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Home Remedies for Babies that Actually Work Or Grandma’s Emergency Checklist

Keeping a pharmacopeia of common items or over-the-counter items that can bring relief for ordinary day-to-day ills is just plain common sense. With that said, this list is not intended to replace advice from a doctor, nor is the writer in any way qualified as a medical person. This is for-your-information, one parent to another.

Diaper Rash

Prevention is your number one arsenal for this one.

  • It begins with changing the diaper as soon as it is wet or dirty. Don’t count on that “wicking moisture away from baby’s skin” bit that some disposable diaper companies use as a selling point.
  • Use cloth diapers and place the baby on a rubberized mat instead of using leak-proof covers. The covers trap moisture, which is part of the cause for diaper rash.
  • Use detergents that are scent and additive free to wash cloth diapers, and the rest of baby’s clothes. Rinse with vinegar, not bleach.
  • Relief after established
  • – A & D Ointment for most babies.
  • – Aloe for babies with extra sensitive skin.
  • – For babies with super sensitive skin, clean with warm water and place child on a rubberized mat covered with a receiving blanket and leave unclothed. Change blanket and mat as needed.

Fussy Baby Countdown

  • Check the diaper.
  • Offer food – formula or breast milk for infants. Baby food, drinks or finger food for older babies.
  • Cuddle and sing or talk to the baby. Sometimes it really is a desire for attention.
  • Watch body language. Does the baby flail arms or draw knees up to stomach? These are signs of distress, and possibly pain.
  • Check clothing for anything that could be irritating or painful
  • Offer food again, if accepted, burp by placing infant over shoulder and rubbing or gently patting back.
  • If refused, check for fever.
    • For babies younger than 2 months, call your physician right away if fever is over 100.
    • Three months and older, call the physician if the fever is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, persists more than three days or is exceptionally high
      • Fever helps:
        • children’s liquid Tylenol if approved by your pediatrician
        • Tepid sponge bath
        • Sips of distilled water
  • Check gums. Hard, swollen areas might indicate new teeth erupting. Teething helps include:
    • Rubbing the gums gently with a clean finger
    • Giving baby something cool to chew on
    • Baby Tylenol in doctor approved dosage
    • Nubbly teething toy – it massages and sooths the gums while encouraging the teeth to break through
  • If you haven’t found the problem, start again at the top to see if you’ve missed anything.

Things not to do with a fussy baby:

  • Shake the baby or respond in any aggressive physical way toward your infant.
    • If you are out of control, gently place your baby in a secure area, such as a crib, and walk away.Get a drink of water, take three slow deep breaths and let them out slowly. When you are under control check your baby.
    • Leave the baby to “cry it out.” Crying is a distress signal and can indicate something is wrong.
    • Dose with adult medicines or herbal preparations of any kind
    • Administer an alcoholic beverage

Minor cuts and scrapes

  • Wash the area with warm, soapy water, then rinse well.
  • Stop the bleeding by placing a clean cloth or even clean toilet paper over the cut
  • Apply a soothing protective ointment such as petroleum jelly or aloe vera gel
  • If the cut or scrape is large, cover with a protective bandage. If it is small, leave it open air


  • Place under cold running water
  • Apply ice
  • Sooth the area with aloe vera gel – from the fresh plant, if you have it, from a bottle without additives such as alcohol if you don’t
  • Open air if possible

Upset Stomach

A tummy that doesn’t feel well can come to anyone at any age. Since it can have multiple causes, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

  • Gassy tummy
    • Walking or movement. If the baby has the gassy tummy, walk around with the baby over your shoulder, gently patting or rubbing the back
      • Ask mommy, if the baby is breastfed, what she ate last. Chocolate is a big culprit for a baby upset tummy. Pepperoni pizza can also create problems for some people.
    • For older babies, sips of a clear, carbonated soft drink. The bubbles help with burping
  • Constipation
    • Doesn’t usually happen with breast fed babies
    • For bottle babies older than 1 month, try a little apple juice
      • If the problem persists, talk to your pediatrician about a formula change
    • Ease up on feeding solids until the problem resolves

Bee stings and insect bites

  • For minor stings and bites, make a paste of baking soda and apply it to the area
    • Avoid bathing in baking soda as it can sometimes irritate
  • Use an over-the-counter ointment that contains Benedryl
  • Apply ice to bring down swelling and stop spread of poison.
  • Be alert for signs of an allergic reaction:
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Severe swelling or painful itching
    • When in doubt, go to the emergency room. Better to feel silly and have an unnecessary bill than to make a mistake in the other direction.
  • For some types of bites, such as spider bites, use a drawing ointment
    • Don’t hesitate to get medical help if you suspect a spider bite
    • Prid is an otc drawing ointment that works very well
    • Cover to keep Baby from eating the ointment
    • Use bread and milk mixed into a paste if nibbling the poultice is a problem.

Plant Allergies

Begin with prevention. Do not encourage your child to run through tall grass or to come in contact with a lawn. Many children will develop something commonly called “grass itch” which is a moderate rash that often goes away in a few minutes. A bigger problem in our modern world might be the insecticide or herbicide sprayed on the lawn.

