I wrote this handout back in 1998 for an herbal class I taught. It was important to me then and still is today. I feel every parent should have certain things on hand before they need them. I also feel there are less side effects from nature tonics than Pharmaceuticals so I always start with herbal or homeopath and most times I end there due to the fact they really do work.
Ear Ache: When your child wakes up at 3 am screaming and pulling at their ears you don’t want them to suffer because you don’t have any ear oil on the shelf. A drop in the ear makes most pain go away instantly. Don’t have your child suffer. Along with relief, you are actually avoiding a worse problem which would bring on even more pain. It just seems inhumane to cause un-needed pain when ear oil is safe and effective. There are times when an abnormal ear drum or a weaken immune system that just can’t keep up makes the healing more difficult, leading to a doctors visit being the next move, but honestly, I avoided many a doctors visit by putting ear oil in right away, aiding the healing before it got out of hand. Make sure your ear oil is not old: buy once a year and keep in dark place standing straight up or it breaks down the rubber on the dropper.
Pink Eye: I would make a tea out of eyebright, strain it, then apply to the eyes with an eyedropper I had on hand. While boiling the tea I would use the water to sterilize the eye dropper. If I didn’t have a strainer (make sure you sterilize this also) I would use a paper towel held tight over a coffee cup to pour tea in. One cup water to one tablespoon of eyebright leaves. Make sure you allow the tea to reach room temp. If you need sooner then just pour a little in cup so it can cool quickly. As an added healer, I would add a little juice to more tea and have the child drink it. Apply drops into eyes at first sign of congested eyes, meaning extra red, gunky (yellow discharge that gathers in the corner of eye or causes the eyes to seal shut). I would re-apply 3 to 4 times a day for at least 4 days up to 10 days. Even if signs of infection go away I still do drops for a couple of days to make sure it stays gone. I always saw some results in one to two days. If no results in that time then I recommend going to the doctor right away. When you apply tea make sure you drop tea in corner of eye closest to the nose and have it go toward the ear making sure not to cross contaminate the other eye. Use fresh paper towel dampened with tea to first clean each eye of any gunk.
I had really good results from using the Nox Vomica and Arnica homeopath.
Nox Vomica and papaya enzymes work really well for stomach problems. Papaya helps with digestion where Nox Vomica is good for nervous stomach, and mystery stomach aches.
Bumps and bruises: I saw arnica take swelling down many times if given right after a fall. This is another reason I would carry it with me all the time. I used the tablets that dissolved under the tongue.
I would keep a clay type toothpaste available for any type of bug bite or sting. Took pain away almost instant. Also drew out the poison from sting. Good for zits too.
No one wants to see another human suffer, there is an added sting in our hearts when it is our children.
If your baby looks healthy, then I would not introduce anything except mothers milk till the baby makes a mouthing type chewing motion. This is usually around five to six months. If you feel like it might be time to try foods, put a tiny bit on the end of a baby spoon and see what your baby does, do they make a swallowing motion or do they just spit it all out.
How do you feel about this. If they spit it all out do you feel like your baby is ready for food. I would say follow your instincts but that brings up a whole other issue addressed in another post.
If they swallow the solids, does this tell you they are ready? Don’t go by what so and so said. What do you think?
Here’s what I think. I think the baby is not ready for food until you think he is and he shows signs of receiving the food.
Following your instincts. We have so many books out there and so much tv not to mention many of our parents and friends influencing us.
How do we even know how to listen to our natural instinct? Is there any normalcy left in them? Have we erased what nature intended? Have we cultured out what is best for our babies and our bodies? Who are these experts we have been listening to for all these years? What’s the motive for the advise they give? In the last 100 years the experts have made turns in everything they have recommended. It use to be good to give ground meat as first food at two weeks old, they use to grab us by the heals and swing us upside down–ask a chiropractor what he thinks of that. Like a broken pendulum, we are all over the place on advise. Just when I think we are getting close to how nature intended, we, as a society, swing away. In the 1980’s and 90’s we seemed to be so close to doing what was best for our babies, now 70% of the time, I cringe when I see mothers with their babies.
So when someone gives you advise, think about this turn away from what nature intended and think about how many generations there have been in the last 100 years. That is four to five generations. When that person talks to you, see the wisdom streaming down but also the fear accumulated and the mis-information passed down. So you can see how experience, fear and mis-informed crammed into one brain, mixed well and left to slowly steep creates an smorgasbord of good and bad advise.
