In the last year I have had the delight to become an “auntie” because many of my friends have become mothers. As an “auntie” I get questions about what to do about medical and nutrition related issues from my friends.
Since I am not yet a mom I can’t comment from personal experience but I do draw wisdom from working with pregnant and new moms in my practice. A common question I get is about colic. Colic is described as a cramp-like, intermittent abdominal pain that occurs mainly in babies and small children according to the book An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants written by Mary Bove, ND. Colic may present with the child crying uncontrollably for hours, usually in the evening time. They may also clench the fists or pull up their legs. Colic can be related to digestive discomfort, food allergies to mom’s diet or formula, emotional distress or difficulty with feeding (lactation or bottle) or other causes. Colic is hard and exhausting for the baby and the parents so I wanted to share some ideas that might help soothe you both.
Babies love massage! Massaging the tummy in a clockwise motion can help any gas or bowel movements move their way out of the body. If you want to use massage, it is a good idea to make it part of your feeding time routine each time you feed the baby. If you only massage when the baby's stomach is upset they will associate it with the pain in the stomach and they won’t enjoy being touched on their belly. Mom’s that are breastfeeding should watch what they eat because chemicals from the food pass to the baby. Members of the cabbage family, spicy foods, garlic, coffee, dairy, alcohol and beans tend to cause gas in babies so they should be avoided in colic. Any food allergies from the mom need to be avoided as well. Just as there are foods to be avoided there are spices and teas that can sooth the stomach and will be delivered through the breastmilk (you can brew a weak tea and deliver to the baby if formula is being used to feed). Fennel, dill, catnip, cinnamon or lemon balm teas are great choices to drink throughout the day to help reduce colic.