The whole family was plagued by so many health issues last year, that I'm gradually changing our lifestyle and diet as we enter into a healthier and happier 2014. While I'm not 100% for naturopathy, I am keen on minimising our reliance on pharmaceuticals and unnecessarily invasive treatments. Hopefully all these changes can also improve the chances of our #2 babymaking efforts!
Here's what we're trying that seems to work so far. Thanks to Google and friends for the tips.
1) Sore throats and runny nose: Doesn't it feel like if it's not you, a friend or family member will catch this at least once a week? The unnatural cold front in Singapore, and fluctuating temperatures doesn't help!
- Avoid dairy, bananas, cold food. Subsitute for calcium with tofu, soy beans, almonds, oranges, greens
- Nasal douche or spray with sea salt (antibacterial, isotonic)
- Diffuse or drop chamomile, eucalyptus (for older kids), camphor / tiger balm (adults) on pillow or clothes
- Apply pain relieving rescue cream twice daily from nostrils to top of nose and cheeks
- Soak flax seed overnight, boil and reduce to make a warm compress/ paste and apply to head, cheek, nose ideally for 30 mins each day
2) Cough: If persists more than a week though, go see a doctor as there could be a respiratory infection. Don't wait like I did!
- Serve up pork rib (or vegetable roots) soup, red dates with daikon (white radish) or watercress
- Drink warm manuka honey, lemon and chamomile tea
- Diffuse or drop lavender (cramped cough), eucalpytus (congestion), thyme (suppressant), myrrh (anti-inflammatory). If no oils at hand, use Vicks BabyRub
- Try warm curd or lemon packing too
3) (Mild) fever, diarrhea, vomiting from an upset tummy / stomach bug: B had all of this around Christmas. We didn't see a doctor as his temperature never exceeded 38C, and I wanted to allow his immune system the chance to produce antibodies to cure the body. He recovered within a few days with:
- Drink, drink, drink! Peppermint, fennel or chamomile tea, ginger with lemon and honey water
- Ensure sufficient zinc and fiber: Fruits (bananas, apples, pomegranates, grapes, cranberries, cherries, blueberries), carrot, ginger and sweet potato porridge, wholewheat bread/flour, veggies (carrots). Cut down on dairy, white bread, sugar, chocolates, juice
- Barley tea and/or ginger to settle the tummy. The taste can be hard to swallow for kids so add to their favourite foods (i.e. porridge, fish soup ... and of course, baked goodies, like gingerbread men :)
- Wear cotton clothes, go on diapers (sets back potty training, but oh so necessary!)
4) Rash and bites: We go outdoors alot and get our fair share of mozzie and sandfly bites, no matter how much lotion and repellent we use! Our family also has a history of adult eczema although B so far shows no signs .... yet
- Aloe vera or papaya based gels, peppermint or oatmeal bath (fill a cloth bag with leaves/uncooked oats)
- Calendula, coconut oil, olive oil, tea tree oil and oatmeal based lotions. Oatmeal worked wonders for me since I first discovered Aveeno while working in New York. It's anti-inflammatory, seals in moisture, relieves irration
- If rash also includes oral sores, it could be HFMD, scarlet fever, chicken pox
- If rash is chronic, likely to be eczema. Check this out!
6) Massage: Ironically, I had more massages when working full-time and traveling lots:
- This year, I'm aiming for at least twice a year (for me)
- Casual, 15 mins twice daily (for B) on the back, belly button, head, hands and feet meridians
- Don't know what oil to use? Read this! If inspired, make your own blend of jojoba, thyme, bergamot, cypress,
tea tree and angelica oils :)
One thing I love about Singapore is the abundance of greenery amidst its modern, urban cityscape. Here are some more parks near us that we just discovered:
Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West: Right opposite the AMK public library, it boasts a large sand playground, 120-step staircase to a viewing plaza, landscaped pond, jogging track and footpaths through the nearby forest. We usually scoot around Bishan-AMK park but this was less crowded and more convenient if you're planning a library, shopping and meal outing
One-North Park: Hilly, breezy with a touch of playful "science" due to its proximity to Biopolis. Beware the red ants though!
B has been attending half day preschool at Odyssey for a week now. I drop him off by 845a and pick him up after lunch around 1245p, in time for his mid-day nap back home. He did us all proud, adapting better and faster than expected. There were less tears, increasing confidence and engagement in class, and even "thank yous" and "byes" to his teachers, friends and favourite things in school (i.e. gardens, school bus) by end of the week.
In fact, he coped better than I did after 2+ years of being together (almost) 24/7. In their first week newsletter update, his teachers were clearly pleased with his progress - and probably relieved too!
1) Visit with your child as often as possible before class starts, taking photos to recall. I made memories by adding little pages for his journal which worked better than any "going to preschool" kid book because they were real, some with pictures of him in them! When day 1 came along, B was familiar with the names and images of his school, class and teachers. Ideally, we'd have loved to accompany him to playgroups at school or with his classmates beforehand, but we didn't have this option.
2) If possible, ask to be the only new child in the class, say for a 2 week period, and avoid starting after a long holiday as many "experienced" kids still get separation anxiety on the first day back. This ensures sufficient attention and no peer crying effect which stresses out everyone around. A fellow mom friend shared how 5 kids in her child's class (different school) cried for almost 3 hours until they vomited. Teachers were quite overwhelmed and parents clearly distressed!
3) Crying at drop off is normal. Crying at pick up is also normal. BUT it doesn't mean your child has been crying all day! The tears usually stop once teachers are given a chance to take over, distract and calm down your child. By mid-week, B cried for less than a minute at drop off and pick up and after that, he was all smiles, no tears. The key here is to TRUST, reflect a positive mood and (the toughest part) LEAVE. I hung B's water bottle around his neck which also ensured he was hydrated, and always had a towel ready, i.e. his comfort object since he was an infant. I had my doubts too at the beginning as I wandered around waiting for the call or tears which never came thankfully, all the while trying to spy in while not letting them see me. Eventually, I told myself to let go. Let others get to know and take care of him. Grant them your trust and allow them to keep earning yours and his. Also, enjoy the well-deserved morning off, mama!
4) It can feel like your child's regressing. B was koala bear clingy over the weekend (we started on a Thursday) and had disrupted naps because he'd catnap in the car on the way back and not nap enough once home, or would wake up crying for me and wouldn't go back to sleep without me holding him. Over the weekend, I reflected and determined to not be hasty - all of this eventually resolved or would resolve. And B would also continue to grow in character, knowledge and imagination. I just need to remember to project love for him, encourage interest in school and model respect for his teachers. Believe he will thrive!
5) Release your child into God's hands. To quote Omartian: "We can't be everywhere. We can't see everything. We can't know everything. But God can. Acknowledge our Father is in control of our children's lives and ours, and we will have greater peace." Amen!
Of course, I miss B everytime he's in school and am trying to maximise our remaining time together with bonding and NOT mere enrichment - begone you tiger mom urges! Meanwhile, I'm enjoying this extra time for devotionals, pilates, The Whiz Times, books, brekkie/brunch catch-ups until my schedule changes again :)