I was happy when I saw a women with her wee one in a sling at Coconut point a couple of years back, but boy did she stand out. Strollers were common but no one was carrying their baby. Peoples eyes were following her. I saw her sit down with the baby and discretely lift her shirt-you couldn’t see her breast because the baby’s head was on her breast and her shirt was slightly covering the babies head. I give this much detail to make sure you know what I am saying because people interpret things a million ways if left too vague. I walked up to her and told her how great it was to see her nurse and using a sling. She smiled and said thanks with a foreign accent.
1.) I was so happy to see something positive and what should be “normal” that I had to give her encouragement.
2.) You “normally” see babies being carried in their car seats or strollers instead of someones arms.
The Webster dictionary describes NORMAL two ways:
usual or ordinary : not strange
mentally and physically healthy
These definitions apply to the two sentences above. Can you match the definition to the sentence?
This is a powerful lesson in differentiating between parenting instinct and parenting conditioning. When you read something in a book or hear someone say something and it doesn’t feel right, odds are it is not right. Do a bit of research, check their sources, then decide where you really sit with this information you heard.
Baby’s first finger food:
Pears cubed, pears are good because they almost melt in the mouth.
Avocado is first food. It is not very sweet so it teaches the mouth to like vegetables and not just sugary fruits.
If you do Cheerios then look for a sugar-free brand in the health food store. There is processed sugar in Cheerios but good news is they are now GMO free.
Not really first food but great finger food. Start around a year. Sprout balls and tofu cubed ~~Plain organic tofu-firm cubed. Cut tofu in bite size squares and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and a tiny bit of spike for the older kids for flavor and B vitamins. Roll sprouts in half-inch loose balls and sprinkle in yeast.
Would love to hear your suggestions for babies first food. Please leave a comment below.
WARNING! This post is more than a quick fact. It is a bit lengthy in description but please trust me when I say it is worth it. It is about connection.
Baby’s First food.
Books will give you a weight your baby should be for a certain age, This is a guideline and should not be used as a measurement meant to follow ounce by ounce . People come in all different sizes. Let me say this a different way: Babies come in all different sizes. Babies = People.
If your baby is nursing only from a drug free mother who eats healthy food and they are looking really big compared to others babies or compared to what the book says your baby should be. Your baby is healthy. Period. Do not cut back on it’s feedings. Do not introduce foods to slim the baby down, Your baby is healthy, they are just being a normal human being. Relax.
Likewise if you baby is small compared to the other babies, please don’t jump to the conclusion that you body is not making enough milk for the little one. Don’t start investigating formulas and solid food yet. The same rule applies above.
Do recognize if your babies is dehydrated or not keeping foods down to the point they are not receiving proper hydration and nourishment. Use your motherly judgement on this. Lots of babies are spit up babies but keep plenty down, they are just little gobblers and don’t know when to stop so their body is getting rid of what they do not need.
There are times when a baby’s body is not doing well due to one reason or another and you need a little help from an outside educated source. Is you baby feverish? Is your baby not latching on properly due to Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue tie or lip tie? Is the soft spot sunken? Does the skin stick up when you gently pinch it? Not many wet diapers? The last three being signs of dehydration. These are all signs outside help is needed. Seek it.
The human race wants to survive and since nature designed us to feed our babies via the breast, you would be surprised how well the whole system works. Barring all the unwarranted fear that our society has created, mothers love to nurse. And the great news is that your baby loves nursing too. We just need to get women back on board. The best tool I can recommend is this one word.
Relax the mind, relax the arm that holds your baby, relax all the people around you after your baby is born, relax your breath. Babies pick up on nervousness.
Some of you may be saying, easier said than done. I get this. I am afraid of dogs. When I first see them running toward me with hair raised on their neck, my nerves raise. I’m sure the dog see’s this erratic energy field of fear surrounding me. I’ve been told they do and for no other reason then fear, I really do believe they sense it. Now here’s the tricky part, how exactly do I get rid of this fear? Well there are ways to trick a dog that you are not afraid: body posture, loud voice, breathe, never can remember if I’m suppose to look them straight in the eye or not so the last rule is important…always carry a big stick .
