The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
by Mayim Bialik, Ph.D.
This short essay is humorous, honest, insightful and inspiring.
We feel very strongly that infants' hands and arms should never be swaddled downward. This is a very unnatural position. The preterm infant in the womb is in flexion much of the time and uses hands and arms to reach across midline, bring the hand and fingers to the mouth, suck on them, grasp and clasp hand to hand, and to the umbilical cord, grasp and holds onto the head, the shoulders, etc. etc. This all sets up neurosensory feedback loops that the immature nervous system counts on in order to mature the flexor-extensor balance and mutual inhibition and activation. Hands should always be free to reach the face and mouth and to mutually grasp one another. Hands and mouth are innervated from closely adjacent regions in somato-sensory cortex; and they function in complement and concert with one another. The palmar grasp response elicits mouth opening (palmar mental grasp reflex) which activates and facilitates sucking. Primate newborns hold on effectively with hands feet and mouth to nipple to their mothers.
Flexion and rounded shoulders with midline mutual inhibition of over-activation and upset, supports breathing, sleep etc.
It is a prerequisite for successful feeding. When the hands become flaccid, sucking no longer should be initiated until tone has returned into the hands (and feet for that matter).
I trust this is helpful and validates your clinical sense and intuition.
Let me know if I may be of further assistance. Heidi
Heidelise Als, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology)
Harvard Medical School
Director, Neurobehavioral Infant and Child Studies
Children's Hospital Boston
Enders Pediatric Research Laboratories
320 Longwood Avenue, EN-107
Boston, MA 02115
IN BABY CARE PRODUCTS - The Organic Consumers Asosciation
and Cancer Prevention Coalition joined together last week to
inform consumers of these dangers while providing information
about safe alternatives.
drgreene.com - caring for the
next generation - Lots of answers to lots of questions.
Neonates in the Emergency Department
- a comprehensive guide
I have used Physical Assessment of The Newborn by Ellen
Tappero and Mary Ellen Honeyfield for years and been very
I like that book too, but another book I have found very helpful
is a little paperback, Primary Care of the Newborn by
Henry M. Seidel, Beryl J. Rosenstein and Ambadas
Pathak. I like this book because it goes beyond
examining the newborn and noting abnormalities. It also
discussed labs and treatments for certain conditions. I have
found this very helpful when discussing unusual problem with the
parents. Not that I make the diagnosis, but it gives us some
basis for understanding and anticipating recommended treatments.
for the fetal to newborn transition.
Mercer JS, Erickson-Owens DA, Graves B, Haley MM.
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007 May-Jun;52(3):262-72.
Many common care practices during labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period impact the fetal to neonatal transition, including medication used during labor, suctioning protocols, strategies to prevent heat loss, umbilical cord clamping, and use of 100% oxygen for resuscitation. Many of the care practices used to assess and manage a newborn immediately after birth have not proven efficacious. No definitive outcomes have been obtained from studies on maternal analgesia effects on the newborn. Although immediate cord clamping is common practice, recent evidence from large randomized, controlled trials suggests that delayed cord clamping may protect the infant against anemia. Skin-to-skin care of the newborn after birth is recommended as the mainstay of newborn thermoregulation and care. Routine suctioning of infants at birth was not been found to be beneficial. Neither amnioinfusion, suctioning of meconium-stained babies after the birth of the head, nor intubation and suctioning of vigorous infants prevents meconium aspiration syndrome. The use of 100% oxygen at birth to resuscitate a newborn causes increased oxidative stress and does not appear to offer benefits over room air. This review of evidence on newborn care practices reveals that more often than not, less intervention is better. The recommendations support a gentle, physiologic birth and family-centered care of the newborn.
Introduction - The transition from fetus to newborn is a normal
physiologic and developmental process -- one that has occurred
since the beginning of the human race. Many hospital routines that
are used to assess and manage newborns immediately after birth
developed because of convenience, expediency, or habit, and have
never been validated. Some practices are so ingrained that older
traditional practices, such as providing skin-to-skin care or
delaying cord clamping, must be considered "experimental" in
current studies. However, recent research is beginning to
identify some older practices that should not have been abandoned
and some current practices that should be stopped. In order to
achieve a gentle, physiologic birth and family-centered care of
the newborn, practices that might interfere with maternal and
newborn bonding need to be closely scrutinized. This article
examines the evidence about practices related to the newborn
transition, including the effects of various drugs used labor,
umbilical cord clamping, thermoregulation, suctioning, and
resuscitation of the newborn.
Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone
By James J. McKenna Ph.D.
Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. Chair in Anthropology
Director, Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory
University of Notre Dame
Author of Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping
Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects from the CDC - Newborn screening using pulse oximetry can identify some infants with critical congenital heart defects.
This is a relatively non-invasive procedure that can be done at
home by a qualified midwife.
CCHD Screening: Step-by-Step instructional guide from Masimo, which makes
sensors for newborn pulse-oximetry that are supposed to work well
even if the baby is moving around.
Pulse Ox for
Providers - Children's National Medical Center on YouTube
of Pulse Ox Matters for Newborn Heart Defect Screening - a
These devices are fairly pricey, ranging from $950 to $4995, plus another $290 for a reusable neonatal sensor. This seems outside the budget of most homebirth midwives, but I would hope that birth centers would be able to have them in house.
It’s interesting to note that the large studies to date looking at the effectiveness of pulse oximetry screening for CCHD have all used one brand, Masimo. Masimo has unique technology that allows it to keep reading through motion.
Vitamin A Reduces Newborn Deaths
It is known that vitamin A deficiency can lead to increased deaths in infants under 6 months of age. Researchers found that giving infants two doses of vitamin A (24,000 IU each dose) within 48 hours of birth significantly reduced early infant mortality. Newborn infants who received vitamin A had a 22 percent to 23 percent reduction in mortality during the first six months of life.
Researchers are uncertain why infants benefit from receiving a
large dose of vitamin A shortly after birth, but suggest vitamin A
may provide a stimulus to rapid maturation of both gut and lung
lining. This matured lining may be more resistant to invasion by
pathogens or may be able to clear such organisms more efficiently.
Journal August 2, 2003;327:254]
Well, stop and think about this. Colostrum is *heavy* in vitamin A, 89 retinol equivalents per 100 ml. It also has 364 mg of IgA in every 100 ml.
Breeders of animals know that if the baby animal doesn't get colostrum in the first hour, they "may as well knock it in the head" because it so much more likely to die and not do as well. Animal researchers have found that this is because the animal's lining to the intestines have larger holes for the first few hours. This allows the nutrients and large immunoglobins to get directly into the system. Of course, no one is going to do that kind of research on babies (please God, make that so). But it stands to reason if the other mammals are like that, we are, too.
They said they gave the vitamin A in the first 48 hours. I
suspect it may have been even earlier. They don't say
whether or not the babes got colostrum and, if so, at what timing
and for how long.
I think of colostrum (now called early breastmilk) as a sealant
for the intestinal lining. It makes sense that if the
intestinal lining isn't sealed properly afer birth, it will be
easier for germs to get into the bloodstream through the digestive
tract. This is especially dangerous to babies born in the
germ-heavy institutional environments such as hospitals or
hospital-based "birth centers".
Mom has some good information about this.
However, she doesn't mention the critical issue of whether the baby's umbilical cord was cut prematurely. When the cord is cut immediately after birth, the baby is deprived of up to 28% of the blood volume that nature intended. Most of this blood volume is meant to supply the iron that is stored in the baby's liver as a source of iron to support the baby's growth for the first six months.
This is just one reason why it is so very important to leave the umbilical cord intact for at least two minutes after birth; five minutes is better.
It's a pretty cool system, actually. Iron in the gut increases intestinal infections, so nature intended that babies get an important stash of iron at birth so that breastmilk doesn't need to supply all of a baby's iron. Thus there are lower levels of iron in the gut and lower infection rates.
I have some relevant studies referenced in my section on Umbilical Cord Issues/Delayed Cord Clamping. The information about anemia is interspersed with other information.
