When I was pregnant with Oliver we were advised to get a few basic medical supplies in store for once he was born, such as calpol and nappy rash cream, just so that we didn't have the bother of traipsing out when he was a newborn. Steadily our supply has grown over the last year and we've found out which lotions and potions are really worth having at home. I've wanted to write this post for ages as I feel like we've now got it honed down to a good selection of basics, all of which I would highly recommend for their effectiveness and necessity.
Pain relief / Teething
- Arguably the biggest reason for medication in a baby's first year of life is combatting the pain of teething. After trying out various medicines including teething gels and herbal/homeopathic granules, we found that Anbesol liquid was by far and away the most effective. If Ollie is struggling and we rub this on his gums, within about a minute he will always stop crying as the pain is totally numbed.
- Calpol of course is a firm favourite for parents as a pain reliever and also obviously useful if a baby has a fever, whether teething-related or if they have another bug.
- We also have baby ibuprofen which we got in Poland when Ollie had an ear infection.
Skincare / Nappy rash treatment / Chicken pox relief
- Ollie has always had slightly dry skin but happily not really eczema which my husband and I bother suffer from very mildly. We were prescribed Oilatum Juniour Cream for him which we use every evening after his bath although you can use it much more frequently if you wish. This is available to buy over the counter but obviously a prescription is free for babies! This does a fantastic job at keeping his skin hydrated and soft. If I ever encounter a particularly dry spot, normally only once in a while on the back of his knees, I use Sudocrem, which I feel gives a moisture boost and is antiseptic so helps the skin heal.
- Probably my most recommended product to you out of all of them is Metanium nappy rash ointment. This stuff is incredible. Ollie gets nappy rash when he is teething badly as he is not a dribbler so injests a lot of excess saliva which turns his poos acidic and gives him a sore bottom. The metanium cream heals and soothes the rash within hours. If I apply it after I've changed him, by the next change his skin will be pretty much, sometimes totally, clear. They also make a preventative barrier cream which friends say works well when you use both together. We've found this on its own a total lifesaver.
- Another way to prevent nappy rash is keeping their bottoms as dry as possible, and we like the Avent liquid talc which applies like a cream but dries to talc powder. I only use this when Ollies bottom is looking a little pink- not full blown nappy rash, but just the warning signs. The talc helps keep everything dry down there and liquid form is much easier to apply. Happily we have not had major issues with Ollies bottom and any we have had are all linked to teething episodes. I know some parents struggle with regular and recurring nappy rash and it's so sad seeing your baby with something so sore. A good tip we employed was to use only water and cotton pads rather than wipes for the first four months, and there wasn't a sore patch in sight.
- The Vaseline is another handy product, which we used around Ollie's belly button when it was healing and also on his lips when he got a nursing blister on the centre of his top lips.
- Finally we used the ViraSoothe gel when Ollie recently had chicken pox which was recommended by our pharmacist and it was so much more effective than the classic calamine lotion which stinks and is so drying. This seemed to give Ollie a lot of relief as he didn't scratch his pox at all, so I really recommend it.
- Whilst it's always very obvious when a baby has a fever, I think actually being able to measure their exact temperature is an important tool. We bought the Boots pharmaceuticals digital thermometer which I really like and is very easy to use. Just a click of the blue button and it takes about a minute to get a reading. However the problem is waiting this time with a thermometer under a squirming baby's armpit!
- We were recently sent the Omron Gentle Temp 521 digital thermometer and in practical terms this is much easier as the reading is taken instantly. I like using this thermometer and it has multiple functions, such as a room thermometer which is useful. However I would add that it's quite complicated to use and even after reading the instructions multiple times I can't get the thing to turn off! I think once you've worked out how it works this is definitely the better option if you're prepared to spend a little more money for the piece of mind.
Decongestants / Colds prevention
- Oliver has had a couple of nasty colds (a year of breastfeeding is never going to contend with the bugs at nursery!) and also gets a bit snotty when he's teething. We find that calpol works well at night to get him through but decongestants really help too.
- We were sent the Cussoms Mum and Me bubble bath to prevent snuffles which I have to say is a really fantastic product and has surprised me at how effective it is. The bubbles have a fairly strong menthol scent and I've noticed when I use this in the bath, Ollie will sniff at the bubbles and you can hear his tubes clearing.
- When he's been extremely blocked up we've used the Aqua Maris nasal spray which we were also sent to review. This is a quick fix, 100% natural product and works really well, and Ollie is surprisingly not at all bothered when we use it.
- Another method to relieve blocked noses is using a nasal aspirator (basically a tube to suck the snot out- nice) which we've used in the past although they have a limited life span for hygiene reasons.
- Finally we also use the Boots mild vapour rub which is a cheaper version of the classic Vicks vapour rub. We were given the tip to put this on the soles of Oliver's feet as well as his chest and I think it's been working well as he tends to sleep through if we've applied this, despite being poorly.
First-aid for minor abrasions
- Finally are a few products which may not be deemed a necessity for some parents but for us, with a toddler who is extremely accident probe and has a fearless approach to furniture, are really useful. My husband is medical and first-aid trained so is happy to use Boots microporous tape (steri-strips) himself if Ollie has a very small cut or abrasion. He bought the gloves and Savlon antiseptic First aid wash too which I can envisage will be useful once Ollie is older and grazing his knees on gravel, things like that.
- Everything is also latex free as some children are allergic so we thought it was worth having supplies that we could use for any visitor. We also have latex-free Spongebob square pants plasters from Boots! We've only used the steri-strips once when Ollie ran into the stair gate and made a tiny horizontal 1cm cut to the left of his eye. We were all shaken by it but he was fine and after gently cleaning the area a steri-strip for three days meant it healed really well.
- When Ollie was very little and suffering from wind we were prescribed Dentinox Infant Colic Drops and I'd really recommend this for helping calm babies tummys with their milk. You can also get them over the counter in Boots and supermarkets.
- I'd also recommend getting some pure sea salt in stock- which is a natural cleaning agent for the body. A few friends have used salt water very effectively for clearing up little crusty eyes which so many newborns seem to have, but we used sea salt as a treatment for Ollies belly button, which developed an unbilical granuloma when he was a week old . This is basically when some unhealed skin sort of pops out of the belly button like a little growth. It's fairly alarming, harmless but treated on the NHS with a very harsh chemical treatment which burns the skin off. I read that applying sea salt over night would help and amazingly the next morning the granuloma had shrivelled up into a hard ball and fallen off leaving a perfectly healed and formed belly button underneath!
If you have any questions about the above products feel free to comment below. What would you recommend? Do you believe in the power of alternative/natural remedies versus Western medicine?
Thanks for reading!
*Please see my disclaimer for products sent for review. This is my honest opinion about the products we personally use. If you are ever concerned about a baby's health please don't listen to anyone but a medical professional! xx