Continuing on the theme of baby ailments which I treat regularly with homeopathic remedies, I’d like to talk about the holy trinity of ear, nose and throat conditions. Almost 2/3rds of babies and toddlers experience ear, nose and throat symptoms, the basis of which is inflammation from a variety of sources, to include internal, when conditions encourage inflammation. I know this may come as a new idea to you, but that’s because we’ve lived in a world dominated by the germ theory. Of course, inflammation creates pain and will affect your baby’s sleep. If you missed by blog on infant insomnia, you can read it here.
Germ Theory – a potted history
The germ theory postulates that disease is caused by the invasion of the body by bacteria. Bacterial activity takes place outside the cell as it is deemed to enter from outside the body. Three leading scientists are credited for the development of the germ theory during the 19 th Century – Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister and Robert Koch. The response to a sense of ‘invasion’ is to wage war on bacteria with anti-biotics (literal translation is anti-life). Later on came the virus – another accepted cause of inflammation of illness. Virus is simply cell debris – inert – and come from inside the cell, meaning we produce it (it doesn’t come from outside). I’ll leave you to think of the implications of that. Virus needs a host cell to reproduce and become problematic. But here’s the thing: bacteria eat virus and cell debris. We really do not need to be waging war against bacteria or virus. In fact, we need to nurture our gut flora so they keep the cell debris at bay. You can read more about how healthy gut flora can help your immunity and sleep in my blog here.
Terrain Theory & Susceptibility
Prior to Pasteur’s crowning moment, another leading but less beguiling scientist, Antoine Bechamp, proved that Pasteur’s ‘bacteria’ already existed in the body, prior to ‘invasion’2 (think gut flora), and that a change in the person’s health, environment, diet, etc., gave rise to the bacteria being able to proliferate. His name for bacteria was microzyma and he likened them to the soil in which either plants or weeds grow, known as susceptibility (i.e. what change occurs to render a healthy person unwell).
I think it’s fair to say that over time, as we learn more, it is feasible that theories will be challenged, questioned, revisited and even disproven. My enquiring mind wonders why that hasn’t happened with the germ theory, not least in light of Bechamp’s consistently excellent research (which Pasteur used to help explain the presence of bacteria). It has been written that Pasteur changed his mind to agree with Bechamp just days before he died. 1
Catarrh & Inflammation
Catarrh is a major cause of congestion and inflammation and is the body’s attempt to discharge toxicity – better out than in! The inflammatory process mobilises the immune response to create movement, so your baby’s ear, nose and throat discharges are cleansing immune responses – not the problem itself. Can you see that the use of antibiotics thwart the body’s attempts to cleanse and push the gunk back inside? Out of sight, out of mind.
The Purpose of Acute Disease
If we work on the basis that your body works in your best ,24/7, 365 days per year, it will let you know when something is out of synch via symptoms, usually inflammation, pain, perhaps fever. These are natural and beneficial immune responses – not the problem. Sure, they are noticeable – they’re meant to be – but to shoot the messenger suppresses your immune response, which exists to keep you well. The bigger the symptoms, the more noticeable the problem is. The more we suppress that, your immune system gives up and diverts its energy to other problems that need resolving. Enter low grade, chronic symptoms, otherwise known as underlying health conditions.
Ear, nose and throat conditions are often developmental – connected with teething, growth spurts and steps towards independence, and not least because the sinuses and ear canals shift as the baby grows.
Causes of Inflammation
Whilst bacterial or viral activity is said to be the cause of inflammation, it is the result of your immune system mobilising the white cell response to rid the body of something that it is not helpful to health. It is not the problem itself – it is the messenger.
Your baby’s immune system kicks in at birth and flourishes with breast milk (see my blog – link in bio). Generally, formula fed babies are more catarrhal given that dairy – even lactose-free options – is their sole diet which is the perfect breeding grounds for congestion and, in turn, inflammation as the body tries to rid congestion, resulting in mucus conditions (how the body gets it outside – cough, sneeze, earwax).
Mucus is the perfect vehicle for bacteria to move through the mucus canals so steps to reduce mucus creating foods will minimise recurrent problems.
Less catarrh = less inflammation & bacteria movement = less antibiotics. And that’s great news for your baby’s gut and immune system.
That’s not to say antibiotics are to be avoided but used occasionally, and when we really need them. They can be life saving. However, just one course of antibiotics wipes out all but flora, so imagine what long term or frequent use actually does to gut flora (your baby’s immune system). Enter the catch-22 of chronic symptoms which seemingly require more antibiotics.
Dispelling the Myth around Cow’s Milk
To put it simply: human milk is for human babies; cow’s milk is for baby cows. Cows have four digestive chambers; humans have one. This means at a very basic level that cow’s milk is indigestible by humans – it’s just some humans struggle more than others. For babies, cow’s milk will pose a bigger problem because of their tiny digestive tract, so indigestion, colic and reflux are commonplace. However, it is important to state here that breast fed babies develop colic and reflux, but usually of a less severe nature.
What we do know is that cow’s milk creates mucus in the human gut which makes the digestion of key nutrients more difficult and may lead to a degree of chronic malnutrition. Our belief system about the benefits of cow’s milk for human ingestion was the result of a very successful post-War marketing campaign by the Milk Board. And if you find that thought challenging, you know it’s a belief system! (Belief systems are simply thoughts that have become repetitive and embedded in the subconscious mind). And we’re never more vulnerable than when we’re responsible for the health and survival of a newborn baby. Your baby can get all the calcium it needs from other sources of dairy – yoghurt is a good choice as it is treated differently from milk, making it more digestible.
Try switching to Nanny Goat Milk as, it is more digestible than cow’s milk. If your baby is 6 months or older, you can begin to introduce oat milk and other plant-based milk drinks that are usually fortified with vitamins and minerals.
If you are breastfeeding, then it’s really important to look after your gut health too, as your gut health informs your immune system, which informs your baby’s immune system. You can read the latest research highlighting the importance of breastfeeding in my blog here.
Homeopathy: the ‘Roots & Branch’ approach
As a Homeopath, I view symptoms as messengers from the body that something is out of synch, versus being the sole problem. While the named condition is useful, the person experiencing the symptoms is most useful in arriving at a bespoke remedy for that person.
By gently resolving any causative factors, for example, birth complications, trauma and medication, your baby can come off of ‘red alert’ meaning the stress hormones will reduce to restore harmony in your baby’s hormone system, to include Oxytocin, the hormonal security blanket and anchor in his or her new world.
My ‘tools of the trade’ have remained unchanged to those used by Homeopaths for over 200 years: what worked then, works now. I love my Repertory (book of clinical symptoms) and Materia Medica (book of remedies) with which I match my client’s symptoms with the remedy produce similar symptoms in other people.
Contact me today for expert guidance and treatment to help you and your baby develop naturally.
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Sleepability acknowledges the safety of your baby is paramount and recommends you update your GP and always seek medical help if you have any concerns. Homeopathic treatment does not replace emergency medical care.