See: Medical Necessity of
In-Home Newborn Followup
See also: For
Parents - How to Get the Best Care/How to Find Chiropractors
Pediatric Association and referral
Cervical Trauma and the Birth Process by Peter N. Fysh.
Children from the The World
for children from Family Forum Online
See also: Skin Flora
See also: Care of the Intact Penis
Neonatal Skin: Back to Nature? - Leaving vernix on the newborn's skin is better for baby.
"Dr. Hoath and his colleagues at the Skin Sciences Institute, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, have been studying the composition and properties of vernix and its role in adaptation of the neonate to the extrauterine, or dry, environment. Their research suggests that rather than being a soil, vernix is a natural skin cleanser. It may also be an anti-infective, an anti-oxidant, a moisturizer, and a wound-healing agent. Perhaps instead of rubbing vernix off of the newborn infant's skin, we should be rubbing it in!"
"World Health Organization guidelines for newborn care specify
that vernix should not be removed from the skin of newborn infants
and bathing should be delayed for at least 6 hours after birth."
After the baby's skin is colonized with the parents' skin flora, and breastfeeding is well established, you'll find it much easier to bathe baby using the beautifully designed Tummy Tub.
It's not always easy to find, but in 2007, it's available from Countless
of bather and location of first bath on maintaining thermal
stability in newborns.
Medves JM, O'Brien B.
J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2004 Mar-Apr;33(2):175-82.
"Heat loss experienced by newborns during bathing is significant
and is not associated with who bathes the newborn or where the
bath takes place."
"Bathing of the newborn baby soon after birth causes a drop in temperature and is not necessary.from THERMAL PROTECTION OF THE NEWBORN: A SUMMARY GUIDE from the WHO.
If cultural tradition demands bathing, this should not be carried out before 6 hours after birth and preferably the second or third day of life. The newborn should be healthy and its temperature normal.
In a Swedish study of eighty hypothermic newborns, 40 were placed in incubators and 40 were held skin-to-skin by their mothers. After four hours, 90 percent of the infants who had skin-to-skin contact had reached a normal body temperature while only 60 percent of the infants placed in incubators had done so. After 24 hours, temperatures of the incubated infants were slightly higher than those of the held infants, suggesting that incubated infants run a risk of becoming too warm and developing heat stress. Skin-to-skin contact also stabilizes heart and respiratory functions, according to the researchers. -The Lancet 1998, 352:1115
of skin-to-skin versus incubator care for rewarming low-risk
Christensson K, Bhat GJ, Amadi BC, Eriksson B, Hojer B.
Lancet. 1998 Oct 3;352(9134):1115.
of the newborn: a practical guide (from the World Health
Organization - WHO)
Care in Normal Birth: A Practical Guide Report (from the World Health Organization - WHO) says:
Immediately after the birth the baby has to be dried with warm towels or cloths, while being placed on the mother's abdomen or in her arms. The baby's condition is assessed and the existence of a clear airway is ensured (if necessary) simultaneously. Maintaining the body temperature of the baby is important; newborn babies exposed to cold delivery rooms may experience marked drops in body temperature, and concurrent metabolic problems. A fall in infant temperature can be reduced by skin-to-skin contact between baby and mother.
Early skin-to skin contact between mother and baby is important
for several other reasons. Psychologically it stimulates mother
and baby to get acquainted with each other. After birth babies are
colonized by bacteria; it is advantageous that they come into
contact with their mothers' skin bacteria, and that they are not
colonized by bacteria from caregivers or from a hospital. All
these advantages are difficult to prove, but nevertheless they
seem plausible. Early suckling/breast-feeding should be
encouraged, within the first hour after birth (WHO/UNICEF 1989).
This section has been moved to Kangaroo
Mother Care / Immediate Newborn Care
Tune in to Newborn Hearing Screening discusses the impact of undetected hearing loss in infants and children and presents recommendations for achieving the national Healthy People 2010 goal of hearing screening of 100% of newborns by age 1 month.
for Newborn Hearing Loss from the Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Hearing Detection & Intervention (EHDI) Program from the
Detection & Intervention Information & Resource Center
from National Center for
Hearing Assessment & Management (NCHAM)
Hearing Screening Technologies
for Hearing Loss --- United States, 1999--2001 - CDC report
- "Benchmarks for the key components of the EHDI process include
hearing screening before age 1 month, diagnostic audiologic
evaluation before age 3 months for infants who do not pass the
screening, and enrollment of infants identified with HL in early
intervention services before age 6 months."
I agree that if a hearing screening done early in life has
significant potential benefits and no risks, then it's a great
idea. However, I am concerned that there are risks involved
in any procedure which separates a newborn from the mother.
The baby's mother serves as the baby's immune system and food
source, and separating them naturally involves infection risks and
potential harm to the breastfeeding relationship. Like the
class newborn screen for metabolic disorders, it is done while the
newborn is in the hospital for convenience factors, not because
that is the best time to do the screen. I'd prefer to see
the initial screen done around 3 weeks, when it is more reliable
and less disruptive to a newborn's health.
Test advised for newborns to detect heart problem
[7/12/06] LONDON (Reuters) - Babies should be given a simple, non-invasive test when they are about a month old to check for a life-threatening heart problem, Italian researchers said on Thursday. . . .
The electrocardiogram (ECG) test could prevent deaths from an hereditary illness known as long QT syndrome (LQTS) -- a heart problem than can cause sudden, unexplained death. It can be treated with medication.
"In a study of 45,000 children, the test found signs of the disorder in almost one in 1,000 children."
DOES ANYONE OUT THERE USE ELDON CARDS? Do you like them? How do
they work? Do they type blood group AND Rh factor? Are they
expensive? Do you use them on every birth or just with Rh- mom
births? Can they be exposed to cold or heat and still work OK
(Trunk of car through winter/summer)? What is their shelf life?
Can they be trusted?
I had a client who ordered the Eldon Cards for their own personal
use. She wanted to test the types of her kids. She is neg and her
husband pos. She knew blood types for herself, husband, and one of
the kids. The cards showed their types accurately and she was very
happy with them. They did seem pretty expensive but nothing like
what the lab costs.
I use them and love them. For the first few, we double tested, sending one sample to the lab and doing the other sample on the card. The results were the same, so now we just use the Eldon cards. We collect cord blood in a purple top tubes and test it when things settle down. It shows both the type and Rh, and is very easily to perform. I usually only test babies who's moms are neg or if I am concerned about an ABO incompatibility. My equipment stays in the car year round. I have had no problems with temperature affecting the cards (although they are room temperature when I do the test).
They have about a 1 year shelf life and cost about $16 for a pack
of five, or $4 each. I will warn you that the expiration date is
written British style i.e., 23/1/97. I was concerned when I got
the cards (in January, 96) because the exp. date was 4/12/96. What
I now know is Dec. 4, 1996.
I collect cord blood in a 10cc syringe and then place a drop on
each test probe. Never had a wrong result yet. The needle from the
syringe makes a perfect drop.
sounds OK.... But I would encourage everyone to follow the
directions explicitly with no variations! There might be a simple
process, than the one recommended. but I wouldn't advise fiddling
I've had some European clients tell me their blood type is "A2"
or "B3". Apparently, there are subgroups of the A and B
"The danger of cot death can be eliminated by ensuring that
babies sleep on mattresses and underbedding known to be free from
the elements phosphorus, arsenic and antimony. The BabeSafe range
of mattresses complies with this requirement."
PEDIATRICS POLICY STATEMENT [Oct. 17, 2011
A fan in the room with baby protects against SIDS! - Place a fan in baby's room at night and during nap!
In October 2008, the National Institutes of Health released a study in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine that indicated placing a simple fan in the room with baby at night and during naps showed up to a 72% reduction in the occurrence of SIDS.
The researchers involved in the study felt fans offered two
Prevents overheating - Overheating increases the risk of SIDS.
Decreases Carbon Dioxide accumulation - Rebreathing carbon dioxide also increases the risk of SIDS.
Use of a
fan during sleep and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Coleman-Phox K, Odouli R, Li DK.
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Oct;162(10):963-8.
CONCLUSION: Fan use may be an effective intervention for further decreasing SIDS risk in infants in adverse sleep environments.
