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Natural remedies worked for my baby

Maruska Slater (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Like many, Maruska Slater was sceptical about the value of natural remedies. But, she became a huge fan after she saw what they did for her two-month-old child, last year.

Mrs Slater was driving home when her car was hit from behind on Harbour Road.

“The car drove into us at full speed and we hit the bicycle and a few cars in front of us,” said Mrs Slater, who moved to the island from the Czech Republic seven years ago.

When she looked back, her infant daughter had turned “white like a ghost”, her son, 4, was crying and the family dog had been thrown to the floor.

She took them to the Emergency Room and was assured that nothing was wrong.

“My daughter seemed fine, but two days later she just stopped drinking. She was fussing; she wouldn’t latch,” Mrs Slater recalled. “When she did, she was arching and pulling away. Going on the third day and fourth day, she still wasn’t interested in eating. She was barely two months old and it was really hot.

“I was getting really concerned and very worried.”

Her paediatrician diagnosed silent reflux, however, Mrs Slater was hesitant to medicate as she’d been down that road with her son.

“I was afraid that she would be on it for a while,” she said. “When you get on Zantac, you tend to have to raise the medicine because as they grow, they get more tolerant.”

It was while she was searching for another option that a friend recommended homeopath Mel Dupres.

“I met her that day and, after detailed conversation, Mel was confident that besides possible silent reflux she also suffered a trauma from the car accident that she hadn’t overcome.”

Ms Dupres recommended a “quick fix” called Aconite, available from the pharmacy.

“She said, ‘Take it, wait half an hour, and then breastfeed.’ It was really strange. I always kind of believed in homeopathy and thought it was wonderful in many ways, but I was still kind of sceptical.

“I took the Aconite and waited half an hour. I’m not making this up — she stayed on the breast for 20 minutes and drank and drank. After that, she went to sleep for two-and-a-half hours.”

Ms Dupres had predicted the reaction: With the right medicine, the body responds with sleep, in order to heal itself.

“Within a few days the fussing, arching and silent reflux slowly disappeared,” Mrs Slater said.

She accepted another remedy for herself. With a sick dog, a broken car and a baby who wouldn’t eat, it had been “a very hard few days”.

“I was under a lot of stress, but as a mother-of-two I hadn’t really stopped to think about my problems.

“She prescribed me a homeopathic remedy which treats shock, anxiety and trauma. That was the first night in a week that I really drifted away.”

She has since called on Ms Dupres many times. Her son suffered from “notorious cold and cough cycles”, but is now “the healthiest child in the world”.

“Of course children go through school and get sniffily noses, colds and coughs and all the viruses — they’re building immunity. But I was not convinced that my son was OK when having a year-round horrible cough,” she said. “I gave him one pill at night and the next day he was like a different kid.

“It’s a very popular belief that this is a placebo effect. And yeah, I’ve been taking it, but it works on my little baby who cannot tell the difference. It improved our lives as a family. It gives people the power to make decisions.”

She now sees natural remedies as “wonderful” tools and spoke with Lifestyle in the hope of encouraging others not to rule them out.

“We are very fortunate to live in a society where we have medicines that are saving lives — I don’t deny that. I am pro medicine — but I think people should know that there are many first steps that you can take before you reach for the medicine cabinet.

“It could surprise a lot of people. It’s so affordable. That’s what surprised me. And most important, there are no side-effects.”