There are ways to relax around your baby also (please don’t carry a big stick). Understand that your baby is not fine china, neither is your baby an unbreakable dish; more like your everyday dish set. Hold you baby in many positions, get use to holding her/him. Explore them, look over every nook and cranny. Move their tiny arms and legs up and down. Let them cry for a few seconds if they happen on it. Let them explore their voice. When they are newborn, the cry is really the only voice they have. If it is awkward to get them to latch on don’t freak out if they even cry themselves to sleep. Freaking out is the opposite of relaxing. So hold your baby and focus for a bit on your breath and the breath of your wee one. Feel the energy of your bodies when crying, when just chilling and when sleeping. Notice your breath during each of these cycles. Notice you body tension. Breathe into any area you feel might be holding tight. Tell it to relax. This body part may listen to you or it may not. If not, visualize the muscles letting go but don’t be attached to how they are actually reacting. The same lessons we learned to get us through labor actually help get us through mothering. Learn them and practice them often, they are most effective when you actually use them. (I’m not being sarcastic, I’m being practical and real.)
Here are a few other helpful tools:
Drink lots of water, try to get a gallon a day down. Use a straw to get it down quicker, have it next to you all the time. Do not sit unless the water is there. Start your morning with water and lemon, or hot tea and lemon. The lemon is a very gentle cleanser keeping your immune system working.
Yoga every day. Yes that right, even if it is just a posture or two. Find ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. Do a forward bend while gently swinging your baby close to the ground, do plank pose and spinal twist while playing peek-a-boo. Think differently about your practice. The days of an hour long continuous session are not so much an option anymore for most. Don’t abandon your exercise, just shift it to fit into your new life. You are with the baby almost 24/7 so why not take advantage of this time and create a healthier mind and body that in turn creates a more peaceful relationship with all.
Visualize milk flowing, the power of the mind can work for you.
Have books you have read and trust available when questions arise. My recommendations are “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding”, “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League, “The Nursing Mother’s Companion Guide” by Huggins.
Quickly, see a Hypnotherapist. They help us undo conditioning that is harmful to us, really almost instantly.
Pay for a massage, have them come to the house if you can. It is preferred if someone could watch the baby for quiet time so you can totally let go. If not still better to get the massage then not. Prepare yourself for the massage before you go so you can take full advantage of this short hour. Do deep breathing while driving there. Tell yourself this is your hour and do not spend it talking non stop. The massage therapist should be let in on this so they can honor the silence. Allow your mind to go to a place of no activity. I know you don’t get much adult conversation, but do not use this time for socializing. If you do deep breathing here and there and focus on the muscles releasing where ever the therapist are touching, you will get so much more out of this. Close your eyes while getting the massage, trust. Even better, when you release each muscle visualize a color with that area. What ever comes to you. See the color turn into an oil and use that oil color to mentally release.
Have you seen how you have been holding your body when the baby cries, when you sleep and try to nurse if you are co-sleeping, when you are carrying your baby? This is your hour to allow your body to reverse stress and release muscles allowing them to move back into normal positions.
Have happy thoughts while you and your baby are connecting, These days of nursing are so short, soon they will be over never to return again, The oxytocin that is released and the feeling of nurturing that comes from this rush of hormones only happens while you nurse. Try to be aware of this flow of sensation that comes, this is a special tonic that nature prepared so that nurturing, mothering, bonding can occur.
Nature prepared us with this perfect beautiful tonic. Breastfeeding. Now see if your milk does not flow better.
Bio for Jeanie Williamson ~~~ I do not have a PhD in infant nutrition, I am much more informed than this. I am a mother that has a passion to learn with a purpose for why this is important. I have clocked in enough hours I could have 4 PhD’s but who’s counting. Oh yeah, society seems to be counting. I may not study under the auspices of a state approved college. I went to the College of Real Life, my professors were my children and my midwife and the midwives with whom I studied, other mothers. Mothering Magazine was my most valued text-book along with Spiritual Midwifery, Special Delivery, Inner Light-Inner Beauty, Learning all the time, Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Continuum Concept and other great resources. My clocked in hours were ever minute I was awake. My outside credit school hours were Childbirth Education Teacher Certification workshops I took and then retook due to sponsoring them, the Midwifery Assistant courses, the infant massage course and Hypnobirthing Childbirth Education certification courses I took, along with all the classes I taught over the last 30 years. My most prestigious professors have been the newborns I have been blessed to welcome into the world along side the mothers that honored me to be with them.
Artist and photographers, profesional and amateur alike, enjoyed capturing these adorable faces. Every time we went to the beach or went to town, tourist would ask if they could take their pictures.
Kimberly Boulon returned to art with a portrait in charcoal of both the kids. She entered it in an art show which proceeded to be her first sold piece.
