Table 6

Home care practices for neonatal problems suggested in focus group discussions

Neonatal problem

Dietary remedy

Other practices

Not crying

Cold water sprinkled on baby.

Metal plates beaten close by.

Baby held by hands or turned upside down and shaken.

Not breathing

Umbilical cord milked from placenta towards baby.


Ground nutmeg [warming properties].

Not feeding

Ghee [clarified butter] until baby can breastfeed.

Expressed breastmilk until baby can breastfeed.


Cooked parsley and fenugreek.

Mother avoids spicy, salty and oily foods.

Baby kept warm.

Eye infection

Eyeliner applied [fenugreek, mustard oil and camphor].

Umbilical cord infection

Warm mustard oil applied locally.


Baby massaged with warm oil and ash.


Yellow climbing plant placed on floor near baby.

Same plant may be ground and fed to baby.

Chest problems, cough, breathing difficulties

Heated camphor, cow's milk, ghee and ginger.

Ground nutmeg and groundnut mixed with breastmilk.


Ground groundnut, pumpkin and cucumber seed.

Mesko et al. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2003 3:3   doi:10.1186/1472-698X-3-3

Open Data