Ayurveda has dealt comprehensively with the lifestyle of parents seeking a healthy progeny. In fact, it is in accordance with the principle of Ayurveda, that rather than treating diseases, ways to promote health is of prime importance. Current day lifestyle and diet has been linked to many diseases occurring in newborns. Simultaneously, Ayurveda has also addressed the health issues of newborns through its simple and safe treatment measures.
During the developmental period in the mother’s womb, the feotus is dependent on the nutrition derived via the umbilical cord. Mothers’ lifestyle and diet directly influence the growth achieved by the baby during this period. Once the child is born, the umbilical cord is cut off and due septic care of the navel region is warranted in Ayurvda to prevent infection.
Care of newborn
First cry is an important benchmark of a new born child. This event ensures proper blood circulation in the baby and any delay in crying may lead to hypoxic effects on the brain of the child. Once born, the baby should be taken care of in clean surroundings with proper daylight and ventilation. The body of the baby should be anointed with sesame oil or castor oil mixed with rock salt. Powders of green gram, groundnut, kurunthotti, kanjikottam etc. or paste of chemparathi, vellila, neeruri etc. can be used externally to remove the oil from the baby’s body. The baby should also be given bath in light luke warm water.
Breast milk is the primary diet in this stage. The child should be fed at regular intervals according to its need. In case of scarcity of breast milk, mothers should eat fenugreek seeds, fried in ghee or uluvakanji. A milk decoction of paalmuthukku, sathavari, paruthi and kovalli is recommended to the mother for the same purpose. A linctus can be prepared out of chuvannulli (shallots) and jaggery and can be consumed along with coconut gratings. In extreme situations, child may be fed with dilute goat’s milk or cow’s milk.
Sufficiency of breast milk suggests no other diet except for fresh butter for the child till the 56th day. Then onwards, kunnankaya or kannankaya (skin removed) ground with varattumanjal, muthanga, thechippoo and thumbappoo and dried thereafter can be given as puddings (with milk/buttermilk) according to the appetite of the child. The daily anointment of the body during this period can be done with coconut milk or virgin coconut oil.
Juice of brahmi, muthil or kaippa can be given to the child daily in small quantities. This will clear the digestive system and the vocal cord. Svarnapraasha (pure gold with vayambu, erattimadhuram, ghee and honey) is recommended daily to prevent toxic effects and promote the functioning of cardiovascular and neurological systems.
Up to six months, dietary grains are not generally recommended. Njavara or navadhanya powders can be served as puddings (with milk/buttermilk) after the sixth month.
Few common ailments and their management are summarized below: –
- 2 drops of panikkoorkayilaneeru mixed with 6 drops of honey should be administered at regular intervals
- Vayampu ground in kaippayilaneeru and can be applied over the tongue
- Gorochanadi gulika powdered and mixed with thulasiyilaneeru and honey should be administered frequently
- Vomiting, diarrhoea and fever
- Decoction of koovalaveru, kothambalyari, malaru and chukku mixed with honey can be administered frequently
- Gopeechandadi gulika mixed with breast milk is also good
- Skin ailments
- Kaishikeemadhukadi, mahatiktakam, trayantyadi kashayam can be had internally
- Eladi, neelidaladi, aranyadi, chemparathyadi and coconut oil can be applied externally
- Daily intake of rice bran, njavara and turmeric is recommended
- Delayed milestones
- Juice of Muthil, karimuthil, brahmi, kudangal can be taken internally
- Disturbed sleep
- Fresh juice of aruthyila or pachamanjal can be had to solve this issue
(None of the above medicines should be consumed without direct medical supervision)
Health is the hallmark of every living being and care of health begins right from birth.
Ashtavaidyan Dr.V N Vasudevan Nambudiri,
Physician and Factory-in-charge,
Vaidyamadham Vaidyasala and Nursing home,