All superheroes have their kryptonite, so we know that colostrum doesn’t make us or our kids invincible. While we really have noticed such a difference from what colostrum has done for our family’s health (specifically, with our girls staying healthier than the past, especially in the winter months!) – we of course do still experience our dose of getting sick. It tugs on our heartstrings every time to see their little bodies fighting off sicknesses… though I do love the extra cuddles! We’ve found a few things to be extra helpful as we nurse our girls back to health when they’re not feeling their best. Here are our six favorite tips for treating sick children at home.
When My Kids are Sick
As you most likely know (or can at least imagine), parenting sick kids has many different challenges. The obvious ones: trying to make an uncomfortable child more comfortable, wiping noses, trying to teach them to blow their own noses, washing hands, monitoring their temperatures… the list goes on.
Plus, there are side effects of kids being sick that lead to additional challenges. They don’t have energy to play, so they just want to watch TV, or they don’t have an appetite, so they just move their soup around in their bowl without actually eating anything.
Sidenote on this: I used to be concerned about our kids eating nothing when they were sick, but I have learned to follow what their little bodies are communicating to us.
In this case, their bodies are working so hard to fight the infection that digesting a meal would put additional strain on them. So my husband and I attempt to listen to what it seems like our kids’ bodies are telling us and understand if they don’t eat their dinner when they’re sick (at least to a certain extent – because we have also experienced a sick child who says she’s not hungry at dinner… only to ask for some chips as soon as the dishes are away).
Why We Love Bovine Colostrum
All that to say, we try to prevent our kids from getting sick as much as possible. In our family, we take colostrum supplements proactively on a regular basis.
We love bovine colostrum because it builds our gut barrier, which keeps toxins and bad bacteria from getting into our bloodstream.
Beyond our daily routine, we also take an extra scoop of colostrum when we are sick. Like you maybe guzzled orange juice as a kid for the extra vitamin C, or pounded the Emergen-C packets in college, or now take a Zinc vitamin when you’re sick… colostrum is a great way to fortify your immune system when toxins are working against you. And I love knowing that I am sending out additional soldiers to attack the bad bacteria in our kids’ bodies.
What To Do For Sick Kids
In addition to taking colostrum supplements, we have accumulated a few holistic tools over the years to help our kids fight infections naturally. Below are a few ideas that have worked for us, in addition to calling in the troops that colostrum brings 🙂
Note: I am not any sort of medical professional and am not pretending to be one online. I am simply sharing some ideas that have worked for our little family.
Please always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises. I also wanted to give a shout out to Katie Wells, aka The Wellness Mama, because I have learned quite a few of these ideas from her podcast.
Natural health remedies for a sick child
1. The Silly Sock Trick
This isn’t a formal title or trademark just because I capitalized it, but I have found that my girls enjoy the fun that comes with anything if we give it a name. This trick mirrors the way an adult benefits from hydrotherapy (ie: intense cold and heat exposure like sitting in an ice-bath, then a sauna (check out @Respire Fire & Ice for the science on this), but on a child-friendly scale since these extreme temperatures would be too intense for their little bodies.
What you need:
- Wool socks
- Regular cotton socks
- Bowl of ice water
Here’s how to do it:
1. While your little one is taking a warm bath, soak wool socks in a bowl of ice water.
2. After drying your child off from their bath, put on pajamas per usual.
3. Wring socks out first so they’re not dripping, but warn your child they’ll be cold.
I have found this works best when we can be playful and silly (hence the name), so I usually pretend these wool socks just traveled from a snowy day at the north pole o that Princess Elsa accidentally turned them into frozen socks.
4. Put the cold, wet wool socks on their feet.
5. Pull on a second pair of dry socks (just regular cotton ones) over the wet, wool ones.
6. Tuck your child in for bedtime.
In the morning, both pairs of socks will be dry… it’s almost magical 🙂 And hopefully your child’s fever or other symptoms have subsided.
2. Breastmilk Nose Drops
(Yes, you read that right, and you can find more info on the benefits of breastmilk here.) A step above saline is to squirt breastmilk up your child’s nostrils. Similar to the saline rinse, it benefits the mucous lining by keeping it moist – and has the added benefit of bringing antibodies into direct contact with the mucous lining, so those soldiers can go right to work attacking any bacteria in your child’s nostrils.
Breast milk nose drops: Pull some pumped breast milk into a mini syringe (like the ones you would use for Tylenol, etc) and squirt into your child’s nostrils. Infants can get the benefits with just a couple drops in each nostril (make sure to allow them to catch their breath in between). Older children can handle squirting 1-2mL up each nostril.
If you don’t have breast milk on hand, you can recreate it by squirting Colostrum-drops in their nostrils—we just add a scoop of WonderCow Colostrum Powder to a cup of room-temperature water, mix well, and pull up in a syringe. And then we drink the rest 🙂
3. Nasal Saline Rinse
The mucous lining of our nostrils is a way to directly reach our immune systems. Squirting a little saline helps keep our children’s nostrils moist with saline to clean things up a bit, instead of the snot that may have accumulated there.
Keep your children’s nostrils moist because congestion is often caused by inflammation in the airways. We keep a humidifier on in our daughters’ bedrooms throughout the night to ensure their nasal passages stay clear and encourage a good night’s rest.
5. Epsom salt bath
Epsom Salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, detoxes our body of bacteria and other toxins. We prefer that the bad bacteria our kids are fighting come out rather than stay in their bodies, and epsom salt draws it out. It also helps their bodies relax and helps improve circulation.
Encourage your child to drink as many fluids as possible to keep the body hydrated and help flush out the illness. Our kidneys and liver depend on water to rid the body of toxins, so we encourage water as much as we can. We have gotten a little creative in the ways we encourage our kids to consume more water; here are a few simple ideas:
- Add some ice with a slice of lemon
- Stir in a little natural fruit juice for some flavor
- Bring out the Krazy straws that most of us parents used as kids
- Sparkling water: Our girls think sparkling water is a soda because we buy it in a can, so we bring out the bubbly and cheers!
- Tea party: You can also try a tea party for some fun hydration. Add a little honey to sweeten things up (while also coating their sore throats)… just make sure the tea is decaffeinated, otherwise you might be writing in some complaints 🙂
- In addition to water, milk is also very hydrating as it contains two key electrolytes: potassium and sodium.
Lastly, use this time with sick kids as an opportunity to cuddle as much as possible with them. There is a plethora of research on the benefits of physical touch, so hold your babies as much as you can—for their emotional health, as well as helping them on their way to physical health. Plus, the cuddles will benefit you as well: even an 8-second hug causes both your bodies to release oxytocin, what researchers call “the love hormone”. Oxytocin generally improves our mood, helps to reduce blood pressure, lower stress levels, and helps build the bond with your child as well. So go give someone a hug – and reap the many benefits 🙂