Its origin is a mystery. How the Wisconsin babies got it is another. It's the first time the virus has been found in the United States and raises the question of the role of germs in crib death. Whether it killed the babies isn't clear, but both were sick before they died.
Crib death, sudden infant death syndrome and SIDS are terms for unexplained deaths in children less than a year old. About 2,200 occur in the United States each year.
After the virus was detected in the dead babies, it was identified at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors now hope for research into whether it's a factor in SIDS.
From Primates to Late Nights: One Researcher’s Path to Sleep Studies - Interview with James McKenna, Ph.D., Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame.
This is an excellent article about the way in which co-sleeping
helps to regulate the baby's physiological functions and reduces
the SIDS risk.
in SIDS Identified
which lead to suddent infant death - from a family medicine
site in the UK
Here's the PVC industry's rebuttal
to the allegations that PVC fumes cause SIDS.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of
postneonatal mortality in the United States. In 1992, the American
Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that all healthy babies be
put to sleep either on their back or side to reduce the risk for
SIDS. In 1994, a national "Back to Sleep" education campaign was
initiated to encourage the public and health-care providers to put
babies to sleep on their back or side. In November 1996, the AAP
modified its policy to preferentially recommend putting infants on
their back because of the lower risk for SIDS associated with this
position relative to the side position. To assess adherence to
recommendations for infant sleeping position, CDC analyzed
population-based data on the usual infant sleeping position for
1996 births by race from 10 states participating in the Pregnancy
Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). This report summarizes
the results of that analysis and indicates that infant sleeping
position varied by state and race.
I just did a humongo lit search on SIDS for a class presentation (lost a grandson to it almost 4 years ago), and here's a very brief summary of what I would recommend from what I read. There is no simple way to prevent it, because it looks like a whole complex of processes may be responsible. Most of these are things you already know to do:
Family Bedroom Reduces SIDS Rates
Family Bed Prevents SIDS
Family Bed Doesn't Reduce SIDS Incidence
bed with your baby from UNICEF
Baby safety tips from the Consumer
Product Safety Commission
I have searched everywhere for some evidence regarding management
of dry skin. I can't find any. I know that many women use oils -
almond etc. But, is this evidence based? What impact do the oils
have on the defense mechanisms a neonate's skin has against
the newborn: exploring the potential harm of manufactured
RCM Midwives. 2002 Nov;5(11):376-8.
Many midwives routinely bath newborns using baby bath products believing these products are mild and suitable for delicate skins. This paper asks midwives to reconsider their role in the promotion of manufactured skincare products.
be done to keep babies' skin healthy?
Atherton D, Mills K.
RCM Midwives. 2004 Jul;7(7):288-90.
Jojoba oil is the best to use on a new baby's skin as it has the
closest ph level to the skin's natural ph level. I would
never use anything petroleum based!!! While it does
lubricate the skin it does not nourish the skin. The most
important thing is to use cold pressed oil - not just vegetable
oil like from the supermarket because this is chemically processed
whereas cold pressed oils are pure.
In view of DOH advice about avoiding nut products until your
early twenties, I now avoid advising nut based oil. I
suggest a patch test of any product to be used on babies' skin -
as I would do for any product I use on my own
Try some extra virgin coconut oil that comes in a jar semi solid,
it is an antifungal and a good skin healer, I've used it on any
little rashes that pop up with my munchkin and it cleared up.
I've only recently started studying holistic therapy but as far
as I'm aware sunflower oil is a safe base oil for children as well
as almond, peach kernel oil and light olive oil (extra virgin
should be eaten by us mummies). Sunflower oil provides a
light protective barrier and doesn't smell. The best time to
apply oils is after a bath and massaging a baby will help with
sleep, colic, help bonding and is great for postpartum depression.
In our trust, we recommend avoiding the nut oils because of the
potential for causing allergies, especially peanut oil, but even
For preterm infants with compromised skin barriers, sunflower see oil provides effective protection against nosocomial infection. However, this is irrelevant to the term baby who is at home.
Note that this study mentions AquaPhor is a petroleum-based ointment, and I wouldn't use it on my baby's skin!
topical treatment with skin barrier-enhancing emollients on
nosocomial infections in preterm infants in Bangladesh: a
randomised controlled trial.
Darmstadt GL, Saha SK, Ahmed AS, Chowdhury MA, Law PA, Ahmed S, Alam MA, Black RE, Santosham M.
Lancet. 2005 Mar 19;365(9464):1039-45.
Eczema is commonly caused by food allergies, either what the
child is eating or drinking, or the mother if baby is
breastfed. It's usually the thing that we love the most, eat
frequently and have cravings for (wouldn't ya know it!).
Start with eliminating one thing, give it a week or two to see if
there are any changes or improvement in the skin, and then
eliminate another (this is known as an elimination diet).
Doing it one item at a time will help you clearly determine what
the offending factor is so that it can be eliminated. The
eczema should then clear up on its own.
When I treat eczema, I usually start with mom's diet and some
basic foods to avoid that others have mentioned, such as gluten
and dairy. If that doesn't help, then we start eliminating other
Pediatric probiotic (w/Bifido infantis and other strains) can help with the infant's developing digestive system. HMF Natogen is a good product for this. Can be applied to the nipple during feedings.
The topical product I generally recommend is UNDA 270 Ointment (applied 2 - 3 times daily). Other emollients are great for keeping the skin hydrated and for comfort, such as the Vanicream.
If the eczema gets worse and starts oozing, then you may want to consider pharmaceutical topicals. Usually, it will all go away with time.
There can be environmental allergies/sensitivities too, but for a 4 month old, detergents is the most likely, as others have mentioned. Here's a good source to look at this further - www.solveeczema.org . We had to change everything to soap to fully eliminate our kids issues. We even supply the school classroom with soap so they don't use the typical detergents.
Good luck - it can be healed!
It describes why this can help and the best products to switch to. Hope you find something that helps.
I tried every cream that I could get my hands on from samples from the pediatrician to everything I could find at the store... nothing helped. Natural everything didn't help. Cutting food from my diet (she was 100% breastfeed) didn't help.
What did help was to stop using soap on 95% of her body. We still gave her baths often, but only cleaned the dirty parts with soap. That meant that her legs, stomach, back, arms, got no soap, just water. When she was at the worst I was even careful about how I applied and washed off the soap from the parts that needed it so that it didn't run over some of the really dry parts by accident (for Veronica it was her stomach and back). Showering to make sure she wasn't sitting in water with soap in it (showering with a baby meant for me sitting on the floor of the shower with her in my lap). Then I was carefully about how I dried the skin. Just pat no rubbing, well as much as you can (you are trying to dry a little baby that doesn't hold still very well). Then after the bath, and a couple of other times during the day I put Lanolin (yes the thick goo that is used for breastfeeding) on the dry parts. This treatment got her to where she was comfortable (no more itching), but there were always reddish dry spots that mostly went away with age. She was never super bad at the worst it was defiantly itchy, but I have heard of much worse cases. As I said she still gets red dry spots to this day. I wash them with only water pat them dry and apply lanolin several times a day, and it goes away after a couple of days. Then comes back in about a month. They don't seem to hurt her or get the itchy point though If I treat them right away.
I guess in my case I don't feel like my DD was ever "cured", but we did get to a place where she was comfortable, and it only look a minimal amount of effort to keep it under control.
Hope that helps...
Are you breastfeeding? If so something you are eating may be the cause. You need to eliminate the most common allergens, and I would suggest that you start first with gluten - go off of it for at least 2 weeks and see what happens. If it's not that then do dairy next, soy after that. If formula feeding it is something in the formula. external irritants are most commonly your detergent, baby wipes, chemicals in diapers, and sometimes even the detergent used in your dishwasher. However, I'd look at what goes into your baby first (even though it seems the harder thing to deal with..)
Our daughter had eczema and we did allergy testing which was
positive for gluten and dairy. We eliminated both and it resolved
immediately (& through food rotation testing realized it was
primarily the gluten). She doesn't have Celiac, but you don't have
to have it to still react negatively to
gluten. Gluten is also known to be associated with skin disorders and often that is one of the first noticeable symptoms.
