Sunday, June 10, 2012

Homeopathy for Helping Infants Sleep Better

This article is a guest post by Joette Calabrese. This is the third in a series on homeopathy for infants and children.

Do you hear that?  Me too.  It’s the tender sound of a baby sleeping.

But it wasn’t that way earlier.  You did everything you could think of to get the baby to stop screaming.

Then you found the remedy that fit her best; the suffering ceased and restorative sleep proceeded.
Take it from a mom who’s been there. There’s only one way to keep a babe from suffering painful effects of teething that is long lasting……the correct homeopathic remedy.

Let me introduce you to two powerhouse homeopathic remedies that no household should be without.

Chamomilla 30 is our #1 go-to remedy for babies who are having trouble sleeping.  This remedy is renowned for calming the discomfort and outright pain of teething, but we think of it anytime a child is extremely irritable and inconsolable.  Here are some other hallmarks:
·       Fractious
·       Often wakes with a scream, screech, or moan (from tooth pain)
·       Capricious.  They indicate they want something, but when offered, it’s thrown away in anger
·       Oversensitivity to pain, noises and such
When a parent tries to hold the Chamomilla baby close to comfort her, she often responds by pushing away, arching her back in frustration and anger.
Even a sibling’s gentle touch can set off a torrent of screaming.
Run your finger along the baby’s gums to check for teething.  If you can feel a tooth emerging, then Chamomilla 30 is likely the right remedy to help her sleep.
But remember that Chamomilla can work to calm children who fit this symptom picture even if they aren’t teething.
Give the remedy four times in one day for three to four days-- it will often be just enough  to witness marked improvement.
If the remedy initially helps the situation but symptoms return, resume giving the remedy, even if it’s days or weeks later. 
Seek the expertise of a homeopath if the remedy brings some relief, but doesn’t completely do the trick.  A higher potency may be needed to make the transition a permanent one.
Yes, permanent.  With the correct remedy in the appropriate potency, many moms have witnessed enduring resolution.

Nux vomica
Other babies who have sleeping difficulties may need Nux vomica 30When babies have been given medications such as antibiotics or Tylenol even months before, a disturbance of the central nervous system may cause insomnia. 

Don’t discount medications given to the mother at birth as an exciting cause for the baby’s sleep troubles.  Thankfully, Nux is the premier remedy for clearing out harmful substances from the body. 

Babies needing this remedy often awaken at three or four in the morning and can’t get back to sleep.  Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, or an alternation of the two may also present.

Another apparent sign pointing towards Nux vom is irritability.  If you select Nux vom for your baby, offer it in the same manner as with Chamomilla. Whichever remedy you choose, stay with it until you’ve given it a four-dose chance.

Now that the baby’s asleep, you can get a restful night yourself, knowing that you cured your baby without harmful drugs. It’s enough to make a mom want to shout it to the world……but not ‘til morning.

Joette Calabrese, HMC,CCH,RSHom is a homeopath and mom who has depended solely on homeopathy and nutrition in raising her family without a single drug….ever! If you find this kind of information valuable, consider joining Joette’s 12 month system, How to Raise a Drug Free Family by visiting, or contact her office at 716.941.1045.  Lots more free tips like these at


Megan said...

Good to know! I've given my 3 yr old Chamomilla many times - she seems to fit the profile...but my 7 month old may be a little different. Since he's entered the teething arena, I'm trying to figure out what may best suit him. :D

Katrina said...

I use Boiron chamomilla 30c. How many pellets is a dose for a one year old?

Sarah Smith said...

I use the split-dose technique where you dissolve 2 pellets in 1/2 cup water and then just give the kids 1-2 tsp (rather than taking the pellets directly). This method is helps in reducing the likelihood of any aggravations from the homeopathic medicines (which my family seems to be especially prone to).

Joette Calabrese said...

Great advice, Sarah! Some parents prefer to drop several pellets directly on the baby's tongue, but either way delivers results.

