When our babies are sick, it's one of the saddest things to watch. We try to do everything we can to make them feel more comfortable and prevent future illness. It's especially hard when they are really little and aren't old enough for most medications, even some essential oils I've read can be too strong for their little bodies; however, there are mixed reviews on this topic.
I'm grateful for company's like Maty's who understand the importance of whole health. Their products are supreme, organic, and rich in pure ingredients. I don't have to worry about what's in them because it's very clearly stated. There's no BS, and that's hard to find!
READ YOUR LABELS
There are thousands of products on the market that claim to be "natural" or "healthy" and good for your baby. HOWEVER, I've learned to ALWAYS read the labels and sometimes do research on the company if I really want to know WHERE their ingredients are sourced and HOW they make their product. I've experienced this first hand and bought, what I thought were good products for baby and Kai, brought them home and came to discover they had chemicals and preservatives in them. I even bought them at our local health food store, Mother's. It just goes to show you, you have to be a good steward and READ THE LABELS INTENTLY AND NOT JUST THE FRONT OF THE PACKAGE.
SO HOW DO I CHOOSE A GOOD PRODUCT Banx, turned six-months-old and has his first sickness. It came on over a week ago and started with a runny and stuffy nose and turned into a "mild" bronchiolitis chest cough- says his pediatrician. We've been using the Maty's Baby Chest Rub which is safe even for babies three months and older. I can't tell you how grateful I am for this product because, as I've previously said, it's hard to come by a quality product that isn't full of junk, especially when we're talking babies under age one. This chest rub has helped clear up congestion. I even rub a little on the soles of his feet so it can get into his blood stream quickly. It is completely petroleum and menthol free, too!
Maty's went the extra mile and hired the renowned essential oil expert, Robert Tisserand, to analyze their formula for its safety and effectiveness. According to Mr. Tisserand, their baby chest rub contains safe levels of essential oils and can be used on babies three months and older. His research indicated that at their dilutions there has never been an adverse reaction reported.
Their other range of products are great for the entire family. I've been giving Kai, our five-year-old their Organic Mucus Cough Syrup to give him some relief at night as well. The below ingredient guide will help you choose safe and wholesome products for your family.
Maty's is FREE from the following ingredients:
Fragrances- A fragrance is made up of an undisclosed mixture of aroma ingredients that aren’t required to be listed on a label–so who knows what’s really in itINSTEAD: MATY'S USES: pure essential oils
Melatonin- when listed on products, it's a man-made synthetic. It’s even banned from being sold over the counter in other countries. INSTEAD: MATY'S USES: pure chamomile tea and nutmeg
Dairy- You'd be surprised how many commercial products contain non-fat milk (whaaaat?!), whey, casein, etc...
Gluten- YUP! We do our best to steer clear, for the most part, mainly because of the over processing and inflammation it can cause; thus, posing other potential problems.
Petroleum- Usually termed "mineral oil" or "baby oil". A known carcinogenic. Hmm... and it's in baby products?! Not Maty's! According to Environmental Working Group, 40% of all baby lotions and oils contain petrolatum. Petrolatum is a non-renewable hydrocarbon made from crude oil. Basically, your it won't allow your baby's skin to breathe and clogs the pores and slows down his little body's ability to release toxins. This NOT a joke! It has also been linked to cancer. Also, it is in a lot of commercial diapers, which when your little one goes potty, the petroleum can seep into their bloodstream.
Soy- his sneaky little legume is most always highly chemically processed- meaning most is grown with genetic modifications (GMO)In fact, "Many countries outside the US won’t accept US-grown soy because of carcinogenic chemicals used as herbicides and their genetically modified status. Research has shown that the phytoestrogens in soy may play a role in breast cancer, so it should be avoided by females. Raw soy flour is also known to cause pancreatic cancer in rats."
Mineral Oil- Found in most commercial baby oils like Johnson and Johnson. It's completely synthetic and foreign to our bodies- especially baby, and is a bi-product of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. Yikes! An unbiased study released by the Cancer Prevention Coalition in June 2002, contained the following: “Cancer and health experts just concluded reviews that indicate mainstream cosmetics and personal hygiene products including lotions, soaps and shampoos, pose the highest risk exposures to the general public.”
The term Natural is NOT regulated by the FDA. Don't be fooled! Many products labeled “natural” actually have petrochemicals in them.
