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From Ashley Foxx on Have you read any of these books to your little one?

Healing An Ear Infection, Naturally

My girl’s daughter is suffering with an ear infection, and as I was texting her about what we did for Babygirl, I realized that I never actually wrote about anything beyond our struggles with getting her to take meds (hint: make her your helper).

Per our amazing go-to sick guide, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Infants & Children, we did a few things to make her feel better and help her clear the infection. In all, it took 24 days from diagnosis to the “all clear,” and she had a fever for 48 hours before we took her in. We used amoxicillin for ten days, on the advice of the doctor at the urgent care center. If we had to do it again, we might not have gone that route—I think her doctor would have skipped it—but it is what it is. Anyway, when we took her in after ten days, her left ear was still a mess. We decided to give it time to heal without another course of meds, and bring her back in two weeks, at which time it had cleared completely.

In the meantime, we had already started other treatments within a day of the antibiotic. We used:

-Ester-c With Citrus Bioflavonoids. This Vitamin C is in a powdered form, because I couldn’t swallow the huge pills. I drink it in orange juice and pass it to her via breast milk. One dose has 1500 mg of Vitamin C. We also continued our daily regimen of having berries with our breakfast every morning, as they are high in Vitamin C. Here is a list of foods that are high in this vitamin, which has been proven to help boost immune system function.

-ChildLife Essentials Echinacea. It’s made for kids, vegan and has no alcohol in it; it uses orange oil for flavor. For kids 1 to 12, the recommended dose is 10 drops four times a day. We put it in her water and she loves the taste. For ongoing immune support, you can give it three times a week.

-Culturelle Probiotics For Kids. The antibiotic stripped her of her good gut bacteria and she had diarrhea within a day of starting them. We immediately started this probiotic to fight back. I give her half a packet, twice a day. It’s tasteless, but it doesn’t dissolve well in water, so I put it in a tiny amount of water, suck it into the syringe, and let her help me put it in her mouth. 

Health, Blended

As I wrote earlier today, Babygirl has an ear infection. We’re giving her amoxicillin, per the doctor’s suggestion, but it’s not the only thing we’re doing. I don’t have a problem with traditional medicine, but I do know from experience that it’s not the only way to handle health issues. So as soon as we confirmed the infection, I opened my awesome medical reference to see what else we can do to soothe the beast living in her left ear. Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Natural and Conventional Treatments for Infants & Children is exactly what it sounds like—a book that gives all treatment options for any ailment you can imagine, so you can make your own choice about the best way to treat your child. It’s kinda perfect, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to blend the best of alternative and conventional medicine for their children.

Labels, Food

I’m not so big on labels. Whether it’s people or clothing, they don’t matter much to me. And it’s always amusing when folks label me. One of the things that frustrates folks most when trying to put me in a box is the way I eat. I gave up meat and dairy four years ago, but I still eat seafood. It’s neither strict vegan nor vegetarian nor pescatarian. If I had to label it, I’d call it Cheatin’ Vegan. It really boils down to eating lots of produce and beans. I added eggs when I was preggers to help meet my daily protein counts—I kept track for a week and found that the magic 75 grams was elusive on most days. I’m still nursing, so I’m still eating them, though without cheese, the magic is gone. :-)

Why did I move to this hard-to-pin-down diet? I read Skinny Bitch on the suggestion of my then-editor, Mimi Valdes, back when I was at Latina. It was originally published in 2005, so you probably already know this, but it’s not really a diet book. In fact, it’s not about being skinny at all. It’s really about how your body handles processed foods and foods derived from animals, and it pushes a vegan lifestyle, all with plenty of colorful language (hence the bitch in the title). I got three chapters in and yelled to my hubby that I was done eating meat. Cold (tofu) turkey. 

It’s never been difficult for me; I truly don’t miss meat. I think the fact that I have fish once or twice a week helps. Hubby has always been supportive, but he really wanted me to eat meat when I was pregnant. Luckily, after our 18-week ultrasound revealed that Babygirl was growing quite well, he stopped nagging me.

But of course the outside world didn’t. As is always the case when you’re pregnant, everyone has an opinion about how what you’re doing is wrong and dangerous for your baby. And it hasn’t stopped—I literally had someone tell me that I was going to kill my baby if I didn’t feed her meat, because her strict vegetarian friend’s kids were malnourished. Sigh. I just explained to her that meat is not necessary for a healthy diet, but that you have to work with your child’s pediatrician to be sure you’re giving them everything they need, because kids have different dietary needs than their grownup counterparts. 

At this point, Babygirl eats everything I eat, minus the fish. But that changes tomorrow at lunch—she will have her first taste of fish, a bland piece of tilapia I baked for her yesterday. Here’s hoping she loves it!

What have well-meaning (and not so well-meaning) folks told you about the way you choose to feed your child? How did you handle it? 

I’m Kenrya Rankin Naasel, a lifestyle + parenting expert who—after much prodding from her friends—decided to share her hippie-dippie Black chick mama life.