Kathy Caputi said...

If only I had known about homeopathy when my children were infants! Thanks to what I have learned from you about homeopathy, my adult children will be spared the anguish when their own children begin teething. My remedy chest is stocked, and I'll be well-prepared to treat my future grandchildren. Bring it on!!

Elizabeth said...

I have had great luck with Chamomilla for teething issues. I also like using cell salts like Calc Phos and Kali Phos to help them wind down!

Renita Herrmann said...

Hylands Teething Tablets were my son's first remedy! He drooled considerably but sailed through it! Great article, thanks.

Little Natural Cottage said...

I was blessed to discover homeopathy when our third child (now 4 yrs old) was an infant. It is a wonderful tool for keeping children happy, healthy, and thriving!

Do you EVER recommend using Tylenol for children? I rarely, rarely use it, since I find that I rarely need it. I would value your input on this issue.

Sarah Smith said...

I personally do not ever use Tylenol or any other conventional pain relievers. We don;t even have any in our home. Fevers are the body's way of speeding up healing (there is GREAT info about this in the book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor):

I only ever tried using a pain reliever once, when my daughter was 1 and had a fever of 104. It made her throw up. Since then, I've just let all of her fevers/aches/pains run their course (although I do use immune boosters like garlic and cinnamon honey, plus homeopathics).

Anonymous said...

If I give my 12-month-old Nux vomica (I have the Boiron pellets), how much would be the proper dose? I do like to dissolve in water instead of giving the pellets directly, since they contain sugar. But I'm wondering how many pellets. My little one did have an antibiotic and pain relievers as an infant due to having surgery - I hated that we had to use those things, but it seems we didn't have a choice due to the surgery. At any rate, after reading this post, I'm interested to know if those things could still be causing trouble all these months later. Sleep has definitely been an issue, and waking in the middle of the night has been happening recently. I think it has to do with teething, as well as reaching developmental milestones, which seem to interfere with sleep as well. But after reading this, I'm wondering if the medications could have affected the brain; actually, I've wondered this before as well, but haven't had any good information about what to do about it. I have given Boiron's camilia drops for teething and crying/upset, but have not tried Nux vomica. I think I also am not giving the dose long enough. That is, if there is a crying/irritable episode, I give the camilia drops, but don't follow through with a set schedule of 3 more doses. Ah, I wish I were skilled at these things!

Another commenter above mentioned using cell salts to help little ones wind down. Sarah, do you have any experience with or knowledge of this? This is a huge part of my issue, as my baby gets so wound up even though he is SO tired, and it's hard to go to sleep and stay asleep.

Sarah Smith said...

I use just one pellet with my kids. I dissolve it in water, then give them 2 tsp of the water by mouth. Discard the remaining liquid.

In learning more about homeopathy myself (I've been actively studying it over the last two years), I actually don't follow these guidelines about giving the remedy so many times each day for several days. Rather, I give it only if it is needed. So I may give a few doses at first, but as soon as improvement is seen, I stop giving more remedy. At that point I watch and wait. This method is described by the founder of homeopathy in his Organon of the Medical Art 6th edition (Samuel Hahnemman). He always recommends using the minimum amount necessary, and not to continue giving a remedy once improvement is happening. This is because the purpose of homeopathy is to stimulate the body to heal itself; once that process is already underway, more remedy could actually have negative affects. With the watch-and-wait method, I know it is time to give further remedy only if there is a plateau (where the symptoms stop getting better for a period of time) or if there is a regression in symptoms.

Camilia is a combination homeopathic medicine, which does not work in the same way as single remedies. The combination remedies (such as Camilia or Teething Tablets) have more than one remedy in very low potencies. This can provide temporary relief, but not lasting cure. Using single remedies (such as Nux Vomica or Chamomilla) in a 30 potency is different in that it has the potential to provide lasting cure once the body is stimulated to fix itself. Cell salts are homeopathic remedies, but they are typically given in lower potencies. I myself have limited experience with them, as I find that single remedies given in higher potencies (such as 30c) work better.

