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Paediatric Naturopath

Safe and gentle treatments with specially trained paediatric naturopaths

  • Treatment tailored to babies through to teens in a family-friendly clinic
  • Convenient in-clinic testing available for common allergies and deficiencies
  • Soothing and safe techniques based on the latest evidence-based research 

Is your child often unwell?
Do they feel anxious or stressed?
Are you worried about their nutrition because they’re a fussy eater or have food allergies? 

As a parent, you want your kids to be healthy and happy. At every stage of their growth, children have a unique set of challenges. They are different from adults in the health problems they suffer—for instance ear infection is more common in kids than adults. Colic and cradle cap are uniquely baby-related health concerns. 

It’s understandable that you want to see someone who understands children and their specific needs. Someone who is trained in using safe and gentle remedies, tailored to your child.

You may be looking for natural alternatives to help your child, someone that’s qualified and experienced in paediatric naturopathy— naturopathy for kids. Not just that, someone who knows how to make kids feel comfortable no matter what mood they happen to walk in with! That’s where our paediatric naturopaths can help. 

Paediatric naturopaths in Moonee Ponds     

Who we treat 

  • Babies
  • Toddlers
  • Teens

Common concerns

Common reasons parents get help from a pediatric naturopath include:

  • Attention deficits
  • Upset tummies and food allergies
  • Autism
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Fussy eating
  • Anxiety & stress
  • Frequently unwell with ear infections or coughs & colds
  • Growing pains
  • Functional testing such as Pyrolles, MTHFR and organic acids 

Testing available in the clinic

  • IGg food intolerance testing - testing for 96 food allergies
  • Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis - to test for heavy metals and mineral deficiencies
  • Pyrolles testing
  • MTHFR testing
  • Organic acid testing
  • Gene testing via saliva or blood 

A 2020 study found that children with ADHD have lower levels of important minerals such as chromium, magnesium, and zinc and higher levels of copper, which can contribute to hyperactivity, lack of focus and increased anxiety in ADHD (Skalny et al 2020).

The high copper may be due to the zinc/copper ratio in the body - which is more about zinc deficiency than it is about copper intake. Zinc deficiency can cause skin rashes, reduced sense of smell, mood disorders, reduced immunity, and poor wound healing.

This is an example of the type of updated research our paediatric naturopaths keep up with— so you can rest assured your child is getting the latest evidence-based advice and remedies.

Appointments

You may be wondering whether you should bring your child to appointments. It depends. We can discuss this on a case-by-case basis.

Some parents would rather have the first appointment without the child in the room to talk about sensitive behavioural issues, which is fine.

Your child does not need to come to every session, but it is helpful if we meet your child at least once (if not more).  


Frequently asked questions about paediatric naturopaths 

I’ve heard of methylation and autism & ADHD. What is methylation? 

Methylation is a normal everyday bodily process that affects detoxification, brain chemistry, and growth and repair. Certain kids are more susceptible to methylation issues, such as those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or attention deficits.

  • Methylation issues can cause:
  • Low mood and mood swings
  • Obsessions and addictions
  • Sleep disruption
  • Memory problems 

Your paediatric naturopath can test for methylation issues in kid-friendly ways. Once we understand what’s going on, we’ll look at diet, supplement and lifestyle changes to help the methylation process. 

My child has skin rashes. How do you identify if something in their diet is causing this (food intolerances)? 

Rashes are a common sign of food intolerance and there are a few ways to identify food sensitivities and intolerances in children.

For children ages 18 months and above we can do a test called the IgG food intolerance test. We can do this in the clinic with a little finger (or heel) prick, or we can send you to the lab for a blood draw.

This checks your child’s immune response to 96 different foods including dairy, wheat, egg and soy, which are the most common culprits, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, meats and seafood.

Another common way to identify food sensitivities and intolerances is though an elimination diet. This is where you exclude certain foods for a short time—usually 3-4 weeks.

Then you slowly reintroduce specific foods and monitor your symptoms for possible reactions. The benefit of this method is that it is less invasive and more affordable.

On top of rashes, food sensitivities can lead to a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Bloating
  • Fatigue/ brain fog
  • Depression
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Constipation/ diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Pain
  • Stomach aches 

My child is a very fussy eater. I'm worried they might be lacking in important nutrients, Can you identify nutritional deficiencies in children? 

