Using the power of Ayurvedic science to soothe your baby

Are you having trouble getting your baby (or toddler) to sleep through night? Does your baby seem to be fussy all the time?  Is your baby gassy or constantly getting diaper rashes? Are you having a hard time getting your baby to gain weight?  Has your baby gained too much weight?

We all know that every baby is unique, but some of these challenges can be very frustrating.  And if it seems like you've tried all of the mom advice you can get but nothing is working, the one thing you might be missing is Ayurveda.

Ayurverda is the traditional Hindu system of medicine.  It’s science is based on the idea that the body should always maintain a sense of balance.  When the body is in balance, you are well.  But when the body is out of balance, it becomes ill.  According to Ayurveda, the food you eat, oils you use and daily habits you maintain all help to either keep the body in balance or can throw the body out of balance. This science not only applies to adults, but babies as well.

So how can Ayurveda help with your baby? The answer is Ayurvedic constitution.

Ayurvedic constitution is the belief that everything in the Universe is comprised of different proportions of 5 elements - space, air, fire, water and earth.  Each of these 5 elements are further combined into pairs of elements called Dosha types (or Doshas). According to Ayurvedic science there are 3 Dosha types.

  • Vata – the combination of space and air
  • Pitta – the combination of fire and water
  • Kapha – the combination of water and earth

By determining your baby’s dosha type, you will know how to soothe, heal and feed your unique baby.  It will also help you better understand your child’s likes and dislikes, why your baby reacts differently to certain foods, and most importantly, ways to maintain their health and happiness.

Review the lists below.  Add up the total characteristics your baby exhibits for each Dosha type.  The Dosha type with the highest number of characteristics, is your baby’s Dosha.

Vata dosha characteristics:

  • Thin build
  • Happy and laughs a lot
  • Dry skin and hair, prone to eczema
  • Light sleeper
  • Light, delicate or inconsistent appetite
  • Not easily fearful of strangers
  • Great traveler
  • Has a hard time gaining weight
  • Colicky
  • Prone to gas, bloating or constipation

How to soothe a Vata baby:

  • Give a warm massage in the morning with sesame / almond oil
  • Serve only warm food and warm drinks
  • Swaddle well and avoid exposure to wind and cold
  • Keep baby on a regular sleep and eating routine
  • Play gentle, soothing music or sing to baby
  • Put to bed early (before 10 pm)
  • Encourage larger meals
  • Use sesame oil-based lotions and rash creams
  • Suggested foods for baby (or for mama if nursing):
    • YES: milk (served warm), honey, sugar, brown rice, wheat, oranges, bananas, avocados, grapes, cherries, peaches, melons, berries, plums, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, vegetables served cooked not raw (e.g. beets, cucumbers, carrots, asparagus, sweet potatoes), cardamom, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, mustard seed, nuts, tofu
    • NO. raw vegetables, barley, corn, millet, buckwheat, rye, oats / oatmeal, light fruits (e.g. apples, pears, pomegranates, cranberries), dried fruits (e.g. raisins), sprouts, cabbage, beans, coffee or caffeine

Pitta dosha characteristics:

  • Medium build
  • Red, sandy or light colored hair
  • Sensitive skin
  • Skin that burns easily
  • Strong appetite / eats often
  • Gets irritable when hungry
  • Active and loves to explore
  • Prone to skin rashes, irritations or eczema
  • Has temper tantrums often
  • Prone to diarrhea

How to soothe a Pitta baby:

  • Give a warm massage in the morning with coconut oil
  • Give cool baths
  • Avoid very warm / hot foods
  • Avoid very warm / hot environments
  • Take baby outside often for fresh air
  • Use coconut oil-based lotions and rash creams
  • Keep baby on a regular eating schedule – especially at noon
  • Suggested foods for baby (or for mama if nursing):
    • YES: milk, ghee, olive oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, sweet fruits (e.g. grapes, cherries, melons, avocados, coconuts, pomegranates, mangoes), asparagus, cucumbers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, okra, lettuce, green beans and zucchini
    • NO. yogurt, cheese, sour cream, buttermilk, honey, molasses, sesame oil, almond oil, corn oil, sour fruits (e.g. grapefruit, olives, papayas, pineapples, plums), hot peppers, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, radishes, spinach, ginger, cumin, pepper, fenugreek, clove, celery seed, salt, mustard seed, and cayenne pepper.

Kapha dosha characteristics:

  • Large build
  • Big, lustrous eyes
  • Thick, dark hair
  • Moist, soft skin
  • Slow or inactive / lethargic
  • Prone to coughs or colds
  • Gains weight easily
  • Generally calm and happy
  • Chubby
  • Prone to excess mucous and congestion

How to soothe a Kapha baby:

  • Encourage baby to play and crawl around often
  • Avoid cold and/or wet environments
  • Take baby outside often for fresh air
  • Use coconut oil-based lotions and rash creams
  • Put baby to bed early (before 10 pm) and wake early (before 6 am)
  • Suggested foods for baby (or for mama if nursing):
    • YES: Low-fat milk (served warm), light fruits like apples or pears, honey, beans, barley grain and millet grain.
    • NO. heavy fruit (e.g. bananas, pineapples, figs, dates, avocados, coconuts and melons), sugar, tofu, nuts, wheat, white rice, salt, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini.

Note: Ayurveda is a very intricate science. The above information is meant to be a very simplistic view of Ayurveda to help you quickly troubleshoot some of the challenges you might be experiencing with your baby/toddler.

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