Kat Sowa did a portrait of Juma at the beach. We visited it in her art show at Mongoose back in the late ’90s.
The above pics were taken by Bob. I can’t remember his last name. It is not Nose or Schlesinger.
Steve Simonsen, famous for his many covers on Caribbean Life magazine, used Raina as a model when she was 4 in a beach and underwater scene that he included in one of his books.
Raina was a model again the same year for LLBean. That was a strange experience.
Pandy was our Shih Tzu that played outdoors, slept outdoors and literally was only allowed in the house the day she was bathed. When I read about Shih Tzu it said they are indoor dogs only. We tried that and she was not content. She wanted to play with the kids all day long and was so dirty I left her outside at night which she seemed very happy with. Her and Domino, the cat, kept each other company.
These giant pillow from Pottery Barn were a big deal in our house. It was a big expense that paid back in big smiles. Most the time. Eyes wild with excitement, the kids would run and dive, belly flops was more like it. Every time Starbo would see the kids do this he would say, “Hey, don’t let me see you do that again.” Eyes turned down, shoulders slumped as if to say, “Sorry Dad” and then when he left the room they would start right back up. This time I didn’t back Starbo up because I saw no harm in what they were doing. This is how it went in our house. When Starbo was around the kids wouldn’t do certain things but when he left the crazy began, as long as it was ok with me. If I didn’t like it, they wouldn’t get away with it.
The scary part for Juma, really the torture part, was when his older brothers would sandwich him in between two pillow. I would freak out when I saw him freaking out. I would scream, “Stop that right now, you know Juma hates that. It’s torture to him. Don’t ever let me see that again.” You would think I would never see it again but kids can be cruel. They know he spent days at the dentist being restrained in a papoose style board with velcro straps to get his teeth fixed. He had horrible bottle mouth syndrome.
Not sure why he had such bad teeth. He was breastfed for two and a half years, fed healthy food but he did get a bottle of diluted juice once a day and often fell asleep drinking it. My bad and unfortunately Juma’s bad.
I had two choices, put him under and do it all one time or sedate him and do it a few hours each day. I was afraid of putting him under when I read about the rare side effect…death. So dreading it all but understanding the severity of his disease, I opted for the sedation. The drug that was suppose to mellow him out had the reverse effect, taking a very mellow boy and turning him into a hyper maniac. It took four of us to restrain him in a papoose. A nightmare for us all. My poor little baby was crying so hard and I had to convince him to open his mouth for this very patient and lovely Puerto Rican female dentist. At the time it seemed there was nothing else to do, I wanted to pack up an fly home but I needed to be strong. His little teeth were chipped and rotten. Some got pulled and some got crowns. Like this story, it seemed to never end. Three days of it then we had to fly back to Puerto Rico a month later for another day of torcher.
So don’t restrain this boy. Let the fun be had but don’t sandwich my little boy or the memories flood back.
Look at the dolly inside the basket peeking out with her head full of red curls so much like the brown colored curls this little baby girl will get some day not so far in the future. The hand woven basket is from our trip to Jamaica, the New Zealand lambskin was a soft place to lay my little babies bodies. Look closely and you can see the dreads forming on the left side of Juma’s head which will stay there till he is almost five. For these two, playtime was an invention of anything that was laying around. No special toys needed or for that matter were around.
I was a working mom back then. Tiny Jewels, my children store, was a full time job that I did while my day being a mother was also happening. I just fit it in all the cracks and crannies of my day (and night).
Hurricane Marilyn 1995. (LaLa Land, Coral Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands)
That was our shed with a once upon-a-time car port after the winds blew most of it away and split the rest. The yard is full of power cords, blue tarps and lumber. The air is full of generators to run power tools for the repairs. We did not run them for long because the house’s power ran on solar. We even had a Energy Star fridge that our solar panels and batteries were able to keep cold.
Every day these little ones played in this yard. Did they ever step on things that hurt? Rarely. There was the time when Raina stepped on a screw and I learned that you can not pull out a screw, you have to unscrew it. Yuck, I know. A little soap and water, golden seal salve with a band-aide covered with a sock and she was fine.
I love Juma’s hair in this picture. He decided to play barber which explains the scalped hair on his forehead. I cut the rest short to try and match his creation.
Juma seems to have no problem emotionally holding his little sister back. There is no stress on his face because he is confident that he has her best interest in mind. She, on the other hand, looks extremely disturbed by this gesture from her older brother.