Urg!!! Just when I thought the medical dramas were over and done with, my martial arts trainer brings her baby over to play while we train and baby comes down with gastro the very next day. Sigh. I wait for the inevitable and what d’ya know? My baby comes down with it 9 days later, followed by me, my eldest son and then my husband. Not fun!!! I have not had such a cleansing experience in years (TMI? Sorry, I’m a naturopath).

If only I could have been sick at a time when husband was able to take care of me. If only I did not have to nurse 2 children through horrendous nausea, vomiting and violent cramping- it may have been somewhat easier to deal with. I may have taken full advantage of the bed rest and even been able to ham it up a bit. This was one of those times that I wished I wasn’t the grown up.

Middle son did a great job of looking after himself, getting his own breakfast, making his own school lunch, he even made his own dinner one night. Hooray for Sanitarium Not Burgers! Did you know you can cook them in the toaster? Whack it on a bread roll with some lettuce and voila- a 7 year has made himself a vegie burger.

Since Gastroenteritis is the word of the week in my household, I thought other Mums out there mighshameless plugt be interested in a natural therapies approach to kids with gastro. This is info pulled from my ‘Using Natural Therapies for Infants’ guide which can be found in the members area of naturaltransition.com. It will only cost you a $1 donation to my favourite charity if you want to check out the member’s tools and resources. Forgive the shameless plug for my site… Plug complete.

This is how a naturopath deals with kids and gastro when she has her own head out of the toilet.

Seek medical attention if:

  • Your baby is under 6 months old and has vomiting and diarrhoea
  • You think your child is dehydrated
  • Your child has severe stomach pain
  • OR you are worried for any other reason

Signs of dehydration:

  • Your child is not passing urine
  • Sunken eyes
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Hard to wake up

What to do:

  • Cuddle, sick kids need lots of cuddles.
  • It is important to replace fluids lost due to the vomiting and diarrhoea. It is important for the fluids to be taken even if it seems to make the symptoms worse. As I told my son- it’s far nicer to vomit water than gastric juices.
  • Offer extra breast feeds to your baby. Allow your baby to breastfeed as much as possible. Young babies can become dehydrated very easily and mostly want small amounts often. Let baby have tiny bits as often as they want.
  • For non breastfeeding children you can also give small amounts of water or diluted apple juice often or the re-hydration drink outlined below. A mouthful every 15 minutes is best if your child is vomiting a lot. Keep in mind that Mums breast milk is absolutely the best fluid for sick children. It is easily digested, contains lots of friendly, helpful gut bacteria as well as immune factors specific to the particular virus they have.
fist shaking curses to you lady

Fist shaking curses to you lady

Infection control

  • Your baby or child is infectious so wash your hands well with soap and warm water, particularly before feeding and after changing nappies.
  • Keep your child away from other children as much as possible until the diarrhoea and vomiting has stopped. That’s right, don’t take them to play group until they are completely better. You might need to get out of the house, but all those other families don’t want it. I’m fine with having caught a virus from someone who didn’t know they were infectious, but to the person who took their kid to play group knowing they still had diarrhoea- Fist shaking curses to you!!!

Diet

  • As I have already said lots of breast milk is the best remedy for a baby with gastro. You may need to limit the number of sucks baby has to just a few sucks every 5 mins or so to help them keep it down.
  • You can make your own rehydration drink for non breastfeeding kiddies by taking 1L of filtered water and add 1 dessert soon of either glucose syrup or sugar and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Drink this slowly.
  • If a non breastfeeding child is vomiting very frequently and does not appear to be tolerating fluids, try to give 0.5ml per kg of body weight every 5 mins with a syringe.
  • If your child is old enough for solids, once vomiting has settled begin giving foods slowly. Start with small amounts of well cooked white rice and cooked apple or pear. Clear soup broths are great too, especially organic bone broths if your a meat eating family- lots of electrolytes and minerals. Easy to digest.
  • Introduce other foods slowly. Avoid green veggies until your child appears to have recovered.

Supplements

  • You can give slippery elm powder to baby’s from 6 months onwards. Add 1 teaspoon of the powder mixed into 1/3rd cup of water and feed to your baby on a teaspoon or syringe into the mouth. This will help to bulk up the stool, reduce cramping and reduce the frequency of bowel motions.
  • A children’s acidophilus/bifidous supplement will help to maintain healthy intestinal flora and can be useful during the illness and is certainly important once symptoms have passed to help rebuild a stripped digestive system.

Homeoepathy
See the members resource ‘Using homoeopathy for Infants’ for general guidelines and safety considerations.

Veratrum album
This is helpful when you see the following signs:

  • Profuse painful diarrhoea that is forcibly evacuated followed by great weakness.
  • Despite feeling very chilly, the person is craving ice and cold drinks.
  • Often profuse sweating with chills
  • May experience projectile vomiting.

Arsenicum album

  • Leading remedy for diarrhoea caused by food poisoning or from viral diseases
  • Diarrhoea is worse after eating or drinking, and is usually accompanied by nausea, vomiting and burning or cramping pains in the abdomen.
  • The person is usually exhausted by the diarrhoea, but he or she is also restless, fidgety, and generally anxious.
  • May have a fever with chills, and regardless, they are chilly and very sensitive to and aggravated by cold.
  • They can be very thirsty but can only handle drinking sips of fluids at a time.

Chamomilla

  • This remedy is useful in infants who experience diarrhoea, especially when they are extremely irritable during their illness.
  • Typically, the diarrhoea is foul smelling and green or has white or yellow mucus. The child will be in great pain
  • Holding and carrying the child is the only thing that provides temporary relief. Often this will only work for a short period of time.

Podophyllum

  • This is a great remedy for acute diarrhoea.
  • It is indicated when the person experiences a sudden urgency for a stool (it may even drive the person out of bed early in the morning). Hard to notice in a baby but you may pick up on signs that indicate this.
  • There are profuse, offensive-smelling stools, and great rumbling and gurgling in the tummy before the stool.
  • Typically, the release of the stool is painless, but in-between stools the child may experience cramping that may cause them to curl up.
  • The child will experience a large thirst for cold liquids.

Reflexology routine to help gastro
Only try this is your baby is happy for you to play with the feet. Use a very, very gentle pressure and keep the session very short- no more than 5 minutes on each foot. You want to avoid overstimulating an already overstimulated system. A good sign that the baby has had enough is when they pull their feet away. As with all things baby if let them show you the way, you’ve got more chance of going down the right track.

See ‘Using reflexology with your baby’ for complete guidelines on using reflexology with your baby.
Use this nifty little reflexology chart to locate the suggested points. If you don’t find what you need on that chart just click on it for a more comprehensive one.

  1. Relax both feet with relaxation techniques and end with a thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.
  2. Gently work each of the reflex points suggested below

Babies’ feet are much smaller than an adults and the reflex points are much closer together, so finger movement is very minimal. It really doesn’t matter so much if you hit the right points if baby is finding the touch relaxing, it will help.

  • Throat, oesophagus, thyroid and parathyroid areas
  • Mouth area
  • Pituitary, pineal, and hypothalamus
  • Spine with emphasis on the lower spine area
  • Stomach
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Up the descending colon to the waist line and pelvic line (both feet)
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Adrenals
  • Ileocecal valve
  • Up ascending colon and across the transverse colon
  1. Finish with some relaxing massage, rubbing the whole foot and finish with a thumb press on the solar plexus point in both feet.


Have I missed anything? Do you have any natural remedies for kids with gastro? As usual, I’d love to hear about them. Please leave me a comment if you’ve read this far 😉 Yes, I am begging.