There are a few ways to identify nutrient deficiencies in children.

Common ways we do this are through signs and symptoms and an analysis of their diet.

We can send children (18 months and above) for blood tests or do a hair mineral analysis in the clinic.

Although blood is the best and most accurate method to identify deficiencies, it’s more invasive. If this doesn’t suit, a hair tissue mineral analysis can be done in the clinic with a small hair sample.

This is a screening test that measures the mineral content of your child’s hair.

Minerals are essential for growth and healing. They provide structural support to bones and teeth and maintain the body’s pH, nerve activity, muscle contractions, energy production and enzyme reactions.

Minerals we test for include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, boron, iron, manganese, chromium, selenium, cobalt, molybdenum, and sulphur.

Toxic minerals are also tested for. These include uranium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, aluminium, and mercury.

My child is constantly bringing home colds from daycare. Can naturopathy help support my child's immune system?  

On average, preschool children get about six colds per year, which often get better in 3-4 days.

They get fewer colds each year as they get older and their immune system matures. Naturopathy can be used to help their immune system if your toddler is getting sick more often.

A balanced diet (eat the rainbow) and the right amount of specific macronutrients and micronutrients can keep your child’s immune system healthy.

Nutritional supplements and herbal medicine can improve your child’s immune function and help them get better quicker.

Top nutrients to support a healthy immune system: eat the rainbow

Vitamin C – The best immune booster to fight infection. Found naturally in many fruits and vegetables such as oranges, berries, cabbage, broccoli, and kiwi fruits.

Zinc – Is used in many pathways in the body including functions in the immune system. Zinc is found in animal products, oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and dark chocolate.

Vitamin D – is necessary for the proper functioning of your immune system. Low vitamin D can be prevented by spending a bit of time outside every day.

Protein is an essential building block for immune cells. Toddlers require around 13 grams of protein each day.  Include - red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Iron is needed to help our immune system to work properly. Toddlers can be low in iron because they sometimes struggle with the texture of red meat and greens.

Eat 1-2 servings of red meat per week, green leafy vegetables, parsley, lentils, broccoli, dried peaches, apricots, and prunes.

Eat the Rainbow – eat a range of coloured fruits and vegetables to help your child get the nutrients they need for good immunity.

My child takes hours to fall asleep at night. Can naturopathy help my child fall asleep faster? Is melatonin good for kids?  

If your child is taking a long time to wind down at night there are a few things to consider:

Are they overstimulated? Have they eaten well throughout the day? Have they had a well-balanced dinner? It’s also important to consider these aspects of their diet:

1.     Sugar - too much sugar can interrupt sleep, so cut down how much sugar they eat 1- 2 hours before bedtime.

2.     Protein - this makes melatonin, our natural hormone that controls the sleep/wake cycle.

Protein is made up of amino acids including tryptophan, which converts to serotonin with the help of magnesium, B vitamins, and zinc which then convert to melatonin.

3.     Magnesium - regulates melatonin so start in the kitchen with high magnesium foods such as green leafy vegetables, raw cacao, nuts and seeds.

Combine these with good helpings of fruits, avocado, banana, pineapple, goji berries and cherries which include tryptophan and you have a good recipe to improve natural melatonin production.

You may have heard of melatonin as a synthetic wonder drug to help with sleep. As naturopaths, we always try to address the cause of the problem and look at ways to boost melatonin naturally with diet, herbs and nutrients.

However, if you do choose to try synthetic melatonin, it’s important to be aware that there isn’t enough evidence to show it’s safe for children in the long term.

This doesn't mean that it's not effective, or unsafe. It highlights that short term use is best with small doses. Please get professional advice to make sure it’s safe for your child.

Lastly, it's important to make sure your child’s environment is set up for good sleep:

  • Make bedtime the same time every night: the body loves routine
  • Get rid of the fluorescent bulbs: use a lamp, or dimmers instead
  • Put away the ipad and TV at least half an hour before bed: light slows the production of melatonin, especially blue light
  • Make sure the bedtime bath is at least 45 minutes before bed: this gives them enough time to cool down. Body temperature is important and your child won’t easily fall asleep if they’re too hot.
  • Add magnesium salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil: to the bath which are great for relaxation. 

