This happened in the year 1996 during my first year of Ayurvedic practice in Kutch after my long stay in Kenya.
After taking almost a year to look for the proper place for my practice and social services in India, I came to settle in Anjar, the small town in Kutch with good prospectus of my future and opened an Ayurved clinic and the medical shop in the out skirts of the town in a good locality.
There was a case of a young couple who had the first child always having the problem with mouth ulcer. The couple usually came together with the infant since the age of five months with the complain of mouth ulcer of the infant. I gave them the medicine for few days and the mouth ailment came to be all right. Again after few days they came with the same complain and I repeated the same medicine and the child turned out to be all right.
The mother came for the third time for the same problem and this time I had to ask her some questions about her food and her way of suckling the child. The child had no constipation and acidic problem as such. Her urine seemed to be all right. The temperature was a bit on the higher side just because of the ulcer.
So obviously the mother would be asked, as the child was not taking any outside milk or baby food. Shanta, the mother, was taking some vegetables with spices and was fond of excess of chilies where I advised her to take food without chilies and hot taste. I also advised her not to feed the child while she was lying down on the bed. And I also advised her to rub little pure honey in the mouth of the child and lastly I also advised her to clean the nipple before feeding the child.
It worked for time being and Shanta was back with the child before the end of the second month with the same complains although she was doing all what I had advised her to do.
This time, I advised her to take the child to the child specialist and let me know his comments. It was no use the child having the same problem on the repetition basis. The child specialist would be in better position to diagnose the right ailment and the problem would be sorted out once forever instead of coming to me now and then.
In general, infants were not on my list of patients but I would take the minor cases at times. Mouth ulcer is a very curable case in the Ayurved and I thought the problem of the mother would be sorted out very promptly.
The mother had taken the child to the Pedestrian’s clinic and did his course for about a month with no improvement at all. My treatment had atleast the cure for few days but now the child had the constant problem of mouth ulcer.
I rang to the doctor and asked for his report over the matter. The doctor gave it a standard cause and he had seen nothing serious with the child’s digestion problem and even the milk of the mother had not any negative signs. He asked me to advice the mother to stop breast-feeding and put the child on the cow or goat-milk if it continuous to be the same.
The child was already ten months by now and he could very well take the special baby foods and the milk without any setbacks. The mother had also thought of that and she had already tried to put child on baby food and milk but she found it very difficult to feed the child as the child denied taking anything else apart from mother’s milk.
If something were given by force, the child would vomit it out which she did not find to be normal. She had no alternative but to breast feed her child for some more months and she would continue taking my medicine as and when required or continuously if there was not a permanent cure. After all, the problem would not be there at all while my treatment was on. She did not mind doing it, as she was sure of no side effects in the Ayurved medicines.
The case was really a challenge to an Ayurved doctor who had been sorting out several drastic cases in Kenya to a successful end. I was the visiting doctor for three children homes and was treating nearly 150 children without any setbacks. I had had several cases of mouth ulcers of the children, which were perhaps the most easily treated ailments in Ayurved.
In this particular case, the ulcers were cured by my treatment in the first instant and it was after few days that it erupted again. The medicine worked well as there were no symptoms of ulcer at all after the treatment. Every time it started was like a new case. And surely it could be nothing but the infection of breast-feeding as the child was taking nothing else except the breast milk. It was not the case of the stomatities as the tools were normal and to the time.
But surprisingly, the mother’s milk was all right as per test and she had already avoided the items, which seemed to be harmful for the breast-feeding. Perhaps there could be some infection in the nipple area, especially the external side, I presumed.
Before I could second the opinion of the child specialist of stopping breast feeding and put the child on the cow’s or goat-milk or some baby foods, I wanted to dig out the matter to find out the right cause of the problem which had not yet been recognized.
I called the mother in my clinic in privacy and asked her of the system of her breast-feeding. I also checked her breasts and the nipples which seemed to be smooth and with no infection. She also showed me the way she fed her child which was also normal.
Blood report was taken and no short of any defect was seen. No infection……. THEN, WHAT COULD BE THE PROBLEM? WHAT?
And I dared to ask her the very newly developed suspicion of my mind. I was doubtful of her feeding the child at night in between her sexual affairs with her husband and that would surely bring the problem of the type.
If she found the child crying for long during her affair with the husband and if she withdraws the sexual affair in between and takes the child for breast feeding, it would surely bring the mouth ulcer for the child as the milk at that stage will be very acidic and even the nipple itself was hot and in the provoked condition and gives extra heat to the child while feeding.
Perhaps the husband was trying to enjoy the sucking of the nipples as the habit is with several males. There are males who take the nipples of the women in their mouth and play around them in the usual sexual affairs, which seem to be provocative for both. But there are certain males with the special taste of breast milk and they take the chance during the breast-feeding period very often. The nipple at this time gets the infection of the saliva of the male and the mother does not dare to wash the nipple before feeding the child in between or immediately after the sex with her husband.
And I was right when she very frankly told me about it and she also confessed that it happened nearly most of the time when she slept with her husband and as she loved the child very much she never waited the sex affair to be over but she would in between ask her husband to release her to feed the child. And again her husband was indeed very fond of using her nipples during the love affairs. He was a tobacco addict. AT LAST I HAD REACHED THE DEPTH OF THE AILMENT.
I was very much satisfied with the frank statement from the mother. And I was happy I had found the very complicated cause of the mouth ulcer of the child.
There was no need of depriving the child of her breast milk now but she should make it sure to feed the child before sleeping with the husband or half an hour after the affair where she should make sure to wash her breast and specially the nipples with cold wet cloth and she should drink cold water before feeding the child.
She had no problem in doing so and she was even ready to stay away from the husband until the time of the child taking food and abandon breast milk. She could do that for her beloved child if the need arises. Sex was not the prominent thing for her although it may disturb her husband. But that she would sort it out with the husband, she was sure.
And I did not see the need to do so and it was no good depriving the husband his opportunity if it was not MUST. The good loving and understanding mother could very well take the precaution as advised. Or she could very well convince her husband to avoid breast sucking for few days till the time of her breast feeding.
And the child never developed any mouth ulcer since that time to the time he came to take food and the cow-milk without any problem, which was at the age of 18 months.
I was pleased to reach to the root cause of the problem and I was happy to see the loving attitudes of the mother and her frankness.