Sleepless nights, as promised. Zombie-like, every hour or so, I reach for the little wriggler and stuff my boob in his mouth to ease the pain and comfort him back to slumber, avoiding the dreaded pink stuff – if possible.
I was given it, everyone else was given it, everyone continues to give it, and it is the brand synonymous with infant wellbeing: Calpol. They have cornered the market in baby medicine for years and most people pour it down without a thought – anything to shut the baby up. But aren’t there alternatives?
Our little boy was in agony with three teeth coming through at once, crying desperately, whimpering and clingy. It’s awful watching your child suffer, but this is part of life – part of growing up. I told myself if his fever goes much over 38°C I’ll do it, give him some Calpol, but I’ll do my best to bring his fever down naturally.
Why am I so bothered? Well, I think this blogger sums it up perfectly. I do not object to giving my baby paracetamol as a last resort (soluble Disprol is the purest approved option I’ve found, though it seems to have been discontinued), but I do object to unnecessary additives. If you want something less fussy, many pharmacy own brands provide fruit-flavoured medicines without all the Es.
Packaged food everywhere is full of processed rubbish, manmade chemicals, dangerous amounts of sugar and salt, preservatives, you name it… Oh, and guess what, most “medicines” are just the same. I wonder how much tax revenue pharmaceutical companies generate versus the cost to the NHS of repairing illnesses caused by adverse side effects. Does it pay to keep us poorly? I’d also be interested to find out which additives in processed foods are supplied by Big Pharma. Very interesting stuff, but that’s for another day.
What annoys me more than Calpol itself, is the way it has been adopted as the standard solution for any ailment – recommended by doctors, praised by parents. Ear ache: Calpol; tummy ache: Calpol; fever: Calpol; immunisations: Calpol; won’t sleep: Calpol. Really?
So what happened before Calpol? I can hear you now, “progress” brigade: “Infant mortality was much higher…” and the rest. But lots of babies also survived – that’s how we’re here. Funnily enough, people got by. They treated minor ailments themselves, usually using food or herbs and prevented a lot of illnesses before they occurred by living a life harmonious with nature.
The trouble today is that we think we know better. Do we? I’m not so sure. Sometimes, it’s best not to interfere. Our bodies are amazing, evolved with an immune system to protect us against disease. One of the reactions to infection is a fever, which shows the body is fighting it. If it’s not at a dangerous level, why suppress that?
The body also triggers messages to the brain to alert us to problems (which we feel as pain). And although paracetamol may numb that, it disguises the symptoms of illness, tricking you into thinking that everything is fine. Surely that in itself is more of a risk.
Disclaimer: The opinions stated in this post are my own and should not be taken as medical advice. I am not a scientist nor medical professional. If you have any concerns about medicating your child, please discuss them with your GP.