***When grocery shopping, it's best to avoid Hydrogenated Oils. They are a man-made food additive, heated at high temperatures and then added hydrogen gas. Read more HERE: FACTS ABOUT HYDROGENATED FATS AND OILS and HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP AND HYDROGENATED OILS.
Click HERE for a full list of their pure ingredients.
I love the option of using Maty's like honey or maple syrup, which in our house is almost an everyday occurrence, and drizzling on our oatmeal, tea, pancakes or adding to our smoothies. I've never found a product that my child actually likes where I get to incorporate it into his everyday meals!
So germs aren't bad...necessarily. But what do we do when germs take over and how can we prevent sickness?
BEGIN AT HOME
Wash hands thoroughly- Especially if you have school age children or if your kids are in daycare. We make it a rule to wash hands right when Kai gets home from school. Don't go crazy with washing your hands as it can potentially strip your hands of good natural antibacterial properties. There should be moderation in everything.
Open a window- Keep a window or two open to air out your home or open a door if the weather permits. Breezy baby.
Avoid indoor germ breeding meccas- It may sound germaphobic, but when the flu is running rampant, it's probably best to steer clear of places like Target, grocery stores, and especially those indoor fun zone play areas. They are BAD NEWS! I think you get the drift...
Avoid sugar and processed foods- This pertains to the whole family but especially nursing mamas and kids since we are talking about how to keep everyone healthy. Remember, A HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM STARTS IN THE GUT.
Take some R&R- This can especially be important during Winter when the flu is more common. If your schedule is getting the best of you or if you see your kids becoming extra tired, run down, skipping naps, etc, then let them sleep in, go to bed early, postpone appointments and activities, and just lay low for a while.
Routine Cleaning using a good nontoxic cleaner- you can make your own or choose a brand that suits your lifestyle. I love Shaklee Basic G Concentrated Germacide. It's highly concentrated so a lot goes a long way. I use it for our kitchen, dining table, door knobs, bathrooms, and even add a drop or two in our laundry when viruses and bacteria seem to be galore! These germs usually show up on sheets and underwear. It works like a charm! I also suggest eco-friendly and natural brands such as:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
It's ok if your baby or child gets the flu, or cold, or an average virus/bacterial infection as, once they are well, it can boost their immune system. Also, a fever CAN be the result of some sort of infection and are typically not bad unless they exceed 102-105 for a couple days (If this is the case, please speak with your healthcare provider). In fact, fevers can actually help your child fight off infections.
NATURAL REMEDIES, TIPS AND TRICKS
The onion trick- Ok...call it urban legend/myth or not, I'll take pretty much any natural remedy I can get when it comes to potentially fighting off bacteria and viruses especially during flu season! The idea is you place an onion or two in a bowl in each room of the house and it will suck up bacteria and viruses. Mind you, there is no scientific evidence on this, but it's something my family does and seems to work for us! So hey, call us crazy, but when you are desperate to fight off germs...you will pretty much do anything, even if it involves sounding like a crazy person! Are you with me?!
Use one whole or 1/2 an onion
Simply chop one end of the onion
Place in a bowl and put in each room of the house
Replace every couple days
Garlic on soles of feet- I use organic peeled garlic to rub on the soles of my kiddos at any age. This is to assume your children are not allergic to garlic. Start off with a couple strokes to be sure. Use a humidifier- the rule of thumb is if your baby or child has a croupy cough or pneumonia, stick to cool mist. For any other sickness, go with warm steam. I'm using the Vicks Starry Night Cool Mist Humidifier. I got it at our local Rite Aid but you can get it on Amazon Prime HERE. Not sure why it doesn't have a good rating... we like it! (I DON'T USE THE VICKS FILTER, INSTEAD I USE ESSENTIAL OILS. Use a diffuser- essential oils have powerful antimicrobial properties. I've been using lemon, frankincense, and lavender on Banx. I still want to try thieves oil. Check out wellnessmama.com HERE for all you need to know about how to choose a diffuser. Love her! Take a bath or shower- while Banx has been sick, we've run the shower for longer and let him sit in the steam. It has helped immensely with loosening all the junk in his chest and has helped get rid of the snot in his nose. It also is soothing before nap time and bedtime. : ) I also recommend some sort of magnesium mineral bath salts. We like Pink Stork Bath Flakes. They are great for pregnancy, too! Chest Physiotherapy CPT (for coughs)- one of our amazing mom followers recommended this. She is a pediatric nurse and says to do light percussions on baby's chest and back. Click HERE to learn more! Shiatsu Baby Massage- I've been going to Shiatsu for years and swear by it! I didn't care for my regular chiropractor because of how I was being adjusted. If learned properly, you can give your baby your his own gentle shiatsu massage right from home. I love incorporating this into our routine especially when my kids are sick. "There are points which can address physical issues, such as digestion, breathing, teething and strengthening the immune system. There are also points which can have a direct emotional effect, such as calming and soothing emotional distress." Read more HERE.
PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SUPPLEMENT PROGRAM FOR BABY
Keep in mind, this information is based off my personal experience and recommendations from my doctor and nutritionist.
The best vitamin source is a good diet or rich breast milk. However, sometimes supplementation is also needed or recommended.
If you are breastfeeding, your baby should be getting all of his necessary nutrients from your milk, unless otherwise deficient in certain areas. I highly recommend getting blood work and talking with your health care practitioner. Personally for me, before getting pregnant I started seeing a naturopathic doctor so I could prepare my body for pregnancy. Through blood work, I found I was slightly anemic during my pregnancy with Banx, baby number two, and therefore needed an iron supplement, which I continued taking and monitoring after giving birth.
Alfalfa ComplexNordic Naturals D3Ther-Biotic Infant ProbioticGreen Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil- flavors: cinnamon, unflavored, or orange Multi VitaminFoods rich in folate***1/2 Alfalfa Tablet- crushed and mixed with pureed food or in a bottleVitamin D- I prefer a liquid vitamin D, as my 2nd is not eating solids at this age. You can't go wrong with Nordic Naturals D3.Multi Vitamin- At this time I do not have any specific recommendations.Probiotic- I've read a lot about different opinions around this topic of probiotics for baby. I personally believe in the benefit at this age and give my children probiotics daily starting at this age. I'm currently using Ther-Biotic. They also make probiotics for children and adults. Another personal probiotic recommendation is the VSL#3. I started giving this to Kai when he was under 1 year and simply mixed 1/4 teaspoon in his pureed food daily. I also take this probiotic and now that Kai is 5-years-old, he gets 1/2 a capsule and a full capsule when he is sick.
Alfalfa ComplexNordic Naturals D3Ther-Biotic Childrens ProbioticGreen Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil- flavors: cinnamon, unflavored, or orange Multi VitaminFoods rich in folate/B Vitamin- (not folic acid- especially if your child has the MTHFR Gene Mutation)***Kyolic Liquid Garlic***
12 MONTHS +
Alfalfa ComplexNordic Naturals D3Ther-Biotic Childrens ProbioticGreen Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil- flavors: cinnamon, unflavored, or orangeMulti VitaminFoods rich in folate/B Vitamin- (not folic acid- especially if your child has the MTHFR Gene Mutation)***Kyolic Liquid GarlicShaklee Chewable Vitamin C**
Click the chart to download your own copy of the Taste For Life Annual Kids' Nutrition Chart.
You can hang it on your wall or leave it on your refrigerator for reminders.
Other things to keep in mind to strengthen immunity...
Increase veggie intake and dark leafy greens- for children under age TWO, I found it best to gently steam/cook greens before adding to baby's meal, pureed food, or smoothies (a great way to add/hide greens and veggies for picky eaters!). I find children at this age have a hard time digesting these greens because of the cellulose. Cooking the greens makes it much easier to digest.
Decrease dairy, refined and processed foods- sugar will break down and compromise your immune system.
Let your kids play in the dirt- read WHY HERE.
If able, make your own baby food and choose organic if possible. See the "Dirty Dozen" list HERE.
If nursing, try adding oregano capsules, garlic tablets, or up your own probiotics, vitamin c, vitamin d, and multivitamin to your regular supplement routine. It works for me! Or simply eat more fruits and veggies high in vitamin c!
Thank you, Maty's for partnering with us and for providing wonderful, safe, and wholesome products to families everywhere. We are grateful for you!
I hope this was helpful in some way or another. Please share your tips and tricks with us below! And remember, we set the example. If you're finding it difficult to eat whole foods and cook clean for your family (this means not serving your littles typical "kid food" all the time), then we encourage you to join a mommy group, find community, or start your own cooking club with other moms or couples!
As always, I am always eager to hear and learn more!
To healthy babies and kiddos!