Taking care of a newborn brings dozens of challenges and uncertainties: feeding schedules, sleeping schedules, entertaining them, educating them, changing them, protecting them, and wondering if that cough you heard was just a cough or something more. Perhaps the most stressful thing for any new parent to deal with is colic, the condition where babies cry even when all their needs have been met. Breastfeeding is one way a stressed mom can help her crying newborn. Here are some tips for breastfeeding a colicky baby.
Finish Feeding From One Breast
The content of breastmilk changes during the actual process of breastfeeding. The more a baby drinks from the breast, the more fat is expressed in the milk, through the breast, and to the baby. If the mother stops the feeding before the baby has drunk all the milk from the one breast, the baby may be deprived of the fats it needs to be full, thus prolonging its hunger – even though, for all intents and purposes, it has fed.
When breastfeeding a colicky baby, it is therefore important to completely finish feeding from one breast. Switching to the other breast before the baby has its fill of the vital fats leads to too much fat free milk in the feeding, possibly triggering a lactose intolerance reaction – stomach cramps, flatulence, green & runny stools, and, of course, more crying.
The mother’s diet plays a huge role in the content of her breast milk, and, therefore, its effectiveness in soothing her colicky baby. Through a process of elimination (and consultation with a doctor/pediatrician) the parent(s) can determine which foods might be causing discomfort in the baby. Usually, dairy, egg whites, spicy foods and wheat are most commonly responsible for triggering a colicky reaction.
Other foods might also be at fault. Seafood, for example, has high mercury, and should either be avoided or cut back on. Caffeine may sound like a good idea, but a breastfeeding mother should drink no more than two cups of coffee a day, if that. However, brown rice, lentils, sunflower seeds, apples and turkey are some of the best foods a mother can eat to make her body produce healthy meat.
Other Treatments For Colic
There are many other ways parents can try to assuage a baby’s colicky discomfort. Gentle motion might help soothe your crying baby, so carry him or her around, or put him in a rocker to help him overcome his colic. Soft noises, like white noise, can lull her to sleep. Put the baby in a dark, quiet room to encourage him to rest and relax, and draw his focus away from the colic.