My child has been prescribed Ritalin for attention deficit. Can naturopathy be used in conjunction with medication to help my focus and concentration and my child's learning? 

The good news is many nutritional or naturopathic interventions have been found safe to use with typical ADHD medications:

  1. Food – this can make a big difference to manage ADHD and includes recommendations such as getting rid of wheat, sugar, dairy, high refined carbohydrates, and artificial food colourings.
  2. Fish oil - Studies have demonstrated a significant improvement of ADD/ADHD symptoms with a good quality fish oil
  3. Probiotics - Children with ADHD are known to have more digestive problems. A good probiotic can improve their digestion and prevent their gut from being damaged more.
  4. Nutritional intervention – kids with ADHD have a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. See a naturopath for a thorough nutritional assessment before giving them these nutrients. 

I've heard that the gluten-free casein-free diet is good for kids on the spectrum, but how will my child reach their daily calcium requirements if I take milk and cheese out of their diet? 

There’s been a lot of debate about whether to change the diet of children with spectrum and attention disorders.

However, there is convincing evidence that the gluten-free/ casein-free diet can help some children if they follow it strictly for 6 months.

Autism and ADHD are disorders that affect the whole body. It causes inflammation in the body and affects the brain.

So the first step is to start your child on a diet filled with nutrients that are anti-inflammatory such as fruit, vegetables, grass-fed meat, and good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, ghee.

It’s ideal if most of this food is fresh rather than from a packet. Removing these food groups can improve behaviour, sleep and upset tummies: 

  • Artificial colourings, flavourings, and preservatives
  • Sugar
  • Gluten, casein, and corn

Proteins found in grain and dairy products aren’t digested well by some people and can affect mood, concentration, mental performance, and pain. 

In a survey of over 3500 parents of autistic children, 70% found that a gluten-free casein-free diet improved behaviour, eye contact, socialisation, concentration, and learning.

To get the benefit of this diet, it needs to be followed for at least 6 months. 

But will my child become calcium deficient if they don’t eat dairy?

Dairy foods are products such as milk, cream, ice cream, yoghurt, and cheese made from the milk produced by cows, goats and sheep.

These contain high amounts of calcium. However, one of the problems with relying on dairy for calcium is that it isn’t absorbed and used well in the body.

It causes inflammation and it’s been shown that populations who eat a lot of dairy have the highest rates of osteoporosis. On the other hand, vegans and Asian populations who do not consume dairy were shown to have stronger bones.

The best non-dairy sources of calcium are quinoa (the highest source of absorbable calcium), broccoli, dark leafy green vegetables, fish, and almonds.

There’s no need for children to eat large quantities of calcium as it’s only useful if they can absorb and use what they eat. Magnesium, boron, and Vitamin D3 can help children absorb calcium.


About our paediatric naturopath    

Our paediatric practitioners love working with kids and are great with kids - we know that sounds strange because you assume they should, but that’s not always true.

They are passionate about helping kids lead fun, creative and confident lives by decreasing their pain, whether that’s physical or emotional pain.

Lisa Hodge has a special interest and personal experience in kids naturopathy—her son has ADHD and ASD. Her daughter has celiac disease.


Areas Serviced 

Our paediatric naturopaths are based in the kid-friendly Body and Brain clinic in Moonee Ponds. We’re visited by parents and children in Melbourne, particularly in the western suburbs of Melbourne:

  • Altona
  • Ascot Vale
  • Brunswick
  • Coburg
  • Essendon
  • Flemington
  • Footscray
  • Maribyrnong
  • Moonee Ponds
  • Niddrie
  • Pascoe Vale
  • Williamstown
  • Yarraville
  • Melbourne

Contact us to chat about how our kids naturopath can help your child. 

References

  • Skalny AV, Mazaletskaya AL, Ajsuvakova OP, Bjørklund G, Skalnaya MG, Chao JC, Chernova LN, Shakieva RA, Kopylov PY, Skalny AA, Tinkov AA. Serum zinc, copper, zinc-to-copper ratio, and other essential elements and minerals in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology. 2020 Mar 1;58:126445.