When it comes to visiting the doctor’s office, I fall into the “better safe than sorry” camp. I like to go directly to the source for a quick check-up and peace of mind. That’s worth a co-pay to me. But sometimes you get even more for your co-pay in the form of sage doctorly advice. Doctors and nurses are often more than happy to offer up tips and tricks for their favorite home remedies to perhaps save you a trip or put your mind at ease. We got our readers to share their personal favorites by asking the question, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a doctor or nurse?” Check out what they had to say!
What to do when your child has a fever.
“Our son tends to spike high fevers and has actually had a febrile seizure, so our doctor advised cool rags on the back of his neck and on his arms to cool him off rather than a bath.” — Kacie, 34
“My favorite advice from our pediatrician was to not worry about fevers unless the baby/child starts acting different or becomes lethargic/listless. A good fever means that their body is doing what it is supposed to do in fighting the infection. She said she really wasn’t concerned about how high the temperature got, she was more concerned with the overall mood and energy level of the baby/child. Really helped calm down our early, first-time parenting nerves.” — Brie, 32
How to soothe a sore throat without cough drops.
“A nurse once told me a great tip for sore throats. Skip the lozenges and just eat a few marshmallows. I think it’s something about the gelatin in them, but it soothes sore throats like magic and tastes a whole lot better, too!” — Nikki, 28
“Our pediatrician told me to not bother with homeopathic cough medicine and just give my kids honey, because it was cheaper and probably more effective.” — Kristen, 34
How to treat a cold.
“I’m actually a nurse, and when my kids get sick with colds, I swear by an apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and honey elixir. I give them teaspoons throughout the day and it kicks the cold in two days flat. They smell slightly like vinegar but are healthy!” — Rachel, 30
“Our chiropractor turned us on to Thieves oil when our kids are congested or have colds. We get it in the form of a stick that looks kind of like deodorant and apply it to their feet and chests. They love applying it themselves, which helps cheer them up when they are feeling crummy. Thieves oil is an essential oil blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary that has been used for centuries for it’s bacteria fighting properties. Research shows that Thieves oil can kill 99 percent of airborne bacteria when diffused into a room and fun fact: it gets its name because it was [used] by 15th century thieves to keep from contracting the plague while robbing the dead. ” — Bryn, 31
How to deal with picky eaters.
“Dealing with a picky eater can be exhausting, but my doctor gave me a great tip to help encourage my daughter to at least try more things. She suggested letting her help choose fruits and vegetables while we were at the grocery store and include her in meal prep. Even though she’s still pretty picky, having a hand in choosing and making meals has made her more willing to try things.” — Sarah, 33
“While telling my doctor about my frustration over the fact that my 18-month-old would only drink chocolate milk, I told him I didn’t know what to do. He told me, with a straight face, ‘Stop buying it.’ At first I was offended, but later realized the obvious advice was the truth.” — Caitlin, 27
“We had a lot of trouble with feeding our daughter early on. She had a really difficult time gaining weight, but wouldn’t sit still long enough to eat anything and showed no interest in table food. Our doctor suggested giving her whole milk Greek yogurt mixed with a little water or milk (to give it a drinkable consistency) in a straw cup. She liked to carry it around with her. Fat, protein, calories, on-the-go! Not sure she would be alive without this tip. I use it with my younger daughter, too, who doesn’t take to protein much.” — Amanda, 28
How to give your baby medicine.
“Our doctor said to give the baby medicine we could use the nipple of a bottle. Put the medicine in the nipple and let them suck on it. It may be obvious to other parents, but MY MIND WAS BLOWN. So much easier than trying to stick a syringe in their mouth.” — Kristel, 30
How to nurse and get some sleep.
“My nurse in the hospital after I had my daughter made sure (with a very hands-on demo) that I knew how to side-lie nurse before I left the hospital. She said this would save my sleep from the beginning, which it did, and I didn’t realize ’til after that, apparently most nurses and lactation consultants don’t teach that position until nursing is established.” — Kelly, 33
How to combat allergy season.
“When I brought my son (age 4 at the time) to the doctor for really red, itchy allergy eyes, my doctor told me to sprinkle some pollen into his food as springtime was about to hit. I picked some up at a local grocery store, and BAM. No more red, itchy allergy eyes. He also told us to give him elderberry, a natural anti-viral, before and during winter. It seems to really work to boost his immune system.” — Michelle, 29
When to use (and when not to use) lavender lotion.
“My son had a rough time sleeping when he was young, so I would rub lavender lotion (per a friend’s advice) all over him, from head to toe, and when one of the nurses saw it in our bag she told us never to use lavender lotion on a boy because it makes them grow breasts. I had to research it, because I google everything, and it was true.” — Jen, 32
How to sooth a skin irritation.
“When I asked my doctor about a skin irritation my daughter had, she said, ‘Have you tried putting breast milk on it?’ She said that when in doubt, just squirt a little on and it may clear whatever ailment right up. That stuff is magical!” — Echo, 32
Why your baby is being fussy.
“I always remind myself of something my pediatrician told me when my oldest son was a baby … right before a growth spurt, babies and toddlers throw a lot of tantrums because logically, their brains can think of what they want to do or say, but physically their body may not be able to do it yet, which clearly would be very frustrating. Helped me to have a bit of empathy when I was feeling frustrated.” — Becca, 32
Yes, kids get body stiffness too.
“While visiting my chiropractor for an adjustment, we were talking about my son and how fussy he had been lately. She told me, ‘Sometimes kids just need a little body work. Just because they are little does not mean that they are immune to pain or stiffness. A lot of times kids are much easier to calm if their body is feeling good.’ And sure enough, she was right. I hadn’t really thought much about chiropractic for my little one, but it’s been really great.” — Jill, 33
How to (painlessly) remove a splinter.
“Once while taking my son in for his regular check-up, I asked my doctor if while we were there he might be able to remove a stubborn splinter that my son wouldn’t let me get anywhere near. He gave me the remedy that has been my go-to ever since. Mix a little bit of baking soda with water — enough to make a paste — and then spread a thin layer over the area where the splinter is. Cover it with a Band-Aid, and once it dries you can take the Band-Aid off and the splinter comes out with it. Pain free!” — Amanda, 34
How to keep things in perspective.
“When I was constantly worrying about every little pregnancy thing during my first pregnancy, my midwife told me: ‘Babies are born on crack and McDonald’s and they still thrive. Babies are resilient; yours will be OK. Do the best you can and stop worrying so much. Stress is just as bad for your baby as some of these other things you’re worried about.” — Lauren, 31More On