But, with single remedies, you need to be sure that the particular remedy applies specifically to your child's symptoms. Whereas people use the combination remedies for any teething, the single remedy Chamilla would be used only for babies that fit the Chamomilla picture: very irritable, wanting to be carried around, very sensitive to pain, sometimes with one cheek red and the other pale. Nux vomica, on the other hand, would specifically be for a baby who is irritable and has accompanying digestive issues (such as feeling worse after eating) and can also work well for ailments brought on by exposure to conventional medicines.

Anyhow, I hope this helps. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor or healthcare professional, but just a mom who is doing lots of research and is happy to share. If you want a book to help with selecting single remedies for your child, I would recommend Dana Ullman's Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants. In the teething section of that book, for instance, in addition to Chamomilla, there are several other remedies listed as well.

Anonymous said...

My 4 month old just started teething and has been extra irritable lately and has had digestive issues since birth. I was GBS positive so I received 3 IV doses of antibiotics during labor. He is exclusively breastfed but still has reflux and bad gas. I've eliminated foods which didn't seem to make much difference so I just think his digestive system just needs to mature. I am giving him a dose of probiotics daily which also seem to be helping (Klaire Labs Infant Probiotic). I tried Chamomilla (for teething) which didn't do anything. Yesterday, I gave him Nux Vomica and he seems to be doing better...definitely falling asleep easier. I'm just not sure how often to give it to him though. I usually only give him one tablet (Hylands Nux Vomica 30x)...usually before or during a feeding and nap/bedtime. I don't want to give him too much and render it ineffective but I also want it to keep working b/c it seems to be helping. What signs should I look for to know when to stop giving it to him? He hasn't had a bowel movement in 2 days so I'm hoping it helps with that too. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! So glad I randomly found your blog!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much!!

Anonymous said...

My baby is 8 weeks old, he suffers with silent reflux, he is currently on gaviscon but doesn't seem to be helping. I've just read up on nux vomica. Is this any good for that and can he have it at such a young age? I don't want to be trying 101 different things off the doctor as reading up on it all shows that it only works for a short length of time

Sarah Smith said...

Homeopathic remedies can absolutely be used on young children, and they do work amazingly well. BUT, they will not work well while being used in conjunction with conventional medicines (such as the Gaviscon). As to which particular remedy would work: homeopathic remedies have to be selected individually for each person and their specific symptoms. While some ailments (such as teething) are fairly easy to figure out, other issues such as reflux need a more detailed remedy selection. Proper remedy selection takes into account the totality of the person's symptoms, personality, physical ailments, emotions/behaviors and then finds a remedy that matches ALL of those aspects. This is something that needs to be done by a classically trained homeopath.

Anonymous said...

My 13 month old is an awful sleeper. Has been since day one! Last night for example is a typical little boy went to bed at 8pm, he goes over to sleep fine most nights but the he wakes at roughly 11pm then about 1am. He can be awake for between 5 mins or 30 mins. and is up for the morning at between 3 and 4 am. He is then in a real grump and very restless but won't go back to sleep. He usually has two naps, one about 11am for about an hour and then at about 2pm for about 45 mins. He is hyper all day long and it is just so tiring for both of us...especially when I am so tired cos then I'm not in the best mood for the rest of the day :-( I just want to try something that may help him have a good nights sleep! Without asking my gp for advice as I think they would just frown upon it???

Sarah Smith said...

If none of the remedies described in the article above seems to fit for your son, you may want to consider constitutional homeopathic treatment. It seeks to correct the underlying imbalance that causes the sleep problems in the first place (and also works on all levels at one: mental, emotional, and physical symptoms). My son, who was a very poor sleeper from birth, has benefited greatly from constitutional homeopathic treatment. His sleep had degraded so that by the time he turned 2 years old, he was waking up EVERY hour all night, every night. Now through homeopathic treatment, he sleeps from 9:30PM until around 5AM straight every night (and the treatment also healed his chronic constipation/painful BM's, eczema, and temper tantrums).