Most all skin things are related to allergies of some sort
(food, chemical, environmental, etc.)
If you're intimidated by the idea of gluten free there are many great options out there - the hard part is finding those that taste good and have a good texture. Here is a quick list of my favorites:
tinkinyada noodles - cook like you do regular noodles to al dente. most folks can't tell the difference. Canyon Bakehouse gluten free bread & buns - the closest to regular bread you will find. Many GF breads have a gritty texture, this one is good. The almond flour cookbook recipes using the honeyville almond flour (HUGE difference using this almond flour over bob's red mill or others - texture just like regular baking and excellent flavor..)
When eating out, ethnic is the best bet for gluten free (thai, mexican, etc.) also there are some pizza places with GF options depending on where you live.
I found that this 100% natural creme called DermaMed
Cream cleared up my kids eczema wonderfully. They used
to call it children's healing cream and it is from Canada although
I found a similar product out of Texas which was identical
ingredients but was more expensive. Bottom line is this is an
overly fragrant but wonderful natural product which actually did
cure up some severe eczema in me and my 2 sons.
Dophilus can help establish a healthier probiotics
Eczema is part of the annoying triad: eczema-allergies-asthma, so it is a possibility that your 3 months old is allergic to something. The question is . What? Using lotion will not solve the problem but it will increase the time between outbreaks.
When you pick a lotion, find something heavier rather than lighter. The more "liquid' it is, the less moisturizing it is. I know it sounds counter intuitive... But there it is. Sometimes I do a 1-2 with the lotions. I use something more liquid at first when I am very irritated, then I put a second coat with a more moisturizing lotion which is usually harder to rub in.
If you use a lotion, it will get into the skin easier when the skin is still humid from the bath, than if it is dry.
If I were in your shoes, here is what I would do.
I would go and see an homeopath and tackle the underlying problem.
I'd get rid of every product you use that is scented or colored. I'd get a soapless soap (like eucerin's soap) and see if that makes a difference.
If you can, use natural fibers on the area which are affected. I have noticed on my own skin that the synthetic fibers almost rub my skin the wrong way and will create patches of eczema.
I would do double rinse on all laundry that will touch the baby skin. BTW, laundry detergents can be big culprits. I had a boyfriend who switched from Tide to 7th generation which is supposed to be better. Well, he was covered with eczema until he figured it out and switched back..;)
I would use a lotion after every bath on the entire body of the baby.
I have tried the following lotions:
- vaseline: good moisturizer but well, very greasy. It is a hit and miss for me.
- eucerin: the lotion is not very moisturizing, the cream is. Warning: contains nut oils, which are allergens. - Egyptian miracle cream (I think that it is what it is called), you can get it at whole foods. It is olive oil based. I had good results with that, so did a friend of mine. Both of our children have/had eczema. - shea butter. Very moisturizing, but hard to rub on irritated skin. - bag balm. Works wonders on the butt area. Lanolin based. If the baby is not allergic to wool, that could be a winner. It is very moisturizing, and will stay on the skin. It is extremely greasy. For area which are covered, t is fantastic. Does not work that well on hands.
As I said earlier, keeping the baby's skin hydrated will reduce
the chance of outbreaks. I am trying to make it part of the
night routine. Bath. Then massage. My daughter loves it. Now if
only I could think of it for myself..;)
Our dermatologist prescribed a steroid cream for my DD, now five years old. I was too afraid to put such a strong steroidal all over such a small child. we instead used boericke & tafel florasone cream (it is homeopathic cardiospermum tincture in cream base) with great success, applying liberally two to three times per day and after one week her skin was clear.
i have always noticed that she has a sensitivity to pasteurized
milk, whether warm or cold, served with spices, etc.... she would
have respiratory congestion, constipation, and eventually ugly
breakouts of eczema on the back of her legs and buttocks.
however, when she takes in the same volume of raw milk (with all
the required enzymes still intact), there are none of these
problems. from what i can gather from research on this
subject, much of eczema is an inflammatory response to undigested
(or indigestible!) proteins, whereupon the body tries to get rid
of the indigestible matter through the skin. there is also
an element of general systemic inflammation which can cause hyper
sensitivity of the skin to things such as pool chemicals, laundry
detergent, etc. improve the digestion and the inflammation
subsides. so far so good, her skin now remains clear :)
A good friend of mine had the same issues with her son, and he
did indeed have food allergies (wheat, dairy, peanuts -- all of
which he has now outgrown, thanks to very diligent avoidance of
those things for a couple of years) and she found frequent baths
with Aveeno wash actually helped (even though frequent baths felt
counter-intuitive), in addition to, I think, the Aveeno
cream. Helped much more than the steroid cream for her son,
Cod Liver oil, Fish Oil, Omega 3 vitamins, or Sardines
Pediatric Eczema by Randall Neustaedter OMD
Natural Health Newsletter
Eczema Treatment for Children
Randall Neustaedter OMD
Excerpt from the forthcoming book The Holistic Baby Guide: Alternative Care for Common Health Problems (New Harbinger Publications, 2010).
The treatment of eczema usually requires a holistic perspective that includes nutritional supplements and other specific therapies to reduce inflammation and support the immune system. Since a majority of the immune system function occurs in the intestines it is essential that the integrity of the digestive tract be nourished and maintained in these babies. A healthy balance of intestinal bacteria and a healthy gut lining are important. And supplementing with a probiotic is always a good idea. Your baby needs the right kinds of fatty acids, and a baby with eczema may have a disorder that needs additional fat supplementation. Taking a holistic approach to treatment provides relief of inflammation and itching while building a stable immune system that is less reactive. This will make your baby less sensitive to the irritants in the environment or diet that trigger reactions. The goal of internal treatment of eczema is cure, the complete healing of the immune system disorder that lies at the root of this symptom complex.
Beneficial Fatty Acids
The omega-3 fat EPA in fish oil will help prevent inflammatory reactions. Any child with eczema should be taking a fish oil supplement. In addition, the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) has been proven beneficial for children with eczema. Some studies have shown that the metabolism of essential fatty acids is abnormal in people with eczema, resulting in low levels of GLA. These children are thought to have a deficiency of the enzyme that converts linoleic acid to GLA resulting in a deficiency of GLA (Horrobin, 2000). Supplementation with GLA has proven effective in the treatment of eczema in adults (Andreassi, 1997) and in infants (Fiocchi, 1994). Supplementing infants with GLA who were at high risk of eczema because of a family history also reduced the severity of later eczema in these children (Van Gool, 2003). GLA is available as a supplement derived from borage seed oil or evening primrose oil. The dosage of GLA in clinical studies ranged from 100 mg. to 3 grams GLA per day.
Healing the Gut
Doing stool tests by a thorough lab such as Genova, Metametrix, or Diagnos-Techs through your baby's health care provider can yield important information about the health of the digestive tract in babies. These tests can detect yeast growth, levels of beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, problems with absorption, and the presence of inflammation, all of which can be treated with holistic methods.
The two strains of beneficial lactobacillus bacteria that seem to have the greatest effect in ameliorating eczema in clinical studies are L reuteri and L rhamnosus GG). Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of these probiotics when given to mothers during pregnancy and to children with eczema. Children treated with Lactobacillus reuteri had a significant reduction of eczema at two years of age (Abrahamsson, 2007). And in another study the combination of L reuteri and L rhamnosus showed significant improvement in children's eczema compared to a comparable control group (Rosenfeldt, 2003). A follow-up study determined that the improvement of eczema symptoms in those children who used this combination of probiotics was associated with an improvement in the integrity of the intestinal barrier. These children had a decrease in measured permeability of the intestinal lining, which has been associated with leaky gut and the production of antibodies to ingested proteins (Rosenfeldt, 2004). The product Primadophilus Reuteri by Nature's Way provides both probiotics, L reuteri and L rhamnosus.
