Dr Christine Underwood and Keren Sall look at how babies and young children can be helped homeopathically
Homeopathy is popular with parents as it offers them a way to treat their children for common illnesses without the fear of side effects of some orthodox medicines. It also allows parents of infants to help their child when there is nothing conventionally available. Homeopathy works very well because a child’s immune system is responsive and has not been subjected to the stresses and chemicals of everyday life which an adult carries with them.
The following provides helpful guidance when choosing homeopathic medicines for a number of common childhood complaints. Please note that as with all over the counter medicines, if your child’s problems persist or worsen you should seek medical advice immediately and contact your GP or NHS Direct for help.
Coughs and colds
Coughs and colds occur when the immune system is weakened. Homeopathic medicines recommended for these ailments include Aconite 30c. One tablet should be given two-hourly for the first day and then one tablet of Ferrum phosphoricum 30c should be given daily until the child improves. This stops cold going onto the chest and prevents chest infections.
Bryonia Linctus can also help with coughs. Check with the pharmacist that it is suitable for your child’s symptoms and age.
Antimomium tartaricum should be used if the cough is in the child’s chest but they are too weak to cough and so you are desperate to cough for them. In such cases you may find the child does not want to look at anyone else or be touched.
He/she prefers to be carried around.
Chamomilla is good for teething problems that are accompanied by a fever and where children insist on being carried and scream angrily when put down. It is available in granule, powder form and drops, and should be given to children two-hourly for a day. Drops are not recommended for babies under six months of age. Belladonna is recommended for children with swollen gums and a hot flushed face with wide staring eyes. Aconite should be given if the child tosses and turns even when asleep.
This is most common in the first three months. Colicky babies tend to pull up their legs to their chin, scream and turn red. The problem is thought to be caused by swallowing air, dehydration, a mother’s anxiety or something passed the breast milk.
Chamomilla 6c should be used as a medicine to treat colicky symptoms if
the child has green stools, is very irritable and wants to be carried around.
It is also helpful if you give them a cuddle or feed but they don’t want it, and it is difficult to placate them as you don’t know what they want. The child’s abdomen may be distended and they have one cheek which is red and hot and the other pale and cold. If the mother is breast-feeding she can take the remedy herself to help the baby.
Magnesium phosphate should be given if a baby or child draws knees up with pain and feels better if the tummy is rubbed.
If the child wants to keep still and screams if moved then Colocynth is recommended.
A fever is usually a sign that the body is fighting an infection. Symptoms usually include restlessness, hot skin and a raised temperature. Aconite is recommended for child who has a fever, is agitated and fearful, or breathing rapidly or sweating.
However, if the child has dilated pupils and is having nightmares or delusions then Belladonna should be given every two hours until symptoms improve Bryonia should be used to treat a child who likes to be left alone.
This can follow exposure to draughts and cold, windy weather. Give Belladonna if the child has fever and redness to the face or external ear. If the child has a pale face that flushes easily and sour burping gastritis try Ferrum phosphoricum.
Give one pillule two hourly on the first day and then three times a day until symptoms improve.
This can be a reaction to the substances contained in urine and faeces, or to the detergent used to clean non-disposable nappies. Use Calendula cream and Arsenicum album 6c if skin is hot and burning.
If you are going to use any of the medicines mentioned, unless a specific dose is recommended by your homeopathic doctor, use 30c strength and repeat the doses as often as is necessary. For toddlers crush one pillule between two spoons, add to a small amount of mineral or distilled water and give one teaspoon for a dose.
Homeopathic medicines should be given 20-30 minutes before a feed.
Dr Christine Underwood MFHom is on the Specialist Register. She practises homeopathy at The Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee.
Keren Sall is the editor of Health & Homeopathy.