First, I am not a doctor, nor any type of medical professional. So please don’t take this article in any way as the final word on what you should have in a baby medicine cabinet.
When I had my first baby, I bought all the usual stuff — Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc. I bought the regular infant vitamins the doctor suggested, and I used them a few times. But I just didn’t feel so comfortable with all this stuff. I definitely tend towards “natural” alternatives (as if that’s a surprise, if you’ve read many of my posts), so with my second I sought some alternatives to have on hand. I’m finding even more alternatives this time.
Here, I’m sharing with you what’s in my alternative medicine cabinet.
Again, please don’t take this as medical advice; it’s not. You should always consult a doctor before giving a baby any medicine, especially if the baby is under three months. I’m only sharing what I’ve found valuable to have on hand.
1) Gripe Water — I’ve mentioned this before but I really love this stuff. It is an all-natural liquid, basically a tea made from fennel and ginger (and yes, you could make it at home). It stopped my babies’ screaming from stomach upset many times. I use it primarily in new babies to about a year old, and after that there are other ways to help.
2) A nasal aspirator — In case they get a cold, this handy little device can suck the congestion right now. We used it until our kids learned to blow their noses. Most hospitals will give you one to take home, but buy a couple more. When you need it, you don’t want to go on a hunt for it (umm, done that more than once!).
3) Warm or cool mist humidifier — If they have a cold, these humidifiers provide moist air to help them breathe. Each of my kids has one and we’ve used them several times. They’re completely safe, even for newborns. I usually add a little bit of rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils to them, as these help breathing, too.
4) Baby Vapor Rub — Now, there’s obviously a commercial brand of this. But I make my own from rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils mixed into coconut oil. I smear it on their feet and put socks on. They breathe a lot better if they have colds. Coconut oil is definitely safe in a newborn (and a good moisturizer if your baby gets dry skin), but double check on the essential oils in babies under 3 months. Lavender is the only one I know is safe. (By the way, I don’t buy it because I don’t trust petroleum jelly or menthol. Menthol isn’t in the baby version, though.)
5) Chamomilla — This is a homeopathic remedy most commonly used for teething. Babies won’t need it right away, but some can start to cry from teething pain at 3 – 4 months old. And when you need it…you need it. There are teething tablets (or there used to be), but these are a combination of remedies and not true homeopathy. Chamomilla alone is safer. If it doesn’t work, belladonna is the next remedy to try (that is also found in the teething tablets; my son needs this one).
6) Arnica salve — You won’t need this until your baby is older, hopefully, but it’s good for bumps and bruises. You may need it as your baby is starting to roll or squirm, in case he runs into anything and gets a little bump. It’s good to have on hand for adults, too.
There’s not much else you need for a little baby, though it’s not a bad idea to get hydrogen peroxide or witch hazel, gauze, bandages, and the usual stuff too. There is not much you can do with a baby under 3 months. Gripe water and a humidifier are probably all I’d use on a really tiny one.
You may notice there is no general pain reliever/fever reducer in here. Although it is controversial, I don’t give these medicines to my children. I don’t ever reduce fevers. I don’t even have thermometers for them. I have found, so far, that if they have fevers, I can tell by touching them and their behavior “how sick” they are. I give them immune-boosting stuff if necessary (that stuff’s not on my young baby list though) and let them sleep. So far their fevers break in under 18 hours. I don’t know how I’d feel if I had a tiny baby with a high fever, but that hasn’t happened yet. I am more worried about the side effects from the medicines than the possible worry from the fever, as it is just a sign that the body is fighting the infection. Always consult a doctor if a baby under 3 months has a fever.
That is what is in my alternative baby medicine cabinet. Yup, not a lot! Most minor things can be handled by snuggling and extra breastfeeding. (By the way, breastmilk up the nose is great to loosen congestion, and completely safe even in a newborn.)
What’s in your medicine cabinet?
Top image by psd
Natural Home Remedies for the Summer: Treat ailments with your pantry items!