in baby or the need for either more fiber or a modified diet with fewer allergens. Babies typically respond well and quickly to dietary modifications and general digestive support with improved bowel transit.
Your Naturopathic Doctor, Sigrid Grobys, has three young children of her own and can recommend interventions that have been proven to work both at home and in clinical practice. She knows the realities of parenting and recommends herbs and supplements to children and babies that actually taste good for their sensitive taste buds so as to make mom or dad’s lives easier when administering natural medicines. Sigrid enjoys working with children because it is so rewarding to see them get well so fast!