Using herbs on your newborn is a wonderful, safe way to help with those little issues that are common with new babies. Not only does it make you feel good to know that you have the ability to help your little one’s body through some minor difficulties all on it’s own, but it makes you feel good to know that you aren’t giving your baby something that’s going to harm or bring toxins into your baby’s brand new little body.
Thankfully herbs are easy to learn about and use, but learning is the first step. Your confidence in your abilities and the herbs abilities to treat your little ones will grow over time as you work and practice with them.
Let me also say here that I’m in NO WAY saying to skip the doctor and use herbs instead when your baby is really sick. If you need to see a medical professional, by all means go.
What I am saying is that many times you can use herbs to help your baby feel better and recover from something minor without needing to make a trip to see the doctor.
Today, I want to talk about some common issues that newborn babies may experience as well as 5 easy to come by herbs that you should be sure to have on hand to help you manage these issues when you have a newborn in your home.
Minor Newborn Health Issues
Newborn babies, as perfect and pure as they may be, don’t come with a users manual and sometimes they have their fair share of issues. Not that I remember, but I’d say it’s tough being born into this world! Squished, handled, and every part of your body messed with. Good grief!
Below you’ll find some common issues you may have to deal with when it comes to newborns and each of these things can be dealt with at home along side some good, natural herbal remedies to help you through the process.
Umbilical Cord Care
Caring for a newborns unbilical cord for the first few weeks doesn’t seem like such a big deal to this seasoned mama, but I remember it being a bigger deal when it was my first baby. They can bleed, they can get infected, you’re not supposed to get it wet, you’re supposed to put rubbing alcohol on it, you’re not supposed to put rubbing alcohol on it… who knows what they say now.
The point is to keep it clean, keep it dry, and let it fall off on it’s own. Herbs can help you through this process.
I use calendula and comfrey tea with a tiny bit of castile soap in it. Calendula is an antimicrobial herb, comfrey is healing to the tissues, and the soap helps to keep it clean and dry it out without over-drying it or getting it too wet where bacteria will grow. Simply mix everything together, dip a cotton-swab in it, and gently swab around baby’s cord at diaper changes.
I think every single one of my babies has been born with a tear duct that was blocked. This resulted in a goopy eye that would sometimes get a bit swollen in the corner. As a first-time mom, I was a bit concerned. Now, it’s not a big deal as I know that it’s a very common thing among newborns, and I know how to deal with it using a simper herbal wash.
Eyebright is my go-to herb for this although you can use several others. All I do is make an eyebright infusion, dip a cotton ball in it, and rub baby’s eye with it several times a day. I try to drip just a bit of the tea into the corner of the eye and massage that area a bit. Within 4-6 days, it’s usually opened up and we have no more goopy eyes!
Gas is a common occurrence in newborns whether they’re breastfed or bottle-fed. A new baby’s digestive system is just waking up and getting used to drinking milk and processing it all. This can result in uncomfortable gas for them and lots of crying.
A great herbal combo that helps with gas is a catnip and fennel infusion. Both of these herbs are known for their help in this area, and on top of helping with gas, catnip is relaxing to baby and fennel tastes good so you won’t have much difficulty getting baby to take this.
What I do is squirt a dropperful of this infusion into baby’s mouth before each nursing session to help counteract any gas that may be caused from nursing incorrectly or from an immature digestive system.
I’ve, unfortunately, dealt with my fair share of thrush in my newborns. With my second, we got it once, got some meds because I had no clue how to treat it with herbs and got over it quickly. Fairly simple. With my third baby, we got it, went for the meds, it went away then came back so we got more meds. It went away again then came right back even worse than before. At this point I was really not sure why on earth I was giving my kid these drugs and finally decided to do some research. After being appalled that I’d given my baby these strong drugs and giving myself a stern lecture for being so lazy and not checked into this sooner I decided to get it together and finally deal with it naturally.
I bought a yeast cleanse for pregnant and nursing mamas for myself to take, and I made a strong herbal cream for babies bottom and mouth… and for me to put on before and after nursing to prevent passing it back and forth between baby and I. I also formulated an anti-fungal tea blend to make and give baby each day so that I wasn’t only treating the external thrush (in the mouth and on the bottom), but treating the internal yeast as well. Oh yeah, and baby got powdered probiotics before and after each nursing session.
Now treating thrush naturally can be a long, complicated matter. At least it was in my case. Maybe I’ll write a post on it sometime soon and include all the details about what I did.
But for now, garlic is a great and simple anti-fungal and something that most people have in their pantry. Simply infuse garlic into some coconut oil and add in a drop of lavender and tea tree essential oil after you’ve strained the garlic out. I’m not big on using essential oils internally, but when it comes to certain issues, I find value in it. Thrush is one of those dreadful issues. You can put this ointment on yourself before baby nurses, and you can rub it on their tongue and cheeks after they’re finished. You can even put it on their bums if they get a yeast diaper rash.
Diaper rash is another common newborn issue. Diaper rash is less common if you use cloth diapers, if you change diapers frequently, if baby’s bottom gets some air in between changes, and if you use a natural wipe solution or unscented, alcohol-free wipes during changes. No matter, some babies just get it.
If they do, you can use garlic, chamomile, and calendula to help. You can infuse these into an oil and make a salve or cream to use as a protective barrier for their skin or you can make an infusion with them and use it as a wash during each diaper change. Better yet, you can do both.
Cradle cap is another one of those bothersome newborn issues, but thankfully it’s easy to deal with. I should say that there are two thoughts on cradle cap, or so I’ve heard. One is that it cradle cap is a result of yeast and the other is that it’s due to overactive oil glands. I’ve not looked into the yeast thing too much, and I’ve found that the later is truer… at least with my kids.
Whenever my kids have developed cradle cap, and they almost always do, I simply infuse rosemary into some jojoba oil, strain it, and apply that oil to their head, letting it sit for several hours before washing their hair and gently combing the cradle cap out. Rosemary is stimulating to the scalp so it makes a great addition to this quick cradle cap remedy.
Lastly, many babies have issues when it comes to sleeping. Thankfully mine have all done well in this area, but it is common for babies to get their days and nights mixed up… sleeping most of the day and staying awake at night.
In my motherly opinion, this can be easily remedied by getting your baby on a good schedule/routine of trying to stay awake for brief periods of time during the day and doing your best to not stimulate them and help sooth them to sleep during nap times and bedtime.
But, if for some reason your child decides they wanna stay up all night, you can make a simple, safe herbal glycerite using chamomile, lavender, and catnip to help sooth them to sleep. Give baby half a dropperful before bed and then another half if they wake up to nurse at night.
So there you go!
8 simple herbs that you can use to help your new baby feel better quickly with zero side effects.