Tag Archives: massage

Sleeper – Part 3

Babies.  The guidelines for getting babies into good sleep habits are pretty much the same as for children and adults.  Plenty of fresh air, good routines and take away their mobile ‘phones.  Sorted.

But seriously folks babies are clever creatures and they pick up on how things are going to be run pretty quickly.  Now I am almost certainly going to get pilloried by someone at some time for my approach to babies and I must stress that these are MY opinions and ultimately you must go with your own instincts.  Midwives vary, in that some of them give you good advice and some of them feed you the party line.

The most obvious things to make babies cry are being hungry, wet, dirty or windy.   These things make me cry too.  Let’s assume that they have fed well, have a clean dry bottom and have burped like a builder on Special Brew.  Put them in the cot, wrapped appropriately, with the window open, tell them it’s sleep time and leave the room.  If they start to cry, give it a good long time before you go back, and when you do, don’t pick them up, tell them it’s sleep time, make lots of reassuring noises and leave again.  Be firm. This can be quite hard, but in the long run it pays off and they soon learn that you mean it.

If a child is constantly hungry, it may be that they’re not getting enough from you or their bottle.  Boy the Elder was a ridiculously large baby and although he fed well, he was still always hungry.  I started supplementing his feeds with thin baby rice, then pureed swede at 5 weeks and he was as happy as a sandboy.  Ask your midwife or family for advice if you’re not sure. 

Boy the Younger, on the other hand, was small, thin, yellow and had pointy ears.  He didn’t sleep, he was jaundiced, he didn’t feed properly, he didn’t stop crying.  For the first month I wished I’d never had him (and I can’t tell you how bad that feels).  And then I returned to my right mind and took him to see the cranial osteopath.  She diagnosed compression at the base of his skull and very tight membranes across the plates of his head.  It only took a few sessions before there was a massive improvement in his feeding and sleeping.

Cranial osteopathy is a wonderful thing.  During the birth process, babies are stuck upside down in a tight, nasty place for quite a long time and this can cause the plates of the skull and the vertebrae of the spine to compress and tighten.  This compression can lead to poor feeding, poor sleep habits and restlessness.  Boy the Younger had a permanent headache for three months so it was no wonder he cried all the time and was off his trough.

Boy the Elder simply couldn’t be bothered to be born and at ten days over his due date I was carted off to be induced.  After 18 hours of established labour, an emergency C.section was carried out to prevent the pair of us being carried off.  He was born with a very pointy head indeed, so he was whipped off to the osteopath within ten days.  He was the healthiest, most well behaved baby one could hope for and he was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks.  Osteopaths aren’t cheap, but my goodness it’s worth it.

If babies are restless, massage is a wonderful way, not just of relaxing them, but bonding with them as well.  There are lots of great books about baby massage and many health centres run classes.  Otherwise, a good Aromatherapist will show you how to do it.  It also improves circulation, muscle tone, digestion – it soothes the gut if they suffer from wind or colic, and helps to boost the immune system.  It can also form a mutually advantageous part of their routine if you get into the habit of doing five or ten minutes of massage after the bath and just before you put them down to sleep.  You can also add one drop of lavender essential oil to their bath which helps to promote deep sleep.

I always put my children to sleep in the pram in the garden during the day, summer and winter alike.  I remember Sister the First ringing me in November (BTE was born in September) and she remarked on how quiet it was.  I told her BTE was asleep in the garden.  “No wonder he’s quiet!” she said “he’s got hypothermia!”  Oh how we laughed.  The only time I brought them in was if it was really torrenting with rain, foggy or snowing.  The blankets were on, the hood was up, the apron was secured with the flap up and the pram was turned into the wind.  For BTE I had a normal sized pram in which he could lie flat, but for BTY we had renovated my mother’s beautiful 1950’s, coach built, Silver Cross pram which was big enough to hold small parties in.

If you really don’t feel safe putting your baby outside, then put the cot near the window and leave the window wide open to allow the fresh air in.  If it gets chilly, pop a hat on them and an extra blanket.  They don’t die of cold when you walk them to the shops so they won’t die of cold in their bedroom.

If you can manage to establish routines early on, it is easier to continue these when they start crawling and toddling.  I am not a morning person and if I’m woken very early I’m a very bad person indeed.  When BTE started escaping from his cot, we put a stairgate over his bedroom door and left a few toys and books where he could get them.  He soon realised that I would come and get him, but that no amount of yelling would get me there any earlier.  It was rather nice to pad down to his room and see him sitting looking at his books or playing with his toys. 

BTY was not so compliant, as he is a morning person (and still bounces about at a revoltingly early hour).  I used to leave a drink of water and a piece of bread and butter under his cot and this would keep him quiet until I got up; earlier than I would have liked, but still civilized by most people’s standards.

And one more thing.  Don’t put babies in front of the television.  Don’t laugh, I know lots of people who have.  When I was teaching baby massage classes, I had a mother come to me because her 3 month old baby would not sleep at all during the day.  It turned out that she was lying him on a rug in the lounge with the television on all day to keep him amused.  We had a conversation, she switched the telly off, put him to sleep outside and bingo.  Slept like a …. baby.

