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Treating through the mother--prescription considerations for young infants.


Dawn Whitten BNat (Hons) IBCLC is a naturopath, herbalist and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has been in clinical practice for 14 years, mostly in busy apothecary and clinic settings where she has had the opportunity to work with many mothers and babies. She participates in peer-education and is passionate about sharing her lactation knowledge in the naturopathy field. Dawn is part of the collective running Goulds Natural Medicine, an apothecary and clinic, established in Hobart Tasmania in 1881. She also coordinates two units within the Evidence-based Complementary Medicine post-graduate program at the University of Tasmania.

Introduction: The young infant has immature kidney function, xenobiotic metabolism and gastrointestinal barrier function. They are immune naive. This presents a prescribing challenge. How can we safely and effectively treat infants under the age of five months with natural medicines? How can we first do no harm?

Focus of Discussion: This presentation will review aspects of the young infant's physiology, which may make them vulnerable to adverse reactions after oral ingestion of natural medicines and other substances. The therapeutic potential of working with the mother-baby dyad will be explored. Key prescribing goals will be discussed, including promoting maternal psychological wellbeing, microbiota health, and optimal nutritional status. Particular attention will be paid to at-risk nutrients. The evidence on strain-specific transfer of probiotics into the breastmilk will be reviewed and the potential for therapeutic herbal actions or specific constituents to be transmitted through the breastmilk will be considered. Safety implications will also be discussed.

Implications: The concept of treating the breastfed infant through the mother is not new, but perhaps sometimes forgotten in an era of heavy marketing of baby products. Contemporary insights into infant gastrointestinal development confirms the need for a precautionary approach to prescribing to this age group. Thankfully, many therapeutic action shave the potential to be transmitted through the mother, inviting us to return to this more cautious, and it could be argued more holistic approach.

Ms Dawn Whitten (1,2)

(1) Goulds Natural Medicine, Hobart, Australia, (2) University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

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Title Annotation:10th International Conference on Herbal Medicine
Author:Whitten, Dawn
Publication:Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine
Article Type:Report
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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