It is common for a newborn baby to be given a health check-up by a paediatrician or GP but how many are checked over by a natural health practitioner with the different diagnostic tools they offer?
At Paddington Clinic, we love to look after women who are conceiving, right through their pregnancy and also into the postpartum period, where their health and well-being can really do with care and attention. At the mother’s post birth consult which she will have booked before the birth, we advise the mother also to make an appointment for the baby, which will be a free consult. It won’t be a long session for the baby but it means the practitioner can perform a natural health check-up to observe how the baby is thriving, talk about its feeding patterns, sleep, digestion, etc. For example: Has the baby or Mum had any drug medications that may have impacted the baby?
Things we are looking for when we check over the baby is first, do they look robust? We always ask about the birth and how it was for both Mum and baby. How does their skin look? Does it have a healthy sheen? Do they look dehydrated? Are there any signs of dry skin? Is the abdomen very tight? How does their face look? From a Chinese Medicine perspective we observe facial colour changes, which indicate digestive function or sleep disturbances etc. All the signs are not to diagnose some horrendous disease but to look for clues on how the baby could be more content and thrive easily.
Some very easy advice can ensure the baby is settling more easily. Sometimes the baby will receive acupuncture if that seems appropriate. There are very different ways of using acupuncture on babies and young children, which does not involve holding a child down and inserting needles through the skin!! It is a most amazingly gentle treatment that babies usually love, mainly using a teishin, which is a solid instrument that can move energy in the body without piercing the skin.
Sometimes it’s useful to show the parents how to do some very simple massage on the baby to relieve tightness in the abdomen or to help the baby settle more easily and sleep better.
At times we will prescribe a probiotic that is specific for a baby to make sure its gut health has the best chance of remaining healthy. We may also prescribe some other natural remedies that can be given in drop form to baby. These include different formulas for reflux or a cold or cough.
Sometimes it’s back to the Mum if she is breastfeeding and there may be some foods in her diet that do not really agree with her and baby is reacting to them too. It may also mean Mum has to eat more protein in her diet to enrich the milk so the baby stays more settled after a feed.