Anonymous said...

Hi my son is 7 months old 10 days back mid night he wokeup with temperature...cried n the vomited.
Give alopathy medicines for 5 days... nows hes got running nose both watery n sometimes thick green discharves...gases...bad odour potty cold cough n is vomitting after most of his meals pls suggest suitable medicine

Sarah Smith said...

Sorry, it doesn't work this way. Selection of the correct homeopathic remedy is much more nuanced than just knowing a few random symptoms. Homeopathy could probably help, but you need to actually talk to a homeopath to discuss many details in order for the correct remedy to be chosen.

Vera Volfson said...

As a homeopath I do not ask a person to discontinue conventional medication. I find a remedy that matches the person and when she/he feels better she can discuss discontinuing the medication with her doctor who prescribed it. Many people are on medications but still can be helped by homeopathy. I agree with Sarah that homeopathic remedy will work better if a person is not using conventional medication but homeopathic remedy will still be useful and can provide relief.
Vera Volfson, CCH

Anonymous said...

I'm only new to this area of homeopathy so any help or advice is most welcome. My 6 month old baby boy is a terrible sleeper. He wakes most nights 3 or 4 times....Sometimes more! Is there anything you can recommend to help? He hasn't got any teeth yet but has been sucking on fingers for a couple of months now. He's a very pleasant baba otherwise but I am going back to work soon and couldn't function on this little sleep. He is breastfed with 1 bottle of formula at night.

Sarah Smith said...

It sounds like your son would benefit from constitutional homeopathic treatment. Because homeopathy is very individualized, I would have to know much more about him to select a remedy. But homeopathy also works amazing because of that individualization.

Sarah Smith said...

Keep in mind that I am not a doctor or licensed healthcare practitioner. That being said, with all homeopathic remedies, you should always take the least number of doses; these remedies work by stimulating the body to fix itself, so once that process is underway there is no need to take more remedy. This means that once you see a noticeable improvement you stop taking the remedy and then watch-and-wait to see if any more remedy is needed (as evidenced by any regression of symptoms or a plateau where the symptoms get better to a point but then stop improving). So it is best to err on the side of too few doses rather than giving a remedy repeatedly when it is not needed.

You may also want to look into constitutional homeopathic treatment. It treats the totality of symptoms and stimulates the body to cure itself permanently (whereas acute prescribing like you are doing with the 30x potencies generally has more of a temporary affect). In constitutional treatment, your son's constipation, gas, reflux, irritability, and all other aspects of his emotional/mental/physical health/health history would be taken into account to find the one remedy that best matches all of his symptoms. This process is quite nuanced, so it can only be done by an experienced classically-trained homeopath.

Bridget Schulman said...

What dose of Nux Vomica 30c would I give my 6 week old? She has bad acid reflux and trouble sleeping. We've been giving her Nat Phos 6x but wanted to add the Nux Vomica. Thanks!

Sarah Smith said...

Hi Bridget,
It is not a good idea to use more than one homeopathic remedy at a time. If the Nat Phos is working, then stick with that. If it is not working, then discontinue it before starting a different remedy.

If it were my newborn, with a 30c potency I would try one dose then watch-and-wait for 2-3 days. If there is no obvious change (positive, negative, or new symptoms), then I would try another dose. If no change is seen within 4 doses, then I would stop that remedy as it is not the right one. If there is a positive change, I would watch to see how long it lasts and not give further doses until there is regression.

If there is a negative change, I would watch to see if there is improvement following the negative reaction (and absolutely not give more doses while there is any negative effect). A negative change can indicate that the dose was too strong, so I would modify further doses to make them less strong.

Bridget Schulman said...