Eczema is often complicated by digestive problems, and addressing the digestive component may be an important step in the healing process for these babies. As you will see later in this book, creating a strong immune system means also maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
Immune System Supplements
Maintaining a healthy immune system depends upon adequate amounts of vitamin D, either from sun exposure or supplementation. Babies should receive 1,000 IU of vitamin D in a supplement during the winter months when exposure to the sun is limited. Toddlers and older children should take 2,000 IU per day.
Another important supplement, especially for babies that are not breastfed, is colostrum, or the beneficial active constituents of colostrum (especially the anti-inflammatory glycoprotein lactoferrin), alpha lactalbumin, and important immunoglobulins. These are available through fresh cow's colostrum, powdered colostrum, or various supplement preparations. If babies have any sensitivity to cow's milk, then colostrum is contraindicated.
Chinese herbs and acupuncture
Babies are hot. They are prone to conditions of excess heat and inflammation, especially if these are triggered by specific stresses that push their systems in this direction. Eczema is an inflammatory reaction, and categorized as a damp heat condition in Chinese medicine. In different children there may be more or less heat (redness, dryness, itching) or dampness (secretions, moist skin). And the treatment may vary accordingly. Of course, the picture may be complicated by other factors as well, including digestive system weakness and respiratory problems, all of which will need to be treated with an inclusive perspective.
Several Chinese herbal formulas have been manufactured specifically for babies to ameliorate these conditions. The preeminent formulas are produced by Chinese Modular Solutions (available through Kan Herb, www.kanherb.com). Fire Fighter is a Chinese formula in the Gentle Warrior pediatric series. It is specifically designed to treat the heat and dampness of childhood eczema, and perfectly safe to use for babies. The dosage may vary depending on the weight of your baby and the severity of symptoms. Fire Fighter is a liquid extract and can also be combined with other formulas depending on your baby's individual needs. For example, when leaky gut and digestive disturbances accompany or precede the skin problems, then the formula Grow and Thrive may be indicated to strengthen the digestive and immune system component of your baby's symptom picture. If other related respiratory problems are also involved, then specific formulas may be needed to treat the dampness and phlegm as well. Other manufacturers also have complementary formulas that can be utilized to treat specific symptom complexes and imbalances in your individual baby. An acupuncturist with training in pediatrics will be able to prescribe the correct herbal formula that will act curatively for your baby.
Acupuncture similarly has the ability to relieve heat and dampness. Typical points used in acupuncture treatment include the combination of SP 10, LI 11 and UB 17 to disperse heat, ST 40 to treat dampness, and ST 36 and SP6 to strengthen digestive function. These points, and others, can be stimulated with needles or other noninvasive methods (laser, magnets). Many acupuncturists will also use a nonspecific form of tonification treatment known as Sho-Ni Shin, which involves rubbing the acupuncture channels with short rhythmic strokes in the direction of the channel flow. These acupuncture techniques when combined with herbal treatment will have a palliative effect on symptoms of itching and inflammation, as well as building the strength of the system and healing imbalance.
A constitutional homeopathic medicine prescribed by a qualified homeopath can act miraculously in babies. This may be the one factor that provides an intense boost to healing in your baby. Acute medicines will do little for eczema, since this is an internal problem that requires a deep acting medicine. This is not a condition for home prescribing. The constitutional medicine is chosen on the basis of the total symptom picture, taking into account genetic predispositions and your baby's temperament, unique characteristics, and physical symptoms.
Parents, however, should be cautious about using a homeopathic medicine as the initial treatment step in eczema. Since eczema is such a volatile external condition, it is possible for a homeopathic constitutional medicine to cause a significant aggravation of the skin symptoms. Your baby's body is already expressing symptoms through an inflammation on the surface. Homeopathy works by providing a strong stimulus to healing. This may result in an even stronger effort by the body to expel toxins or move an energetic imbalance out of the body through the skin. I start treatment with immune system support and treatment of the inflammation first, then use a homeopathic medicine to boost the healing process.
Nutritional Supplements for Eczema
Gamma linolenic Acid (GLA)
Probiotics (including L reuteri and L rhamnosus)
Vitamin D (1,000 IU)
See also: Laundry Issues
since delicate newborn skin may react to dry cleaning fluid or
even ordinary household laundry products.
Dermatology Atlas - section on Neonatal Dermatology
Differential Diagnosis Tool
ERYTHEMA TOXICUM NEONATORUM
They have a complete section on Neonatal Dermatology.
Erythema toxicum must be distinguished from more serious vesiculopustular eruptions of the newborn including staphylococcal pustulosis, (another staph photo), herpes simplex, varicella, (another varicella photo), candidiasis, and listeriosis.
Transient neonatal pustular melanosis looks a lot like herpes.
Flora of Humans is a helpful adjunctive site.
There's a really easy way to remove chlorine and chloramine from
your baby's bath water - add
vitamin C to the bath water.
Baby Acne from The Holistic Baby Guide, Randall Neustaedter OMD
Just when you thought everything was going well with your beautiful new baby and all the relatives are coming into town for a visit, she starts breaking out in pimples. Around two to three weeks of age about 20 percent of babies start to break out with red bumps or whiteheads on the face and neck. There are several theories regarding the cause of acne in babies. These pimples may occur because of changes in maternal hormones during late pregnancy or the withdrawal of estrogen after your baby's birth. This temporary imbalance of male and female hormones may stimulate the oil glands in the skin. One study showed a correlation between the mother's level of sebaceous gland activity and her baby's secretion of sebum in these same glands, suggesting a correlation between baby acne and maternal hormones (Henderson, 2000).
Some studies have shown that a majority of infants with acne have a type of yeast growth on their skin, either Malassezia furfur (Rapelanoro, 1997) or Malassezia saprodialis (Bernier, 2002). But others have found no association with this form of yeast and the degree of severity of acne in infants (Ayhan, 2007).
Regardless of the causes, baby acne is a harmless condition that will fade away by the time your baby is 3 to 4 months old, though it can come and go over this period of time. No specific treatment is needed for these pimples.
Giving your baby a bifidobacteria probiotic supplement may be
helpful for its anti-inflammatory effect, and mothers who take an
omega-3 fish oil supplement will transfer these fats to their
babies through breast milk with the same effect. Babies who are
fed formula should always be supplemented with fish oil.
If a baby has inflammation centered around the anus, consider
that this is probably a "gut reaction" to something the baby is
"eating", which really means to something the breastfeeding mother
is eating. This is often citrus or vitamin C
supplements. Some babies will react to any fruit juices or
just non-organic fruit juices. So, it may be best for the
breastfeeding mother to back off all fruit juices for a few days
to see if the baby's rash gets better; if it does, try gradually
adding organic apple juice and gradually expand to other juices
until the rash returns - thus you've identified the culprit.
Medline plus has good images of Erythema
of Rash Illness.
Rash Care and Management [Medscape registration is free]
Skin Rashes from © American Institute for Preventive
You might try the Better
Cream from Northern Essence (on this page, scroll
down). The only medication is the grapefruit seed extract,
which seems to kill off the yeasties. I apply it liberally and at
every diaper change, and a yeasty rash is usually gone in a few
review of the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of
irritant diaper dermatitis.
Curr Med Res Opin. 2004 May;20(5):645-9.
Irritant diaper dermatitis (IDD) is a form of contact
dermatitis occurring in the diaper area as a consequence of
disruption of the barrier function of the skin through prolonged
contact with faeces and urine. Despite advances in diaper
technology, it is a condition that still occurs regularly in young
children. To combat this, barrier preparations can be used to
protect the skin by coating the surface of the skin and/or by
supplying lipids that can penetrate the intercellular spaces of
the stratum corneum. In this review, the pathophysiology of IDD is
outlined and its prevention and treatment are discussed, with
particular reference to the role of emollients.
Great article on Skin
Find the latest Neonatal
Dermatology sites from Alta Vista
Natren produces a probiotic product designed specifically for
Start is made with Bifidobacterium infantis - the beneficial
bacteria which is most necessary during infancy. This can be
beneficial for newborn thrush, newborn diarhea or diaper rash.
Newborn Fever May Be Urinary Tract
Urged To Treat Ear Infections More Cautiously - [2/25/13] -
And he says there are some real downsides to using antibiotics
when they're not necessary: They can cause upset stomachs,
allergic reactions and other problems. And they can contribute to
the development of superbugs — infections that are getting harder
and harder to cure.
