Is your baby in pain every time they are lying on their backs? Vomiting after meals and an unhappy camper when it comes to digesting food? Your baby may also be showing signs of atopic conditions, such as dermatitis and asthma. Due to immature digestive systems, food can be more difficult to digest for your bub in the first year. Colic, reflux, and food allergies are all separate conditions linked to digestive disturbances in babies. However, there are a few things you can try which may help reduce the symptoms you are seeing.
Keep your baby sitting upright for at least 10 minutes after feeding
This is a pretty simple and effective way to help prevent your baby from experiencing reflux at its worst. By keeping your bubba upright for 10 to 15 minutes, you help gravity keep stomach acid in place down where it belongs. While true gastroesophageal reflux is rare in babies, slow digestive transit time may create some reflux in babies. Feeding your bub in small amounts will also help to improve this issue. This was a tried and true method that my parents used for me! By propping my baby self upright all night long, it prevented reflux and allowed me to sleep at least for a little while!
Eliminate dairy and soy in mothers’ diet if breast feeding
If you are breastfeeding, you are passing the proteins of the foods you eat to your baby. Cows milk proteins (casein) and soy are some of the most common reactive foods to adults and babies alike. Food allergies, in general, are thought to affect up to 10% of children. Therefore, eliminating all cow’s milk dairy and soy foods from the mother’s diet should be a consideration to help reduce your baby’s symptoms. I suggest maintaining the elimination diet for 6 weeks of these foods to see if it’s right for your baby.
Drink herbal tea
Studies show that a mixture of chamomile, fennel, and lemon balm extracts help soothe babies’ tummies. While I don’t recommend self-prescribing these extracts, if breastfeeding, drink these teas yourself to pass the diluted phytochemical constituents of these herbs directly through your breast milk. Chamomile on its own can be very soothing for digestion and nervous tension. Unless there are allergies present, these herbs are all considered to be safe herb for children. Additionally, fennel can be used by mothers experiencing poor breast milk production. So maybe useful to help improve milk flow, making it a win-win for you and your baby. While safe to enjoy for both you and bub, excessive tea drinking is not recommended. If diarrhoea occurs in your baby after drinking herbal teas please discontinue and investigate the possibility of an allergy.
I recommend buying organic loose leaf tea if possible. If you are having trouble finding them locally, you can buy them online through the shop.
Probiotics for colic in babies
Gut bacteria play a crucial role in digestion in all people. Now research shows that they can help reduce symptoms of colic in babies too! If your baby has been sick and has had to take antibiotics, or experiences dermatitis, reflux, and/or has allergies, there is a good chance probiotics are in order. Interestingly, another study shows the use of probiotics even helps family’s save money by reducing health expenses. Use a dairy-free infant probiotic if you are considering giving this a go for your unsettled bub.
To help improve digestion, relieve wind, and reduce colic in babies, massaging your baby is a wonderful soothing tool to implement. Important to note, you should always wait at least 45 minutes after your baby has finished feeding, to prevent reflux and vomiting. Additionally, when massaging your baby’s belly, move your hands in a clockwise motion. This encourages digestive movement in the correct direction to promote healthy bowel movement and intestinal function.
Essential oils can be soothing, especially for us older folk. But please do not use essential oils directly onto your baby’s skin. Especially if they are also experiencing dermatitis or eczema. It can take up until your baby is 24 months old to have a fully developed liver that could even begin to start to process essential oils. Even then, I still would never recommend using them directly onto your skin due to the highly concentrated plant photochemical content that are essential oils. At maximum for babies, we want to have only 0.5-1% of essential oil in a carrier oil before applying to the skin. This means 10 to 20 drops of essential oil to 100ml of carrier oil.