Breastfeeding is the ideal choice for mothers and infants – given the benefits it offers to both parties. After 9 months of pregnancy, many women tend to indulge in foods that they avoided during the gestation period. However, if you are breastfeeding your baby, you still need to monitor your diet, avoiding certain foods and eating more of others so as to increase the breastmilk. This is because certain foods can bother a breastfed baby, though research does not support these claims. Yet, a trial and run approach works well to eliminate such foods that your baby might have a rraction to. However, a general consenus has been made comprising of foods that a breastfeeding mother should not eat, especially is she notices colic in her baby.
What Is Colic?
Many babies have initial overly fussy periods during their early days of life. The culprit is believed to be gas and air, and a colicky baby lets out high pitched wails to signal he is in some pain. The baby may also tense his body, bringing his knees closer to his stomach, and clenching his fists. These intense, agonising periods of fussiness and crankiness can be hard not only on the baby, but also on you as a parent. It is heartbreaking to see your baby crying continuosly and for long periods in pain and distress. This brings you to the question if your baby is sensitive to something that you possibly ate. Some babies can also be allergic to certain foods, so you might need to eliminate them from your diet. Colic is characterised by uncontrolled periods of crying, during which nothing seems to comfort your baby. These periods usually extend towards late evenings, making the baby wakeful and irritable.
What Causes Colic In Breastfed Babies?
Colic is actually a medical mystery largely! Even specialist doctors find it difficult to identify the exact cause of colic. There is no ‘one treatment that fits all’, various medications and strategies have been tried, and some of them have worked but there is no proven remedy. The symptom is marked by apparent ripples of stomach pain and the child may crouch or fold the feet towards the belly. Apart from super-sensitive emotional reasons, it can merely be a digestion issue. Colic is known to occur in about 30% of all babies and is most common during the first 3 months of a baby’s life.
Colic In Breastfed Babies
When a mother breastfeeds her baby, she is passing on the food she ate to the baby. Some babies can be sensitive to certain foods in the mother’s diet, which gets transferred through the milk. In a short span of less than 2 hours, colic causing foods can enter the mother’s milk, and upset your baby – making him cranky, irritable and fussy. Breastfeeding moms should take note of the following ten foods and see if eliminating/avoiding them can reduce colic in their babies.
- Alcohol: Okay, a little alcohol may be alright to celebrate and all that, but keep it to very little. Do remember that your baby will have to drink whatever you are drinking, so be very careful. In fact, if possible, don’t drink it altogether as long as you are breastfeeding. The celebrations can wait. Priority always is in ensuring good health of the baby
- Smoking: The same goes for smoking. Although tobacco can be a stress reliever for a responsible adult, yet it is obviously not at all good for the delicate body of the baby. Chances are that you have already stayed out of smoking for the last nine months. It should not be much of an issue to stay away now.
Even then, if you do happen to take a drag, limit it to as less as possible and do not breastfeed at least after four hours of smoking. Drink a glass of water or fruit juice to detoxify the body periodically. Besides, water and juices are lactogenic and supply nutrition to the body
- Soft drinks: Moms tending to newborns should completely avoid all kinds of soft drinks and energy drinks. These products, available in attractive marketing, are actually nothing but water laden with tons of chemicals. Instead, you can make your own baby lemonade at home. Be light though, because citrus fruit juices can be difficult for the baby to digest as well. Lassi is always a good option
- Hot spicy foods: Your baby will find it difficult to digest spicy foods. Strictly avoid hot spices such as red pepper when you are breastfeeding. However, some spices such as methi, jeera, til, ajwain, and saunf are good for new moms as these boost milk supply
- Coffee: Always think your body as the baby’s body. Coffee is amazing, but the constitution of adults and children are not same. You may like the high, but it will be uncomfortable for the baby. Besides, coffee also causes gas, which is a usual reason for colic pain
- Certain legumes: Certain common Indian legumes of the staple diet, such as safed rajma, lima (sem phalli), and soya beans also cause gas. Keep the consumption of these to a minimum
- Too much milk: While drinking milk during breastfeeding is good to boost lactation, but an excess of it causes digestive issues. Besides, you should try to buy raw milk from the market so that you can boil it at home. Pasteurized packaged milk will have chemical preservatives and much of its nutritional values get depleted by industrial pasteurization process
- Onions, but not garlic: Try to limit onion in your diet to a minimum when you are breastfeeding. People who like onions in food also prefer green chili. Both these common foods can be difficult for the tiny one to digest. However, you should include garlic occasionally in the diet as it boosts milk supply and supplies immunity
- Certain vegetables: Certain vegetables with high fiber content and from cruciferous families take time to digest. Gas chest pains on a diet of cabbage or radish is actually an usual complaint. Cauliflower and broccoli can also cause gas, especially if not cooked thoroughly
- Fast foods: Avoid the common fast foods not only when you are breastfeeding, but also when you are not. Okay, the occasional pizza can be amazing, but most of the branded burgers and hamburgers are thick with chemical preservatives. The companies have to add chemical ingredients to increase the shelf-life of the foods, but it is not good for health.
Obviously, a food that is intact in the shelves for one week is stale, but concealed by chemicals. Prefer fast foods (like pizza) that are freshly made on order from the oven. If the pizza is too spicy, drink fruit juice to detoxify first
Babies cry. It is natural. That is the only language of urgent communication that a baby knows! In a newborn’s life, almost everything is urgent because nothing is familiar. As parents, we need to understand and accept this. Parenting a cranky, colicky baby can be very tiresome but there is always a way, if you have the will. It’s just a baby!