I have a fussy, gassy, colicky baby boy right now… He’s had a sensitive GI tract since day 1, so I’ve been telling myself he’ll outgrow it (which he likely will), but in the meantime it makes for a difficult first few months for both mom and baby 🙁
After digging into the research, chatting with our pediatrician and a lactation consultant, I have a much better understanding of the possible causes of baby’s gas and upset stomach. I’ll admit, my head first went to “it must be something I’m eating.” Turns out this may just not be the case…
-IMMATURE DIGESTIVE TRACK. Baby’s are little, and so are their digestive tracts. Most babies’ bodies manage gas more easily as they age – because of digestive maturity and greater physical activity. The key is to wait it out!
-SWALLOWING EXTRA AIR. What goes in must come out. Anything that causes baby to take in extra air may be a culprit for excess gas and digestive pain. This includes: a forceful letdown, mom’s abundant milk supply (oversupply), bottle feeding, and even crying. Kellymom.com has great tips on how to help reduce excess air (see references below).
-DAIRY. Cow’s milk products are the most common problematic foods related to fussiness and gas in babies. If you believe dairy could be a culprit, you’ll want to try 2-3 weeks of elimination to see if symptoms subside. Since dairy is a key source of calcium and vitamin D, make sure you’re consuming plenty of other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D, like leafy greens and fortified cereals.
-CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES. Some women have found that fibrous foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts or cauliflower give their babies gas.
-FOOD ALLERGIES. With a true food allergy, you will likely notice other symptoms in addition to gas/fussiness in your baby, including excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, diarrhea, rash, persistent congestion or runny nose. Other signs of food allergy include: rash, hives, or eczema. The top food allergens include: dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, soybeans and shellfish. Talk to your pediatrician if you suspect a food allergy.
Overall, most babies are fine with just about any food that mom eats, thus eliminating specific foods is not necessary unless you suspect something or see a pattern in babies behavior. In fact, eliminating healthy foods group, like dairy, can decrease mom’s consumption of key nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
That said, every baby is different, some babies will react to certain foods & others tolerate it just fine. If you do suspect a problematic food, try keeping a food journal of your foods eaten, along with baby’s behavior, symptoms and reaction. Make sure to include time of each for each to help pinpoint the problem food!
In true mom fashion, I reached you to fellow mamas with a similar experience of dealing with a gassy, uncomfortable (even colicky) baby. Here’s a list of the tips that have worked for other mamas!