  • Make sure your baby has fresh air every day
  • Try to establish a routine as soon as you can and stick to it
  • Have soft lighting in the bedroom
  • Have some cuddly  ‘wind down’ before going up to bed
  • Keep the bedroom cool
  • Read even tiny babies a story, tuck them up, then leave the room
  • If they won’t stop crying  and you’ve eliminated possible health problems , consider massage and/or cranial osteopathy
  • Trust your instincts and if you’re not sure, ask someone.

That’s enough about kipping now.

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Filed under Children, Family and Friends, Health and Fitness, Life in general, Medical, Natural Home Medicines

Natural Home Remedies – Part 2: Colds, coughs, flu, indigestion and thrush

In which I discuss digestive, throat problems, phlegm, colds, coughs and thrush in both men and women.

Plants on windowsil 08.09.09Natural medicines seem  to be very much in demand, judging by your visits to the Wartime Housewife recently, so I will tell you about a few more. But before I do, I want to have a little chat about alternative and complementary treatments. 

I am a qualified Massage Therapist and Aromatherapist (oh how I loathe that term) and I have a special interest in nutrition.  I tend to see people with chronic illnesses such as Parkinsons, arthritis, shingles, depression, but occasionally people come to me with acute conditions such as back pain, muscle spasms or because they feel run down.   I take a full medical history, listen to their heart rate, take their blood pressure and, most importantly, listen and observe very carefully while they tell me about their condition.  Sometimes alarm bells ring and I refer them straight to their GP.  If they have an acute condition such as a muscle strain I can generally make them better, providing they do as they’re told.   With chronic illness, I can support circulation, immune system, nervous system, muscle tone, digestion and promote relaxation.  This ‘me time’  helps people to feel better able to cope, so that although I can’t make them better, I can help them to feel better.

But what I always tell people with more long term health problems is this.  It has taken a long time for you to become unwell and if you really want to get better it will take a while for your body to right itself. And it will only do this if you change your behaviour, your diet and how much you move about.  This can be very hard these days as we put ourselves under enormous pressure at home and at work, but part of the ethos of The Wartime Housewife is to re-examine how we live our lives.  Food is our fuel and if we don’t nourish our bodies properly we will break down.  Exercise keeps us fit, speeds up our metabolism and releases endorphins which lift our spirits.  Our families and friends provide us with love, support, entertainment and physical and intellectual stimulus so we must nurture them and make time for them and for ourselves.  We must learn to understand how our bodies work and look after them appropriately.

I am not anti doctors, but we have to give them a fighting chance.  The NHS is massively burdened with people who become ill  because they eat rubbish, don’t move about enough, and generally abuse themselves.  GP’s are asked to work longer and longer hours in the interests of accessibility, when I can’t help feeling that if people genuinely need medical advice, they should make the time to visit the doctor during reasonable surgery hours. 

The whole issue of work, illness, trust and personal responsibility will have to wait for another article.  In the meantime, The Wartime Housewife says ‘Eat proper food and not too much of it, move about more, get regular fresh air and have a decent night’s sleep’.  In case of malfunction , here are a few remedies to help you out.  (Remember if symptoms persist, consult your GP – at a respectable time!)

Indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, wind

Get a large handful of fresh mint leaves or a flat tablespoon of dried mint and put into a jug or teapot.
Pour about ¾ pint of boiling water
Leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Strain and sip gently and slowly until it is all gone
Repeat when necessary.

You can also use peppermint essential oil if you have it.  2 drops to 1 pint of very hot water, stir well and pour out the required amount into a glass.  Sip gently until completely gone.

PHLEGM IN THE THROAT OR SINUSES

As above but use an equivalent amount of thyme instead of the mint.  Thyme is a very effective anti-mucolytic – if you really don’t like the taste add a tablespoon of honey which has the added advantage of being an anti-inflammatory.

COUGH MEDICINE

Chop 1 medium onion very finely and place in a small bowl
Pour 2 tablespoons of honey over the top
Cover and leave overnight.
Strain off the juice and take a dessertspoonful every hour or two until the cough is easing

BRINGING OUT THE FEVER OF COLDS AND ‘FLU

Obviously, I only recommend putting the whisky in for teenagers and adults.  And use your common sense and use a painkiller that suits you, don’t exceed the stated dose etc etc. 

Put into a tall glass:
1 bulging tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of whisky
Top up the glass with very hot water and stir well until the honey has dissolved
Drink it all before it goes cold.
Take 2 paracetamol or ibuprofen. 

If there is any fever lurking around, this will bring it out and usually guarantees a good night’s sleep at the end of it.

THRUSH TREATMENT FOR LADIES OR GENTLEMEN

Firstly, make sure that you keep your bits and pieces very clean indeed and wash with a non-fragranced soap.  Wear cotton underwear.  Then thoroughly mix:

1 tablespoon of zinc and castor oil cream with
1 drop tea tree oil

For women, apply gently to the external area.  Put some of the cream (1/4 teaspoon) onto the end of a tampon, pop it in as usual and leave for a couple of hours, then do it again.

For men, apply gently to the whole end of your willy, making sure you get it under your foreskin where micro-organisms roam free.

Both:  Keep treating until symptoms subside.  If it doesn’t clear up within about 48 hours, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Natural Home Medicines, Nutrition & Sensible Eating