"The bacteria that do survive the antibiotic get tough, and next time you get an ear infection or any other type of infection, they're harder to manage," Rosenfeld says.
The first thing the new guidelines say is: Make sure the child really has an ear infection.
"There are dozens of reasons an ear can hurt," Rosenfeld says. "In this guideline we say, 'Listen, if you're not sure of the diagnosis, don't even think about giving an antibiotic. Please, don't even think about it.' "
The only way to know for sure is to take a close look at the eardrum and see if it is clearly bulging.
Antibiotics not best for ear infections -
The pain in the ear infec. with the acidophilus will stop right
when you put it in. I guess I didn't make myself very clear on
that. It will do the same for the sore throat. I do like your
recipe though, it is similar to my garlic oil recipe sounds like.
The baby is about 6 weeks old and has an umbilical hernia that
has become increasingly noticeable in the last couple of weeks.
It's now a good 1.5 cm in diameter and sticks out quite
impressively when the baby is crying.
Last I heard...leave them alone for 5 years....if not resolved,
I had an umbilical hernia. My elder son has one too. Mine went by
the time I was two, he is 6.5 and it shows no signs of going away.
When he's big (i.e., 16) he can decide what he wants to do about
One of my daughters had a baby with a giant umbilical hernia --
it actually looked like a penis coming out of her stomach. Rather
awful to look at... and her pediatrician told her to just leave it
alone. Now at 7 months, my granddaughter's belly button looks
Hi, my son who is now 17 had one about that size. It got worse
before it got better. We did nothing. The peds said we could put a
belt on it if it made us feel better, but that it probably
wouldn't make a difference, so I didn't bother. I think that they
wait until age 5 or 6 to do surgery, unless there are symptoms of
incarceration (extremely rare!). Now an inguinal hernia is a
different cup of tea entirely
New parents have a 5-week newborn who grunts loudly while
sleeping and when she needs a bm, nothing else going on, just
keeping these new parents awake at night. Any ideas?
I had a full term baby who grunted like that. The
pediatrician said that the cartilage in the trachea was not fully
developed, and every time baby inhaled and nursed, the trachea
would partially collapse. He grew out of it, several months
later. Maybe this is a later stage of the same problem. It
was an uncommon but normal variant of baby physiology
One of our newborns made was grunting; it sounded like he was
trying to sing or something. The pediatrician said it sounds
like a 'soft' airway - the cartilage in the trachea can remain
quite soft for a while, and sometimes that causes that sound -
there's nothing to be done but wait for him to grow. He says if it
gets worse, or starts distressing him, we'll take another look,
but he should be fine.
I wonder if there is a form of Tracheal Laryngeal Malacia which
would be heard only during sleep or with BMs. Last year one
of mine was diagnosed with it, but he was breathing noisily
(stridor) all the time. He has outgrown it now (the usual
outcome). It is simply unusually soft cartilage supporting
the windpipe that tends to partially collapse, though ordinarily
baby is still able to maintain adequate oxygenation. It is
not seen immediately at the birth, but starts several days or
I also had a baby with tracheal malacia who had a apneic episode
at about 4 weeks old that required hospitalization but after that
was observed at home with an apneic monitor. Similar sx --
episodic grunting with one episode that was a doozy!
Many babies make wheezing noises in dry weather, when their
little nasal passages are so easily clogged by dried mucous.
My clients have raved about the AIR-O-SWISS Humidifiers.
I recently had a mum whom I referred to a pediatrician for a check-up for two vessel cord. (otherwise healthy) While there, he noted that the baby had "conjuctivitis" and prescribed antibiotic drops. Well, this is a welfare mum, who didn't have a drug card for baby yet, so she asked me if I could give her more erythromycin ointment. I looked at the eye, I thought, sticky eye, no real conjuctivitis, (eye was not red, or inflamed, no fever of baby etc.) I suggested tear duct massage and breastmilk in the eye.
We have always been told in LLL that drops of breastmilk help clear up the sticky eye thing that happens with babies. Sorry - not getting real Technical. Basically it is the secretory IgA antibodies that are in breastmilk that help clear the gunk from the babies eye. Maybe reminding him these antibodies are there, in abundance in the early weeks especially, will remind him of how helpful it can be
Paraphrased from the Womanly Art of breastfeeding Pg.348-356:
Breastmilk IS living tissue - with live antibodies, live
white blood cells and active macrophages, all of which have
significant roles in fighting foreign protein (bacteria and
viruses). This is why fresh BM makes such great nose drops and eye
"The sensitivity of Staphylococcus aureus to term colostrum was
50 per cent and to mature milk 0. Coliform organisms had a
sensitivity of 57 per cent to colostrum and 28 per cent to mature
In Ontario the midwife is the primary caregiver for mom and baby until 6 wks.
Baby, wt, measurements, listen to heart, exam abd for masses,
check hips (important as birth exam can be false dt maternal
hormones) Also assess for developmental changes, i.e. smiling,
head control etc.
The subsection on Vaccinations has been moved
to its own page.
I cut up a couple of old receiving blankets into little squares
with pinking shears (or hem) and put them into one of those little
square Tupperware sandwich containers with a little water and mild
soap. Instant, portable baby wipes, than I would just throw the
little squares in with my cloth diapers to wash.
One of my babes had famously delicate skin -- sensitive to everything: and I didn't dare use packaged diaper wipes on him. In an old health care book I discovered how to make oil soap. I put it in a carrying bottle with a strong flip top, and simply used it like diaper wipes, pouring a little on a rag or tissue when needed. Cleans well, no rinsing, always available, and leaves the skin soft.
The recipe is simple, I don't think the portions are crucial, (at least I played around with them quite a bit). Mix about a cup of oil (almond, or other good stable oil) into a container, with several tablespoons of anhydrous lanolin, (an egg whip works well to mix), then pour into a good pop top or squeeze bottle.
You can also use vegetable shortening, or even zinc oxide cream as the thickener...Use more or less till you get the right consistency -- like a thick lotion. This may sound odd, but all soap is simply oil or fat with an alkalizing agent added... this is just primitive, back to basics, soap.
PS You can add calendula (either oil or tincture) to the mix...
or other "healing'" herbs.
The best recommendations below are for the mom to increase her
intake of biotin to 1000 mcg daily and to use breastmilk on the
scalp. There is not a lot of research on the subject, and
different sources proclaim that oil is definitely helpful, and
others say that it is definitely not helpful. What's a
mother to do?!?
What’s the best treatment for cradle cap? - Evidence-based answers from the Family Physicians Inquiries Network - they recommend some fairly harsh shampoos and mineral oil. Even if it works to improve the cradle cap, it's hard to imagine that it's actually good for the baby.
Cradle Cap from Ask Dr. Sears - Use baby oil or olive oil to soften the thick crusts. Rub it in with your finger, let the oil soak in for 15-30 minutes, then gently remove the crusts with a soft toothbrush. Wash the oil out immediately. This is very important, leaving the oil in too long can cause his whole face to break out in a rash.
One of my clients was inspired to try using breastmilk for cradle
cap, and she said it worked beautifully and was a lot less messy
than the oils.
from Linda Page's book, Healthy Healing (This is the most valuable holistic health reference book I've seen for non-professionals.)
"If you're nursing, avoid refined sugar which supports bacteria and yeast. Use Nature's Path FLORA-LYTE, or BABYLIFE by Solaray for infants to foster healthy flora. Massage scalp with vitamin E, olive oil or jojoba oil or Earth Mama Angel Baby BOTTOM BALM for 5 minutes. Leave on 30 minutes, then brush scalp with soft baby brush and shampoo with tea tree or aloe vera shampoo. Repeat twice weekly. Apply comfrey root tea to infant's scalp or dry skin area, and let air dry. Symptoms usually disappear within 10 days. Cradle cap may be a biotin deficiency. Take biotin 1000mcg while nursing; the baby will receive the necessary amount through breast milk."
