Naturopathic Medicine for Babies, Kids, and Teens

Dr. Miranda Wiley, ND

November brings National Child Day on the 20thand World Prematurity Day on the 17th(an event near and dear to my heart) and with school in full swing it feels like the perfect time to welcome all children big and small to Sage Clinic!

 

As an investment in your child’s bright future consider that if you have extended health benefits yourself then your child is eligible for their own annual naturopathic consult budget.  How wonderful is that?

 

Prevention is one of the six principles of naturopathic medicine so introducing your young family members to preventative health as early as possible is a great way to support their on-going growth and development throughout the years. Well-baby exams every few months during the first year or two of life when babies change SO MUCH provides an opportunity for us to do a physical exam and allows parents to ask their ND questions related to the current developmental stage of that child.

 

Questions and concerns don’t stop as your child ages.  With our understanding of optimal physiology, preventable and treatable pathologies, nutrition, gut health, hormone balance, and mental health support naturopathic physicians are equipped to support you and your children as you navigate the twists and turns of life.

 

Babies

During well-baby exams your ND can monitor length and weight to ensure that your baby is growing properly, check reflexes for neurological development, assess overall health, review developmental milestones, and answer the burning questions that parents almost always have as their baby grows.

 

Common questions from parents in the first year of life include:

  • Breast-feeding help and/or formula options
  • Teething support
  • Sleep support
  • Food introduction
  • Immune development (colds, ear infections, allergies)
  • Questions about supplementation (should my child take vitamin D? And if so, how much? What about fish oils?Probiotics? Other nutrients?)
  • Personal care baby products to minimize environmental exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds
  • Digestive health (Too many poops? Too few?  Does this poo look normal? How can I help my colicky baby?)
  • and the list goes on…

 

Children

As babies grow into toddlers, preschoolers, and school aged children developmental and behavioral concerns maybegin to show… keeping in mind that there is a stubbornness and obstinacy that is developmentally normal in toddlers as they explore (and repeatedly push against) boundaries!

 

Common questions and concerns for parents of toddlers and children:

  • Sleep issues
  • Digestive issues
  • Picky eating and increasing nutritional support
  • Skin health
  • Mood and behavior
  • Allergies
  • Learning curves and milestones

 

Mood and Behaviour

Small children are so malleable that identifying and intervening on potentially emergent ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder) or other concerns as soon as possible is in the entire family’s best interest. The benefits of naturopathic medicine can still be reaped if diagnoses are already in place, as these conditions, among others, may be triggered or exacerbated by underlying nutritional imbalances, digestive microflora dysfunction, toxic overload, and/or food sensitivities.

 

Addressing underlying issues early on may allow the child to either avoid medication entirely, or it may not but could allow their symptoms to be well managed on a low enough dose of medication that side effects are avoided.  Common side effects for ADD medications Adderall and Ritalin include anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, headaches, blurred vision, and digestive symptoms.  Finding the balance where your child or teen is able to focus in school and learn effectively without suffering from adverse effects from medication is an excellent goal.

 

Teens

Teenagers, no longer children but not yet adults either, can also be optimized on all levels through improvements to nutrition, detoxification pathways, gut flora, and digestion.

 

Common concerns in adolescence  – for the parent or the teen-aged patient themselves – include:

  • Nutrition (athletics, growth)
  • Skin health (acne)
  • Hormones (puberty, menses)
  • Focus and concentration
  • Digestion (again…it’s a very common theme in naturopathic practice!)
  • Anxiety, depression, sleep
  • Social health
  • Environmental health

 

Bottom line

Whether your sweet one is a babe in arms, a crawler, a toddler, a child, or a teen (or even if they are in utero or still in the preconception stage!) we would love to be a part of their comprehensive health care team during their development into healthy, balanced, thriving adults.

 

References:

https://www.rxlist.com/adderall-side-effects-drug-center.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31496103Accessed October 21, 2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31269890Accessed October 21, 2019

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31506005Accessed October 21, 2019

Walsh, W. Nutrient Power.  Skyhorse publishing 2012, 2014.

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