If a rash develops, try washing the area with a  solution of baking soda or tea. Caladryl is a good over the counter remedy. It is a combination of calamine and Benadryl lotion.

Animal Bites

As with many things, begin with prevention. Never leave your infant alone with the family pet and avoid introducing your baby to other people’s large dog or cat. If you have a large snake or exoticas pet, keep a closed, locked door between that animal and your baby. Teach older children how to behave respectfully around animals. Always supervise child/animal interactions, especially initial ones.

If your child is bitten by a cat, dog or other creature here are the immediate steps:

  • Remove child to safe place
  • Check extent and nature of injury
    • Minor injury, clean with soap and water
      • Call pediatrician
    • Moderate injury, clean with soap and water
      • Call pediatrician
      • Might need emergency room visit
    • Severe injury, call 911 – don’t hesitate
  • Catch and confine the animal
    • Consider the circumstances
    • Call vet to examine animal if it has been acting strangely
  • Pediatrician might want to administer a tetanus shot and prescribe antibiotics

A grandmother who has seven grandchildren and numerous pets remarked, “Children have incomplete thinking, and animals behave according to their natures. While many dogs and cats are nurturing toward human babies, they are still animals and might respond to the child in the same way they respond to their own young. When it comes to kids, it is a good idea to err on the side of caution. That goes for puppies, kittens, and other young, as well.”


When babies become toddlers, accidents happen, especially if your little one is a climber. For some kids it seems as if “up” is far better than down, but down can happen quickly with painful results. Prevention is always best, but if “oweys” happen, there are steps to take after.

  • Prevention
    • Retire the crib and provide your toddler with a  Big Kid bed that is low to the ground.
    • Avoid placing tall dressers in baby’s room.
    • Wait until school age for those fancy playroom bunkbeds.
    • Supervise! Supervise! Supervise! Ignore comments about helicopter parent. Those only apply to older children.
  • Intervention – the worst has happened. Your ambitious 18-month-old climbed out of his high chair (don’t ask—you don’t want to know) and followed the cat to the top of the refrigerator. Once there, the cat made a leap, and the baby tried to follow. OUCH!
    • Check your child. Look for:
      • Blood
      • Bones at odd angles
      • Broken skin
      • Large immediate swelling – especially on the head
      • If your child is unresponsive and there are no screams and crying, call 911.
    • Calm your child. (And yourself. Goodness! How did the baby get on the refrigerator?) When the initial sobbing and wails of terror are over:
      • Try to use a small penlight to check pupils. They should dilate and contract at a similar rate. If they don’t, call your pediatrician.
      • Mop up any blood. Clean scrapes, cuts, etc. with soapy water and assess the damage.
        • If there is a cut that won’t stop bleeding, call 911.
      • If a bump in forming on the head, check the scalp for softness.
      • Place ice on bumps or bruises. If you don’t have ice, a frozen bag of peas works really well.
      • Don’t hesitate to get your pediatrician in on the action. Falls from a height can have unforeseen consequences. Better to be seen as a bad parent than to have something happen to your baby.


From a snuffly, runny nose to feverish difficulty breathing, respiratory illnesses range from aggravating to scary for just about anyone. When you are a tiny person who must depend on others for just about everything, not being able to breathe properly is really upsetting. There are so many causes for the respiratory problems that it can be really difficult to make blanket statements for all of them. But here are some tips for snuffly nose days:

  • – Use an ear/nose syringe to remove mucous from baby’s nose. Wash the syringe with soapy water and dry well between uses.
  • – Have a box of the really soft facial/nose tissues on hand.
  • – A tiny bit of cooking oil can be used to treat chapped nostrils. Dampen your finger with it, and gently wipe over the affected area.
  • – Moisten the air with a cool-air humidifier – use with caution if your child has asthma
  • – Give sips of distilled water to moisten mouth between feedings
  • – Keep comfortably warm, but not overly hot
  • – Babies over age six months can have a little juice to help break up phlegm
  • – Check temperature periodically; consult your pediatrician if it begins to climb

Remember, the common cold will generally last two weeks if you medicate it, and fourteen days if you don’t. (Yes, that does work out to the same amount of time.) That can seem like a very long time with a fussy, grumpy baby that is having trouble breathing, but as long as it doesn’t progress much beyond a runny nose, waiting and relieving symptoms is often the best medicine.

Herbs and Babies

Babies are delicate. It might seem tempting to dose your infant with peppermint or chamomile, but these herbs can cause young babies some real problems. Keep in mind that even the mildest of herbs is real medicine and should be treated with the same respect as an over the counter drug.


Honey is a natural, unpasteurized product. It has the potential to cause infant botulism, which is potentially fatal. Although it works well as a cough syrup for older children, it isn’t a good idea for infants.

Pedialyte Ice Pops

Pour Pedialyte into a popsicle mold and freeze. Good for sore throats, hydration, and teething.

Bored Baby in a High Chair

Sometimes it seems as if your not-quite-mobile infant demands a lot of attention. To gain a few minutes to wash the dishes try placing a few dots of pureed baby food on a clean high chair tray. Encourage Baby to explore the texture and the way it smears around – think of it as early finger painting.



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