Thank you so much for your advice. Baby has been off of the Nat Phos for a couple of months now and the reflux has definitely gotten better, however she is still a terrible sleeper. She's 3 1/2 months old now and wakes up every hour to hour and a half at night, all night long. She's just restless at night. I was going to try the Nux Vomica with her now. Does 1 dose = 1 tablet dissolved? Would you recommend the chamomilla instead? Thanks again!

Sarah Smith said...

There are many different remedies that may help an infant sleep. The way you know which one to use is to look at the specific characteristics associated with each remedy. For instance, Chamomilla is often used when the baby is extremely irritable and fractious. Nux Vomica is often indicated when the problem started after using medications/drugs. Those are just some of the many different factors, so if neither of those seems to fit, then I would not use either of those remedies but would instead seek more individualized treatment (such as constitutional homeopathic treatment) which would look at what specific symptoms/behaviors the baby is exhibiting and then pick a remedy based on those.

Tulika said...

My 13 months Daughter wakes up crying every night. It has increased lately not sure if it is coz of teething but otherwise also she was not a good sleeper
• Cries and sit or stand up on crib Crying.
• When taken on shoulder sleeps but for some time keeps moaning.
• keep sobbing/moaning in sleep and Some time goes back to sleep when I pat or say mama-mama or give pacifier but some days it doesn’t work and cries louder.
• Even sleeps very lightly when napping and wakes half way through crying.
• In night too much rolling all over the bed. Gets up and sleep back on different side or different place/location. Sleeps there for 1-2 minutes and then again gets up and changes location
• When is light sleep, Hates to have his blanket on her.
• Sleeps when I pat and say mama – mama or swing the crib slowly.
• Sleeps every night while having milk. Sleeps nicely of first 1-2 hours and then the problem starts.
She had reflux and gas issue as baby.

Plz help

Sarah Smith said...

This is not a forum for free homeopathic consultation. Individualized treatment (such as constitutional homeopathic treatment) takes into account much more than just the info you have provided and is not trivial as it takes a significant amount of time to select each individual's remedy.

Tulika said...

Thanks Sarah, I went to doc and she suggested Passiflora Incarnata MT 5 drops daily and calcaria carb 5 pills just 1 night.

Anna said...

Hi Sarah,
I'm just you mean a dosage of 30c or 30x?
Many thanks,

Sarah Smith said...

Either 30c or 30x will likely work fine, if it is the right remedy.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my 4 month old little girl sounds like a Chamomilla baby! She has trouble linking sleep cycles and when she gets upset really doesn't seem to want a cuddle to calm her down. I'm thinking that Chamomilla 30 would be very beneficial for her, how would I go about administering? Many thanks x

Healthy Times said...

thank you for the article. What if the baby is active at night, nurses a lot but does not go into a deep sleep. 9 months old, is very active during the day, meaning crawls and wants to keep moving, eats well but somehow does not go into a good deep sleep. I am concerned that he should be resting more deeply. He is not capricious. Usually in a great mood and playing.

Sarah Smith said...

There are many different remedies that may help an infant sleep. The way you know which one to use is to look at the specific characteristics associated with each remedy. For instance, Chamomilla is often used when the baby is extremely irritable and fractious. Nux Vomica is often indicated when the problem started after using medications/drugs. Those are just some of the many different factors, so if neither of those seems to fit, then I would not use either of those remedies but would instead seek more individualized treatment (such as constitutional homeopathic treatment) which would look at what specific symptoms/behaviors the baby is exhibiting and then pick a remedy based on those.

In my own (small) homeopathic practice, I've seen constitutional homeopathic treatment work very well in improving babies' sleep. Let me know if you are interested in consulting with me by emailing me at nourishedandnurtured[at]gmail[dot]com.

Healthy Times said...

thank you Sarah for answering, this is for my grandson and will be observing him more, also ask the parents if they want to do constitutional consulting. I very much appreciate the blog and info on it.