Dealing with colicky babies – Dietary guidelines for mums
Between the age of 2 and 4 weeks, about one-fifth of all babies develop colic. This means your baby could keep wailing for hours at a stretch, mostly during the evenings, despite all efforts made by you to feed and comfort him. This condition is usually characterized by inconsolable crying, gas, and distended stomach, and can last between 3 hours every day to 12 hours a day, in worst cases.
There is no clear cause of colic and hence there is no absolute remedy. However, here are some dietary changes and home remedies that can help to reduce the agony of the baby. After all, the food that you eat impacts your baby during the breastfeeding stage as well.
Dietary tips for breastfeeding moms
For the first 6 months of a baby’s life, breast milk is the best source of nutrition, as you already know. It is also important for a breastfeeding mum to consume food at regular intervals. This means, skipping your three main meals is a big no. Along with it, you must sneak in healthy snacks throughout the day, thereby ensuring the health of your baby as well, who is dependent on you for nutrition. Also, don’t wait to get thirsty to drink water, but keep sipping on it throughout the day.
However, if you notice colic symptoms in breastfed babies, you don’t need to switch to another source of nutrition. You only need to tweak your diet. After all, the food you eat affects your baby in more ways than one.
Foods to avoid during breastfeeding for preventing colic
While colic in babies has no clear cause, there are a number of reasons why the baby may show its symptoms, or get cranky and fussy. It is believed that when the mother develops flatulence, she passes it on to the baby through the breast milk. And gas may be one of the reasons why the baby cries as it causes pain in his stomach. Similarly, certain foods in the mother’s diet can also cause colic, and should be avoided.
- You may want to avoid milk and milk products like paneer and cheese for some time, and see if the symptoms of colic fade away in your breastfed baby. This is because intolerance to cow’s milk may be one of the reasons for a colicky baby. If the episodes of colic subside after you cut out dairy, then you may want to substitute your diet with other calcium-rich foods to prevent deficiency.
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, and legumes in the mother’s diet, all of which are known to produce gas due to the presence of complex sugars that are difficult to digest, maybe a reason for a colicky baby. You may want to avoid them for a definite time period and see if you get any positive results.
- Avoid caffeine too, in coffee/tea or in caffeine-flavored drinks (energy drinks, carbonated beverages), as this is known to aggravate colicky babies.
- If you consume artificial sweeteners talk to your doctor and find out how much is safe. An excess might lead to colic in babies.
- Eating onions can also contribute to colic in your baby. Thus, it is best to avoid these foods. Other foods include nuts, eggs, and soy.
Home remedies for colic
There are a number of home remedies for colic in babies. For example, you can wrap your baby in a soft blanket or swaddle him to ease the crying. You can also massage the baby with essential oils and give him a pacifier. Keep your baby in a room that makes him or her feel relaxed. This room should be softly lit and not too cold and not too hot. Using a white noise machine can also help your baby fall asleep.
After breastfeeding your baby, remember to burp him to release excess air. Movement and rhythm can help calm babies, so lay him on your chest and rock your baby gently, or strap him in the carrier and move him gently. If your surroundings allow you, try out an old Indian tradition, and make a swing or jhoola at home and put your baby in it.
If nothing works, just take him for a drive and that should soothe him down.
For colicky babies who are being breastfed, paying attention to the diet of breastfeeding mothers is essential. Knowing which colic foods to avoid can ease digestive troubles in your baby and reduce colic symptoms. By pairing these with home remedies, both of you might get relief from colicky evenings.