Tag Archives: Formula

Rise in Infant Constipation – A Homeopathic Approach

Over the years, I am seeing more mothers seeking homeopathic treatment for their babies’ constipation problems. It seems that our young ones, as little as six-months-old, are becoming less efficient at clearing their bowels – a process which should be rather smooth for them at such a young age considering that their diet consists of mainly purees and milk.

It is common for babies to have stools of a firmer consistency once they start solids, bottled baby foods and formula milk. For some babies, it could be part of their normal stool cycle to void their bowels every two to three days. However, it becomes a problem when emptying the bowels become painful and starts affecting their appetite and energy levels – and we are now seeing this at a much younger age. This is where intervention either from a homeopath or general physician is required.

In my practice, I have seen good results with homeopathic remedies for this problem. The treatment takes into consideration not just the chief symptom or diagnosis – constipation – but a 360-degree view of the child’ personality, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, temperament and even the parents’ emotional  states in pregnancy and at the time of consultation. Hence, the treatment and remedy is individualised taking into account the baby’s unique life situation.

The two most frequently used remedies in my practice for this ailment have been Calcarea Carbonica and Alumina. Calcarea Carbonica is a commonly indicated constitutional remedy, meaning that this remedy can correct energy imbalances on all three spheres – mental, emotional and physical. Most babies do require this remedy at some point in their infancy. Calcarea carbonica babies tend to be flabby, have sour perspiration and give an overall impression of slowness. These babies will be content sitting in one place and observing the world go by rather than being at the heart of the activity. Mother will often say that their child has had some milestone delays. It is no surprise that this slowness also manifests in the digestive system.  A couple of doses of this remedy, prescribed professionally, can have a remarkable impact on the Calcarea carbonica baby’s development.

Alumina is another remedy that has shown to be effective for infant constipation in my practice. The remedy, made from aluminium oxide, is indicated when soft stools require great straining and the stools are passed in very small quantities. It is theorised that an increased use of aluminium-based cookware to heat and prepare meals could have impacted a rise in Alumina-type constipation in our babies.  It would also be worthwhile to read the inserts of skincare products to see if they contain any aluminium-based ingredients that could be contributing to your child’s constipation. However minute the quantity may be, it can penetrate through your baby’s skin and contribute to the problem.

When to Consider Formula for Your Baby

Breastmilk is the preferred nutrition for your baby. It is easy to digest and provides the baby with important maternal antibodies or immune factors.  However, in order to ensure adequate supply of breastmilk, mothers need to have proper rest, good nutrition and take sufficient fluids. For this, the presence of a support network in the few weeks after birth is critical. Unfortunately, not all mothers have access to this support. In such circumstances, it is not surprising that a new mother may feel overwhelmed with responsiblity and this, in turn, can have an adverse effect on the milk supply. Other factors that lead to problems in supply include stressful births, baby’s inability to latch, inverted nipples, etc.

The important thing is to keep trying to breastfeed your baby or to use a breast pump to express the milk.  But if the experience becomes too frustrating and emotionally draining, speak to your lactation consultant and consider supplementing your baby’s feeds with formula. Remember, some breastmilk is better than none, and what your baby needs the most is a positive and happy home environment. Another thing to keep in mind is that whilst breastfeeding facilitates bonding, it is not the ONLY way to bond with your baby.

In the next post, I will discuss the homeopathic approach to baby blues and lactation problems.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

The decision whether to breastfeed or use formula is no longer a straightforward one. Whilst it is common knowledge that breast milk is the preferred nutrition babies, there are circumstances when the use of formula should also be considered.

I will first briefly discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, which are manifold, for both the child and mother. The effects permeate not just the physical plane but also have a profound psychological and emotional impact. The moment a mother puts her baby to the breast shortly after birth, oxytoxin is released. This hormone helps to expel the placenta and promote healing in the womb. Mothers who breastfeed their baby recover faster after childbirth and have a lower risk of obesity, osteoporosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the long term.

For the baby, mother’s milk contains all the necessary nutrients which are in a form that is easily digestible and assimilated by the baby’s delicate digestive system. Colostrum, which is a thin yellow fluid that flows from the nipple before breast milk is produced, is high in its calorie, protein and antibody content. Babies require milk that is high in fat content because they are unable to digest lactose properly. Hence, formula milk, that is generally high in lactose but contains a lower amount of fat, is more difficult for babies to digest.

The antibodies in the breast milk protect the baby against infections. Breast milk also changes the pH of the stool and intestinal flora, thereby protecting the baby against diarrhea. In terms of long term health, babies who have been breast fed tend to be protected from chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease, diabetes, allergies, etc.

Breastfeeding is also a time for the baby and mother to bond with each other. Babies who have not been breastfed or have been weaned off too quickly from the breast tend to display subsequent emotional problems such as lack of confidence, a feeling of being neglected and eating problems, amongst others.

However, having mentioned the above, it is important to realise that there are situations where supplementation with formula should be considered and mothers need not feel guilty if they have to do so. I will touch on this topic in my next post.

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