In Ayurvedic texts such as Samhita, the descriptions of tonics and the various types of medications are explained in detail. 'Kaumarbhratya', one of the eight branches of Ayurveda, is especially dedicated to the good health of children.
Immunity and Ayurveda
Long before the introduction of vaccinations, Kashyap Samhita, the Ayurvedic literature describes the natural ways to build the power of immunity in infants as well as children.. Referred to as 'Snehana', oil massage is one of the best ways to take care of the overall health of the infant. Massage with bala taila, oil specially formulated for infants, is the first therapy that should be given to newborns. Apart from increasing immunity, Snehana increases the mental capacity of the child.
In addition to oil massage, medicated bath is important to maintain overall health of the newborn. This ensures basic hygiene that is necessary to shield the child from diseases and infections. Therefore, the mouth of the babies, especially after breastfeeding, should be cleaned. Clean clothes, bedding and proper handling of the baby are also part of Ayurvedic childcare.
Ayurvedic Body Massage for Infants
Baby massage has been a long tradition in India. A cleansing massage is done with a soft ball made of wheat dough to which a little almond oil and a pinch of turmeric is added. The ball is dipped in almond oil just before using it for rubbing. This massage is given to the baby before bath for the first six days after birth. It enhances circulation, expulsion of toxins and stimulates the baby’s digestive system.
The baby massage with the dough ball is continued for 3 weeks. The dough ball should be dipped in oil many times to keep the 3 doshas of the body in proper balance. After the first three months massage is done with hands for another three months concentrating on the back, neck, waist, feet and hands to make them strong. The daily body massage then continues for 18 months. The massage of the spine is very important in infant massage. After this the massage can be given on alternate days.
Special Ayurvedic tonic for infants
An almond is soaked overnight and ground to a fine paste after removing its skin. This paste is mixed with one gram of honey and given to the baby when it is older than 4 months old. It is a good tonic for the mental and physical development of the baby.
Soak 2 to 3 dry dates in the morning and boil in 250 ml of milk in the evening till it becomes half in quantity. Cool, add honey and give the mixture to the child an hour before bed time. This is an excellent tonic for children as it builds Dhatus in the body, improves blood circulation and enhances the bowel activity. This is particularly helpful in the vata and pitta disturbances.
In babies abdominal pain is very common. It is also known as colic pain. The baby can be given the juice of ginger with a pinch of salt. The juice of basil (Tulsi) is also very effective.
Putting an anal suppository relieves constipation in babies and children