[Ed: If you have any herbal Sitz Bath herbs, you could try that
instead of the plain comfrey root to make the tea.]
We used warmed olive oil on DD both for dry skin and cradle cap
(left on overnight for cradle cap). Her cradle cap had been
really bad but cleared within 2 days and made her skin lovely.
Use burt's bees apricot baby oil, and scrub it into the scalp
with a scrub brush, then use some shampoo and scrub, then rub the
oil on again and leave it. I have NEVER seen cradle cap go
away so fast as when I used this method! I spent days
picking off flakes (okay, I would even use tweezers, that's how
obsessive I was, LOL) and after doing the oil scrub twice, no more
Make sure you are using a soap that isn't animal based (like
ivory and such) because it doesn't wash off well. Dr Bronners baby
soap is great stuff to wash with and a bargain for how much you
There are various types of Cradle
Cap Oil available online.
Weleda baby soap with calendula got rid of mine.
Cradle Cap from The Holistic Baby Guide, Randall Neustaedter OMD
If your baby has dry flakes on her scalp, or unsightly yellow and oily scales, it's cradle cap. This is a harmless condition otherwise known as infantile seborrheic dermatitis. Regardless of its name, cradle cap can be annoying and it can be persistent, even into the toddler years and beyond. Can you get rid of it? Usually not by rubbing it off. And because it is already oily, the common practice of coating it with oil and trying to rub it off may make it worse.
Like other skin conditions in children a problem with conversion of essential fatty acids may have a role in cradle cap. One of these essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, may not be converted to gamma linoleic acid (GLA), because of an enzyme deficiency. GLA is important for healthy skin function. There is some evidence that suggests a temporary deficiency of this enzyme is associated with cradle cap in infants (Tollesson, 1993a). Supplementing babies with GLA is an important part of their treatment. GLA is available in the supplemental forms of borage oil or evening primrose oil. Applying borage oil directly to the scalp can also be beneficial (Tollesson 1993b).
Other external applications may help. In a study of patients with seborrheic dermatitis an extract of aloe vera applied to the scalp proved effective in relief of symptoms in 62 percent of the treatment group compared to improvement in only 25 percent of the control group using a placebo cream (Vardy, 1999).
For breastfed babies you can try also try eliminating foods from
your diet that may have a role in allergic reactions as well. One
study found an improvement in infants' cradle cap when their
mothers eliminated allergenic foods (especially milk, wheat, and
eggs) from their diets (Eppig, 1971).
Cradle cap is associated with a biotin deficiency. The
breastfeeding mom can increase biotin supplementation.
What do people think about the Karp book/video - "Happiest Baby
on the Block"?
If this is the one about "shh-ing" the baby by swaddling and
rapid movements, Roberta Scaer (A Good Birth, A Safe Birth) has
seen the video and thinks the babies aren't calming. They are
shutting down in response to trauma the way they do after, say,
circumcision. There is also a group for "shaken baby syndrome"
that has extreme concern about his technique. Karp openly
acknowledges their opposition and says that his technique poses no
threat if the parents are gentle in their movements.
I find the "shushing" too loud and too harsh, especially for
just-born babies who may still have a little bit of headache from
I'll admit I have mixed feelings about Karp's recommendations, mostly because I sometimes see them implemented in an overly enthusiastic, almost aggressive manner. And because some parents try these techniques on a just-born baby, whose discomfort may be a "birth hangover" and who will be caused further pain by very active movement.
AND . . . the API just came out with a positive review.
AND . . . I just had a seven-month visit with parents who have been doing this from the start, and their baby sure seems like the happiest baby on the block, not like one who's been continually shut down.
I don't know much about Roberta Scaer's qualifications, other
than her excellent book. Is she a specialist in perinatal
psychology? Does anyone know what APPPAH thinks about all
this? I just searched their web pages and didn't find
anything about Karp; I'll check with a specialist friend and see
what she knows about this.
This book is frequently discussed in my mom/baby groups. As
with ALL parenting options, a little common sense goes a long
way. My biggest gripe with the techniques is the frequent
use of a pacifier - often before parents are SURE b/f is going
well 1st. Other than that, I have never seen a "jiggle" hard
enough to put me in fear of "shaken baby syndrome" for the baby of
anyone using this technique. I also like that the parents
are a part of the solution, as opposed to the "cry it out" methods
of Ezzo, etc etc etc, in which parents remove themselves from the
picture and hope to goodness they all live through the "cure."
See also: Gut Flora
Silent reflux is common in infants because their sphincters are undeveloped, they have a shorter esophagus, and they lie down much of the time. Jeanne Batacan provides a nice handout that shows breastfeeding positions that can reduce reflux. It may be important to angle the baby's sleeping position, too.
From a local chiropractor / naturopath:
In a word: Probiotics!
Particularly, at 2 months old, they need some types of the Bifidobacterium strain. The simplest solution would likely be for them to be started on Jarrow Formula Baby Jarro-Dophilus +FOS. Dose: ¼ tsp in each of their formula once a day.
The Zantac is not a good idea at all! This H2 histamine blocker decreases production of the stomach$Bs (Bhydrochloric acid (HCL). HCL is particularly necessary for digestion of B-vitamins (including folate) and proteins, as well as other nutrients, and for proper preliminary digestion and absorption processes throughout the GI tract. In a developing child, it is a very bad idea to interfere with the body$Bs (Bproduction of HCL. In particular, HCL impairment is associated with higher levels of the pathogen Clostridium histolyticum , an associated factor in Autism. Some recent research articles point to significant long-term damage done by these drugs on the functioning of the GI tract in adults, and in children.
Some of my scientific-referenced articles can be accessed on this topic in my blog. Also in the $(Car(Bticles$(D (B section, see the $(Cne(Bwsletter archives for additional peer-reviewed referenced articles. These can be found through my website homepage if you$Bd (Blike to look through the many articles and information from my homepage (www.HolisticHealthBayArea.com).
Those particularly related to the topic at hand can be accessed at the links below:
WHAT IT IS; WHAT TO DO; FAQ's from Dr. Sears
reflux from the Mayo Clinic
Ask if she is using a "nursing pillow". Often the baby ends
up feeding in a horizontal position, and as the article notes,
baby's head should be above the feet. In my classes I
suggest mothers try and keep baby in about a 45 degree angle - and
with biological positioning, the baby is automatically in a good
position. Frequent feedings and skin to skin was also suggested
and is also part of biological nurturing practices.
Reducer (from Physician
Engineered Products) holds baby in the recommended 30
degree head-up/face down position after
meals. As I like to say . . . no shortage of creativity!
Much of the information on my Colic article (from HerbLore) is also applicable to reflux. Many of my clients have gotten really great results with the recommendations listed within the article, as well as our Tummy Tea or Tincture.
Keep in mind that the medications used to lower stomach acid are just a band-aid. We need stomach acid to help with proper digestion and absorption of the vitamins and minerals present in food. Without it (or when taking medications to reduce this acid), we're not getting the nutrients from our food like we should. This is why it's commonly suggested for people on these medications to take a multi-vitamin supplement every day.
Mint (all kinds of mint) are known to relax the sphincter that
closes off the stomach from the esophagus, allowing the stomach
acid to escape upwards causing reflux. So I would suggest to
this mom to eliminate all mint from her diet along with the
suggestions to keep her babe propped up as much as she can.
And then sometimes, they just have to outgrow it. Hopefully
some of the suggestions will help though.
I had a baby with a good deal of reflux, sometimes projectile. It didn't bother her at all, except that she would then be hungry again real soon after losing her milk w/in minutes of drinking it! I became VERY CAREFUL about burping her after feedings:
first, burp the baby more often than usual--even before s/he is finished on one side.
second, burp the baby VERY GENTLY: for my daughter, all I would do is sit her up, with one hand on back and one in front, trying to keep her back straight without putting too much pressure on her gut (weight more on chest and chin). I never patted her back to make the bubble rise, would just wait patiently for a minute or two, keeping her still and me relaxed. She always burped gently but thoroughly in this position.
