A baby's fever is one of the most frightening things you will experience as a parent. And although there are plenty of ways to lower your infants fever with medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, many parents feel that a natural approach to fever reduction is the better choice for them. The tricky part about fevers, is that they are the natural way for your baby's body to fight infection. So reducing a fever should be done mostly when the fever has risen nearly to levels that could be unsafe for your baby. Also, always notify your pediatrician when your baby is running a fever. If your pediatrician agrees that gently lowering your baby's fever with some natural methods is best, then I recommend you try these tips and/or my first 5 tips for reducing your baby's fever. Also be sure to continually monitor your baby's temperature while using any of these tips. A fever dropping too quickly can be a sign of shock, which can be dangerous.
1. Tepid skullcap tea sponge bath.
Skullcap is a natural herb that has gentle fever-reducing properties. Though many herbs including this one are considered safe, when your baby is already sick, it might irritate the stomach if ingested. Instead, simply make a medium-strength tepid tea (steeping the teabag for about 3 minutes) and then use a soft cotton cloth to sponge the cool liquid onto your baby's wrists, under his arms, behind his knees and across his chest and shoulders. This has the combined cooling effects of the slow evaporation of the liquid, and the gentle absorption of small amounts of the herb through your little glow-worm's skin.
2. Damp socks.
Whether you rinse your baby's socks in a bit of fresh cool water, or if you dip them in some chamomile, or skullcap tea (be careful, this can discolor the socks), when they are still just a bit damp, put them on her. This will help with a slower cooling evaporation, that is gentle enough to avoid cooling your infant down too quickly. As your little munchkin kicks her feet she will help to cool the socks off as well. Re-moisten the socks from time to time as they dry.
3. Cool lettuce leaf wrap.
Fresh romaine lettuce leaves soaked in a tepid bowl of water can be wrapped around your baby's legs, chest and back. Lettuce naturally conducts heat very quickly. As it absorbs the heat from your baby, it will also insulate gently, making sure that his temperature does not drop too fast. Change the lettuce leaves often, every 3-4 minutes until your infant's fever has been reduced to safe levels once again. Check your baby's skin for any sign of irritation, and discontinue the lettuce wraps at once if a rash appears.
4. Fever reducing acupressure.
For infants and babies, there is a very gentle style of acupressure that can be used. It is called the "Jin Shin" technique. Using this technique, you gently hold the acupoints for a few moments while breathing deeply, then repeat at regular intervals over the course of the day. Some acupoints that you can use to help reduce your little tiger-lilly's fever are:
* LI-4 "Union Valley"
* LI-11 "Pool By The Bend"
* GV-14 "Great Hammer"
Gently hold each of these acupoints in turn for about 10-15 seconds while using deep breathing to keep yourself calm and centered. You can repeat this baby's fever reducing acupressure routine 3-4 times through the day.
5. Skin-to-skin hold.
The best heat regulator you have is your own body. If you walk in the sunlight your body cools down, if you stroll through the shade, your internal temperature increases. So, in a warm room, take your baby's clothing off (except for the diaper) and hold him on your bare chest, Your body will immediately start to cool you both down. The excess heat from your baby will be absorbed gently through your own skin. This technique is not only gentle and effective for fever reduction, but it is very calming and comforting to both the you and your infant. If you think that your baby may be feeling cold, you can drape a light cotton blanket over his back. Continue the skin-toskin hold for about 20-30 minutes for the full effect. You can continue the hold longer if you like, but the fever will not drop much further. The hold can be repeated as often as you like.
While your baby has a fever, and immediately after a fever has been reduced, it is important to remember to try to feed your infant as much as you can. Dehydration is common in babies with fevers. Also, please put any sleep-training on hold until your baby feels better. Your baby needs as much sleep as she can get while she is sick, and it doesn't really matter if she sticks to a schedule or not. Also, always, always, always, talk to your baby's doctor about what you are doing, and how your baby is feeling. Even if you feel it is not that important, your doctor can reassure you, or alert you to issues you may not have been aware of. If you have found these tips to be helpful, please forward them to any new or expecting parents you know. Happy parenting!