Monday, 29 November 2010

Garlic in Her Baby Socks

Poor little Liss has had her first heavy cold. She's had snuffles a few times before but this time it was more serious.

We kissed goodbye to sleeping through the night and said a reluctant 'oh, hi again' to waking every two hours to pop a boob in the crying mouth of a restless baby.

After a day of ineffectual faffing around with my mother and baby homeopathy kit, I decided to bring out the big guns. Garlic.

As well as being nature's antibiotic, garlic has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties. I know that this marvellous member of the onion family works best when eaten raw, but how to get it into my baby?

My aha moment came when flicking through my copy of the excellent Gentle Healing for Baby and Child book which informed me that garlic can be absorbed through the skin so if a child won't take it by mouth you can crush a clove and smear it, with the help of a little olive oil, onto their feet secure it with a gauze bandage and leave (to marinate?) overnight.

So I duly turned my baby into a french cannibal's dream. A dash of olive oil, a crush of fresh garlic et voila un bebe delicieux! With no gauze in sight, I 'double bagged' my precious one with baby socks and then tights over the top to keep the garlic socks in place.

Seeing as Alicia was too ill for us to venture out, and I didn't have Ella so wasn't on school run duty for a few days either, we stayed in the house and Alicia wore garlic socks for two days running.

Boy did she pong, but within eight hours of her first having garlic feet I noticed a marked difference. Her chest sounded looser and she was less distressed. The cold seemed to be breaking, the garlic was doing its job marvellously.

Were I made of sterner stuff, I would have continued the garlic treatment a little longer but once she was over the worst I was keen to switch to a more fragrant remedy. One that I could use in the day too without alarming potential new friends at the mum and baby groups we go to.

My friend Sarada recently gave me a hugely useful and inspiring book on aromatherapy - The Fragrant Pharmacy. It has a section dedicated to babies so I read the advice for coughs and colds in that section and adapted the blend 'recipes' they recommend to suit what oils I already have.

This is the Baby Snuffle Blend I created a few days ago:

10 drops Eucalyptus, 5 drops Tea tree, 10 drops Lavender, 5 drops Thyme.

I put 3 drops into a bowl of hot water and placed that near Alicia's cot at night. I also used 3 drops of this blend in approx 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil and used it as a chest and back rub three times a day. The oils are widely available in healthfood shops or you could order from the internet - try Neal's Yard.

She's waking only once or twice a night now and is easily settled. Her breathing is much easier. She's still a little chesty but the cough has gone. Oh, and she smells sooo much better now!

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Heartwarming Thanksgiving Christmas Tree

Yes, I know I orbited out of the blogosphere for some time. I can't promise it won't happen again and no, I don't have a good reason for my absence. I've been spending plenty of time on the internet but have been in receiving mode rather than transmitting mode.

And my how time has flown. Alicia is now five months old and as cute as a button. Scrub that, as buttons aren't particularly cute. Cute as an ickle fluffy kitten. No, cuter. Like a baby panda bear.

Actually that panda clip is scarily appropriate. I seem to spend the majority of my time sitting around eating while Alicia chills out next to me, all smiles and scrumminess for 90% of the time and then out of the blue becomes what hubby calls a 'sound terrorist'. Bless her.

I've recently started buying the Green Parent Magazine. I love it. It's full of the type of mummies I aspire to be but know I'll never fully become...

Natural earth mothers raising wholesome, home-schooled vegan children (at least four or five of them). Baking tasty yet nutritious treats whilst wearing the baby and leading the whole family into wonderful, inspiring craft projects.

Actually, to give me my dues I do bake once or twice a week. But I realised that it's been a while since I did any crafts with Ella and one idea in this month's issue really appealed to me: creating a Thanksgiving Tree.

It was great timing as I'd already been thinking of making a tree-to-display-on-the-wall to compensate for our lack of fir tree this year. We have to do without the because my new nursing chair is now occupying the only spot in our tyeeny tiny house where a Christmas tree could possibly go.

The Green Parent suggests creating a family project-cum-ritual in homage to the American harvest festival-style celebration of Thanksgiving.

You create a tree cutout and get each family member to trace their handprints on coloured card and cut out to form the leaves of the tree. Each person then writes things they are grateful for onto their 'leaves' and decorates the paper tree. Aha I thought, with a minor adaptation that could become our paper Christmas tree. And what a nice activity to balance out the rampant consumerism that drives the season of goodwill.

After a nice roast dinner with friends (followed by my first ever pumpkin pie!), Ella and I cut a large Christmas tree shape out of gold wrapping paper and set to making paper shapes to decorate it with - handprints, baubles, holly etc all of which we inscribed with things we are grateful for. Mid-activity, Ella said "it's nice to be able to do this sort of thing with people you trust. It's nice to share our feelings." Hear hear.

We even traced Alicia's handprint and wrote 'milk' on it after also considering 'playgym' and 'cuddles'. J was busy with Alicia for most of the activity so he told us a few things to write on his behalf (one of which was my cooking. Aww!).

Due to lack of blu-tack, the Thanksgiving/Christmas tree and decorations aren't yet up on the wall. Ella's now with her dad for a few days so we'll finish the activity when she's back and post a piccie of the result. Be warned - I'm not that artistic!

The activity was a heart-warming, wonderfully bonding thing to do. I so enjoyed sprinkling the lounge floor with glitter that I've decided we should also make all of our Christmas decorations this year.

LATER NOTE: Here's our tree