Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chamomile "Tea-thing"

Approx. $2 tea available in
most supermarkets.
Chamomile tea… Ah…  The name just evokes feelings of warmth, comfort, & relaxation.  At least for me, that is.  When I was pregnant I drank this stuff all the time.  It would help me relax after a long day of carrying around a giant basketball & a considerable amount of baby weight.  After hours of researching this glorious tea, I saw that infants can have it too!  I was skeptical because I know “herbal” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe,” so I dove deeper into the subject.  It turns out infants as young as 2 weeks old can have very weak chamomile tea.  After 2 months they can have up to 4 ounces of chamomile tea a day!  I didn’t try chamomile until after his first round of shots. Chamomile relaxes & eases pain for a number of ailments from teething to tummy aches, to just feeling a little puny after getting those mean ‘ol shots :(  Teething was the subject of the most raving reviews from mothers, so I thought I’d share this interesting tidbit of information in a little “mini-recipe” blog.

So if you’d like a real, honest-to-goodness review on the stuff, here are my experiences with chamomile tea along with the conditions my son so bravely suffered:

Post-immunization woes:  This ranged from screaming like a kitten stuck in a dryer (don’t ask.) to fever, to the glorious sleeplessness accompanied by the sweet aforementioned kitten sounds.  I didn’t think anything was going to calm the little dude down.  Of course I gave him Tylenol for his fever, but he still felt cruddy.  Though Tylenol is safe, I didn’t feel right about pumping him full of the grape stuff, so I gave him weak-brewed chamomile tea ½ an ounce at a time.  A few hours & 1-½ ounces of tea later, he was sleeping like a baby, but the contended kind :)

Teething junk:  After hour upon hour of gnawing, not wanting to eat but acting super-hungry, & those lovely, hard chomps when trying to nurse, I decided to try the ‘ol chamomile trick again.  Same story, same wonderful results, got some sleep, it was wonderful.

Gas & Colic: Unfortunately when I had to start supplementing, gas followed very soon after.  Not only was I feeling defeated for having to give my baby formula, I felt even worse because this was the first time he had bowel issues that made him really upset.  Along with some tummy massage & tea, he was nice & pleasant for the rest of the evening.  However, gas relief is always a little short-lived & I’m not above using Mylicon drops.

The thing that scared me about using chamomile tea was the fear of my child getting that awful, “drunk sleepy” that sometimes happens with immunizations or allergy medications (which I’ve never encountered with my son, thank the lord, but I’ve seen it in other children)  What if he got too sleepy?  What if he gets so relaxed he stops breathing??  All of those awesome, completely-unreasonable worries a new mother has!  The one thing I can definitely say about the chamomile tea is that children don’t immediately get hit with the “sleepy bug” & start falling over or can’t keep their eyes open.  It’s a mild, gentle kind of calm that gradually lulls a fussy little bear to sleep.  They also won’t sleep for an unnerving, extended period of time.  So let your reservations subside a little bit & provide some non-medicated relief for your unhappy little buddy!

I know I may not have convinced you that it’s 100% safe, but I always have a list of sources that will tell you the same thing.  I’m not a doctor, I’m not a pediatrician, I’m not a nutritionist –though I’m studying that—I’m just a mom who has learned a few tricks.  I’m also a new mom, so I’m not going to act like I know any better than you.  Every child is different & if this works then hallelujah!  If it doesn’t then you’ve tried something without causing harm to your child.  It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s worth a shot when you’ve got a really grumpy baby.
About $8/oz. loose-leaf
tea available online.

6 oz. very hot water
1 chamomile tea bag (chamomile ONLY)

Let tea steep in a mug for about 5 minutes.  If you wish to make a stronger batch, let steep for 10 minutes & steep covered to ensure the ingredients brew properly.  The 5 minute batch is for a weak tea.  If your child is under 6 months old, try ½ oz. to 1 oz. of tea at a time.  When older, you can try up to 2 oz. at a time.  I don’t have experience with the 2 oz., so if you have reservations just go gradually.  Mix with breast milk or formula.  Elias seemed to like the taste!

Note: Do NOT be tempted to buy chamomile tea blends at the store, especially ones labeled “sleepytime” or “sleepytime extra.”  These sound promising, but they have added ingredients like peppermint, spearmint, & in some cases the herb “valerian” which can be very potent even to adults.  Everyone can react to herbs the same way they could react to a medication.  If your child has an allergy to plants like ragweed and/or daisies, he/she has an increased risk for reaction to chamomile.  A chamomile allergy is considered very rare & the reactions are very mild & oftentimes not even noticed.

As always, hopes this helps!

-Elias’s mommy

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