ControverSunday: Better living through chemistry?

by Ginger on September 19, 2010

in Mom Thoughts

Yup, it’s ControverSunday time again! You guys know the drill by now–if you want to play along, grab the badge from Accidents and then head over to amoment2think to get listed up. Post on Sunday, post on Thursday, or any other day you want, we’re not picky!


This week, we’re talking traditional and holistic medicines for kids. In the words of our lovely hostess:

What are your thoughts on what medicines you give your kids?  Are you loose and easy with the pediatric advil? Or do you prefer the holistic remedies for teething? Or, do you use nothing at all? Do you overload them with vitamin C at the first sign of a cold. Do you give your kids vitamins? Does your kids age matter? What is your take re: kids and medicines (and or supplements).

Friday night, Jackson woke up every two hours, screaming in pain. He’s cutting his first molars (on both the bottom and top on the left side) and holy hell are they killing him. His gums are red and super swollen. He’s not eating well. His cheek has been red and hot to the touch where they’re coming in.  He pulls at his ear and chews on his fingers and wakes up crying a lot from the pain.

You can bet your ass we’re playing fast and loose with the Motrin (or the generic equivalent) for him right now.*

But that’s about the only place that we’re so easy with the bottle. Beyond pain management, N.C. and I both are a little more wary about what we put in little J’s body–both traditional medicines and homeopathic options.  I personally am a big fan of traditional medication for myself, but when it comes to Jackson, I fall more in line with N.C.’s “the fewer drugs the better” mantra. That doesn’t mean we are ANTI medication, but just that we want to think through every situation and really assess options individually rather than always reaching for the bottle of meds, or pack of pills, or bundle of herbs.

In general, I’m open to the idea of homeopathic & natural remedies. But I won’t turn my back on traditional medications either. While both have benefits, they both have their problems for me. On the homeopathic side, there’s a lack of regulation and occasional concern over the ingredients.  On the traditional side there’s…well, regulation doesn’t mean problems don’t happen (everyone remember the big recall of Tylenol and Motrin products earlier this year? Yeah, that). And the ingredients in those meds can be a problem for those little bodies. It’s a balancing act between concern and helping(welcome to parenting).

We’ve been lucky so far that Jackson hasn’t needed many medications. We tried some gripe water & Mylicon when he was little for gas–neither worked, so those were both one time uses and no more. We tried teething tablets–those didn’t work, so ibuprofen and acetaminophen it is. Beyond that, we’ve only given Jackson 2 other medications: a topical cream for a skin issue he had when he was little and antibiotic eyedrops for an eye infection he had.

The issue of antibiotics is a tricky one for me. I think we vastly over-use antibiotics in western medicine. I’ve known doctors who prescribe antibiotics “just in case” for things that have no hope of being affected by them. I think over-prescribing just leads to resistance down the line, and when you start talking about starting babies on the path of all antibiotics, all the time, you’re starting that path of resistance early. I’d rather save the antibiotics for when they’re really needed than administer them at every turn.

But at the same time, antibiotics are, when used correctly and judiciously, a wonderful healing tool. In the case of Jackson’s eye infection, we debated using them for about an hour before we decided that the pros outweighed the cons. They cleared up his infection within 2 days. In that case, I feel we made the right decision. But again, we’re planning on looking at every individual incident on it’s own, rather than just making a blanket statement of “We’ll Always” or “We’ll Never”.

Choosing what medications, vitamins and homeopathic remedies to use for our kids seems to be a more weighty decision than many others. You have to balance your desire to keep your kids safe, healthy, pain-free, and comfortable with your own beliefs and concerns over the various options. Which is why I’m comfortable with our decision to weigh each issue independently, allowing us to determine on a case by case basis what we feel will be the best option–except for those pesky teeth. Those guys get the drugs every time.

*In case I need to clarify this–we’re following our doctor’s recommendation for dosage and timing. We may believe in better living through chemistry, but I am in no WAY going to mess with wrong dosages.

Tracy Lynn September 19, 2010 at 7:11 pm

My mom highly recommends frozen bagels for teething. I don’t have kids, because the screaming makes me stabby. I have cats, instead. They seldom scream, although they have occasionally played internet poker with my credit cards.

Seriously, I think the less meds you can give a kid, the better. You never know what might develop later, and I firmly believe that the body gets used to some of the stuff we take. I am not a believer in homeopathic stuff, but that is mostly because it never seems to work. And I totally meant it about the bagel.

Perpetua September 20, 2010 at 11:07 am

Gosh, somehow I forgot about gas drops as a “drug”. We rely on those to some degree when E just can’t work through his gas with his usual plan of squatting and farting. 🙂

Megan September 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm

This is pretty much my philosophy, too. We give her generic Tyelnol pretty easily and slather Baby Orajel all over her gums, but I’ve flat out ignored doctors when they’ve prescribed me allergy meds and the like for her when she was just a tiny baby. I don’t have problems with homeopathic stuff, but I’m more wary just because I don’t fully understand them or how to use them.

Gripe water did NOTHING for her colic, but then again, neither did anything else.

And, I’m so with you on the antibiotics. I went in to the doctor with a really sharp pain in my left breast, especially when nursing. All he could come up with was masititis. I assured him, I had had that before, and this was very different. I had no other symptoms. He was like, “Uh huh. Here’s your script for antibiotics. That’ll clear it right up.” Needless to say, I didn’t ever pick that prescription up.


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