What is the most annoying part of having a toddler–other than having a walking source of every type of germ out there and the resulting sicknesses that inevitably follow? Treating those sicknesses! Anyone with young kids can attest to the fact that having a sick child is rough. With sleepless nights, a child that wants to be held constantly, and no childcare, it can be quite exhausting. And if you have a paranoid family like ours, you may also get excluded and uninvited from anything and everything for at least a week (sometimes 2 or 3). But I digress.
So, after surviving pretty much every illness out there in these last few months, I decided to write about what works best for us. Our tried and true treatment in so many circumstances for our 2 year old (since she turned 1) has simply been: Chamomile tea with a little honey.
My daughter came down with hand foot and mouth disease a few months ago and she was miserable. She wouldn’t eat (not to mention she had just recovered from a GI bug), she would hardly drink, and she was waking up in the night hurting. So, as we do with most illnesses, I pulled out the chamomile.
To make her “tea,” as my daughter calls it, I use just enough water to cover the chamomile bag (or tea holder if you have the flowers), and about 1/2 tsp of honey. I steep the tea bag for at least 2 minutes, mix in the honey, and then I pour about twice the amount of rice milk–enough to cool the tea down to warm instead of hot, and to mask some of the flavor. My daughter loves her “tea” when she’s sick. She will actually ask for it throughout the day. And, low and behold, the chamomile helps tremendously with HFMD! It is soothing and helps her sleep through the night.
After recovering from HFMD and once people were finally willing to see us again, our poor child came down with the nasty coughing cold virus that seems to be making its rounds this year. Coughing is rough with a toddler. Not only are they not quite old enough to take cough medicine, but they also (for the most part) do not yet know how to blow their nose well enough to clear the mucous out and slow down the cough. And a nose bulb or even a nose frida can only help to a limited extent.
Chamomile and honey, however, is a tremendous natural remedy for a cough. During the worst of the cold, I gave my daughter chamomile tea a few times a day. I made it weaker during the day than at night, but it worked just as well. We saw an UNMISTAKABLE difference in her cough. Everyone around us who had this cold had a horrible cough–and don’t get me wrong, my daughter had quite the cough as well. However, for the 2 weeks that the cold lasted, EVERY time I gave her tea, the amount of coughing drastically slowed down. When I was not able to give her the tea every few hours, without fail, the cough came back with a vengeance.
At one point, I tried a few other methods to help her cough, thinking maybe I should chill out with the chamomile. I tried just honey. I tried Zarbee’s (which is basically just honey anyway). None of it worked. The honey may have helped a tiny bit, but the Zarbee’s was useless in our case. But after my daughter’s doctor recommended continuing to use chamomile, we went back to our tried and true method; and as usual, it worked. She slept through the night, and she was able to make it through the day without much coughing.
I truly find it amazing that we have been given this plant that is so soothing for a little one, when they are too young for medicine. Without this little help, we would have had a MUCH harder time! It’s the little things… Those little blessings.
Other than just colds, however, chamomile is a HUGE help with headaches and teething pain as well. With allergies at 2, my daughter gets allergic conjunctivitis, stuffiness, and the accompanying sinus headaches fairly often at times. Now, chamomile is not a cure all, so it obviously does not help with a stuffy nose or conjunctivitis; there are other methods to ease those symptoms, such as nose cleaning with saline and eye drops. But nothing helps my daughter’s headaches as much as chamomile tea.
We have recently had a few nights where my daughter was lying in bed crying, saying her eyes and her head hurt. We try giving her Tylenol, but she just can’t get to sleep. She tries. And then she cries again. But when we give her chamomile with Tylenol, she is always able to fall asleep. The same has applied to teething pain. After my daughter turned 1 (when it was safe to use honey), we realized how great a help chamomile could be to help her sleep, and it has been our go to for nighttime teething for quite some time.
DISCLAIMER: Chamomile has worked great for us, and has been approved by my daughter’s doctor for use. However, there are varying opinions on its use and the safety of it. So please ensure that your child’s doctor is aware of your decision to try using it, and please understand that I am only writing based on personal experience, I do not claim any medical expertise in the matter. But if you are able to confidently use chamomile for your little one, it is a very helpful tool for your toolbox!
Give it a try, and please share your experience if it helps!
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