Once we got the hang of this, she pretty much stopped
vomiting...and by the time she was a few months old, she stopped
being so sensitive to bubbles in her tummy. It did make night
nursing a bit more hassle; couldn't just nurse and roll over back
to sleep. Had to wake up enough to sit up to nurse, and then
do the burping right, tho this was preferable to sleeping in the
milk all over me and the sheets (as if my perpetual leaking wasn't
wet enough). And like I said, it worked itself out soon, and
this girl is now 26 with never a digestive problem since. I think
of this issue as part of some baby's development--not exactly a
real valve issue, just stomach mechanics that are still learning
how to do what they do.
We had a mom who went to a kinesiologist/chiropractor for
something similar and the mom was diagnosed with food allergies.
The baby wasn't allergic, but the mom mal-processed the (in
this case) wheat which made her breastmilk irritating to her
baby. Once she eliminated the allergen from her diet, her baby
calmed down, ate well, and eliminated all other signs of reflux
like the arching back and dislike of sitting up.
I have DGST by Chirozyme (available from Chiropractors) or
Therazyme from health food stores. Same product. Vegi
based enzymes one capsule 2-3 times a day mixed with water.
Use an eye dropper or medicine baby spoon. Usually will not need
after 6 weeks. I have great results with this product.
One of my clients had a Russian mother-in-law who showed us this
trick to resolve baby vomiting: she did this little trick that
amounted to a gentle downward dip several times after each feeding
- it stopped the vomiting flat. Might be worth a try.
We were always taught as long as the baby is gaining weight and
does not seem uncomfortable then leave it alone, just keep baby
upright after meals for an hour or so and make sure to burp well.
It is simply an immature sphincter and should improve as the baby
One of my clients reported that her children held their upper ear
when stressed or sleeping. This may be a self-calming
acupressure technique that you can teach your baby.
This subsection has been moved to its own page: Colic
Hinder Walking for Babies - [1/23/13] A new study finds that
diapers, both disposable and cloth, impede walking for babies
Go naked: diapers affect infant walking.
Cole WG, Lingeman JM, Adolph KE.
Dev Sci. 2012 Nov;15(6):783-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01169.x. Epub 2012 Sep 7.Source
In light of cross-cultural and experimental research highlighting effects of childrearing practices on infant motor skill, we asked whether wearing diapers, a seemingly innocuous childrearing practice, affects infant walking. Diapers introduce bulk between the legs, potentially exacerbating infants' poor balance and wide stance. We show that walking is adversely affected by old-fashioned cloth diapers, and that even modern disposable diapers - habitually worn by most infants in the sample - incur a cost relative to walking naked. Infants displayed less mature gait patterns and more missteps and falls while wearing diapers. Thus, infants' own diapers constitute an ongoing biomechanical perturbation while learning to walk. Furthermore, shifts in diapering practices may have contributed to historical and cross-cultural differences in infant walking.
Most important, they say, is an increased emotional bond with the baby, forged by the need for the parent to pick up on subtle signs and act on them quickly. Proponents of the practice use the phrase "elimination communication."T. Berry Brazelton: "I'm all for it, except I don't think many people can do it," he said of elimination communication. "The thing that bothers me about it is today, probably 80 percent of women don't have that kind of availability." [Ed.: Yes, this is the crux of the matter. Parents do not have the time to take proper care of their children; instead, they leave them sitting in their own excrement, the very thing many people most fear about growing old and living untended in a nursing home.]
"It is enhancing that interaction and closeness, the intimacy between baby and mother," said Thomas Ball, a psychologist in California who is helping develop a documentary about the technique.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, in its current "Toilet Training" pamphlet, says children have no control over bladder or bowel movements when they are younger than a year and little control for six months afterwards. [Ed.: I've had a number of parents tell me that their babies would cry until they were taken to the diaper changing table, which was the closest they could come to "the correct place" to eliminate. This shows a significant control over bladder and bowel function. This statement about lack of control may be true of babies who were drugged at birth and so still under narcotic influence for the first few weeks of their lives as their immature livers process out the toxins.]
Dr. Mark Wolraich, author of the academy''s Guide to Toilet
Training: "The risk is, if it's not working and the parents are
frustrated, they're creating more negative interactions with their
child." [Ed.: This is true of ALL parent-child interactions,
including breastfeeding, bottle feeding, diapering and even
DiaperFreeBaby is a
network of free support groups promoting a natural approach of
responding to babies' elimination needs.
Journey to Elimination Communication - Hannah tells the
story of her "late start" with ds and EC'ing her second since
and a Baby’s Bottom by Sarah J Buckley, MD. May 2001
Joining Elimination Communication: Babies Without Diapers at SmartGroups.com
The following group may be defunct?
Elimination Communication E-Mail List - http:
Infant Potty Training Web Ring!
- Infant potty training is about a method of toilet training that
involves close communication with your baby. The best time to
start is in early infancy. The three big winners are baby,
parent(s) and the environment.
DIAPER FREE! The Gentle
Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer - website
Trickle Treatby Laurie Boucke - this is a surprisingly comprehensive book on the subject, providing lots of information and some really helpful personal narratives.
Potty Training Babies by Laurie Boucke - "As hard as
it is for Westerners to believe, the process of infant potty
training is a very simple and cozy one, used in many countries
around the world."
Diaperless! - An Introduction to an Effective and Enjoyable
Toilet-learning Method From Infancy
I am completely overcome with awe and admiration and hope at what I've read about Elimination Communication. I was first introduced to the concept while reading The Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce, but I assumed this was something that could happen only in another place or another time. Now I've had the good fortune of being introduced to the reality of EC here and now.
I am just blown away. I am agog. I feel like a blithering idiot.
When I first read about EC in The Magical Child, I interpreted the communication as a sort of psychic phenomenon, as I do believe that mothers and babies share a richer communication channel than most human beings. Then, after hearing about EC earlier in the evening, I spent some time poking around the web and came across the Go Organic, Baby! site and the Elimination Communication Station:
Whoa! Reality Check! Is a mother's ability to know when her baby is hungry a psychic phenomenon? I feel like such an idiot for having been so blind all these years. I am so overwhelmed with the beauty and sensitivity of the above web page in particular (I haven't had a chance to read the rest, yet). I feel so blessed to have had my eyes opened today.
P.S. I'm copying this to Mothering Magazine - I would love to see them do a short piece on the subject. Maybe other folks on this list would want to drop them a line, too?
Many of us have gone through the same experience of having felt blind for not seeing baby's signals all these years. I only discovered this method in time to use with my third child.
About Mothering Magazine - For 10-15 years, Mothering has
rejected this method, each time with a different excuse. Let's
hope they have a change of heart. As far as I know, the hostess of
this site (who also set up the other one you visited) may be the
only one yet to have managed to get this topic mentioned in
Mothering -- via a Letter to the editor.
I believe this whole diaperless thing is just one small step to
making a Whole person.
I can't say how much I agree with this - the experience of a totally naked baby is VERY different for the baby and the parents. A diaper basically anesthetizes the child's genitals and butt - they're not touched, they feel uncomfortable in a wet diaper, they're cut off. And parents treat the diapered baby as if the genitals are not sensitive areas (holding baby straddled over arm etc.) without the baby getting any normal casual touch on butt or belly either.
Another issue is little boys with intact foreskins. My son
could retract his foreskin by 25 mos or so - really early for an
american boy. He won't have problems with adhesions or
retraction - and this is because he could GET TO his penis when
ever he wanted (which of course is often LOL). I have read
so many stories of mothers with intact boys whose foreskins are
partially adhered and causing urine to spray embarrassingly, or
erections to be uncomfortable....and since western dr's know zip
about the intact penis, of course they recommend CUTTING THE
Friends for life....new babies and pets DO mix !
Introducing Your Pet and New Baby from the Humane Society
Some of my clients introduced me to the use of a fingernail smoothing block, available at beauty supply stores. They said sometimes they used it along the ridge of the nails and sometimes they used it across the nail, depending on which seemed to work better in the moment.
I have seen it. Breasts got pretty dang big, peaked out at about
three weeks or so and were pretty much gone by 6 weeks.
Files, Outlines, and Guidelines from neonatology.org
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