Safe, effective remedies for common first-year ailments
Scalp and skin irritations
Symptoms Cradle cap: a harmless scaling on the scalp caused by skin secretions; eczema: red, itchy and scaly skin. Neither condition is contagious.
• Cradle cap: Apply olive or castor oil to his scalp for a few hours (cover with a cotton hat or gauze). Gently shampoo, then remove scales using a soft toothbrush.
• Eczema: Apply a chickweed ointment or compress, or add chickweed tea to the baby's bath water. Try calendula cream or a low-alcohol moisturizer such as Eucerin.
• Also for eczema, eliminate milk, soy and nuts from your baby's diet and from yours if you're breastfeeding. Or switch to a partially hydrolyzed formula or to one containing omega-3 fatty acids.
• Pregnant women with allergies can take probiotics--supplements that supply beneficial bacteria--in their last six weeks to help prevent allergies in their children. Natural-foods stores carry probiotics for infants; they can help prevent and treat eczema.
• Oatmeal baths soothe inflamed skin.
Do Not Use tea tree oil.
When To Call The Pediatrician If eczema becomes fiery red or skin develops pustules.
Symptoms Your child may rub or tug at his ear, act fussy, lose his appetite and run a fever.
• Limit your baby's intake of sugar (it suppresses immunity), dairy, wheat and soy. If you're nursing, reduce or eliminate those foods from your diet. If you're not breastfeeding, switch to a partially hydrolyzed formula.
• Limit pacifier use. Studies suggest doing this can significantly decrease ear-infection risk.
• Cut a yellow onion in half, warm in a 250° F oven, wrap in cheesecloth and hold until cool against your baby's ear. The sulfur content fights germs and reduces swelling. You also can put two drops of garlic oil in the baby's ear three times a day.
• If your baby needs antibiotics, give him probiotics too.
Do Not Use echinacea, elderberry or other herbs.
When To Call The Pediatrician If you don't see improvement after three days; if your baby doesn't "look right" or isn't behaving normally; if a baby under 3 months has a rectal temperature of 100.4° F or higher (3 to 6 months: over 101° F; 6 months or older: over 102° F).