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Baby Got Gas? A Guide to Baby Indigestion
Have you ever heard of baby indigestion? Do you even know what that is? Think about heartburn and indigestion and how it can make you feel. The deep pressure in your chest and abdomen is enough to make you feel like you’re having a heart attack. Now imagine that feeling in a 2-week-old baby. YIKEES!!! I can tell you that everything you feel will be 100% amplified in your child. The strong pain the child feels is compounded by the fact that he has no way to talk about his feelings. They can’t say “mommy, my stomach hurts”.
What causes baby indigestion?
There are many reasons for adults, but for babies I think we can safely rule out alcohol consumption, smoking and eating spicy food! It is also quite rare for babies to have stomach ulcers or gallstones. This means we can focus on food allergies and sensitivities as the two main causes of baby indigestion. Now that we have a general idea of the possible causes of baby indigestion; how do we know if our child has indigestion?
Symptoms of indigestion in an infant may include:
• Convulsions of passing and/or crying that may stop after the gas is removed
• Curds of undigested food in the stool (okay, let’s just call it poo, that’s what it is!)
• Very foul-smelling poop and, in extreme cases, even diarrhea
Now it is very important that we understand one thing; and it is indigestion is not a cause or a disease in itself. It’s just a symptom. So we need to find the real cause of the child’s indigestion. Therefore, remember that the real causes of indigestion in a baby are as follows:
• Spoiled food
• Food allergy
• Food sensitivities
Spoiled food and indigestion in infants
Spoiled food is not good for adults as it can cause all kinds of stomach problems and it is no different for our children. So, if you are feeding your baby with formula, make sure that the best before date has not expired. In addition, you must be extra careful when sterilizing all bottles and equipment that come into contact with the baby’s formula. Make sure the water you give your baby or mix the powdered formula with is safe and boiled.
Another thing we should avoid at all costs is reheating the bottles. Mothers, if you are guilty of this activity, please, please, STOP NOW. If the child has not eaten it all, throw it away. Also, when pumping breast milk, make sure you ONLY use sterilized containers to store it. Refrigerate and use the milk within a few days, or store in the freezer for longer shelf life. Following these simple tips can significantly reduce your baby’s indigestion.
Phew!!! Now it took care of spoiled food. Okay, so what about food allergies and how do babies have allergies when they are fed only one thing? ï Š I mean, does it even make sense? Read on.
First, distinguishing between allergies and food sensitivities can be confusing. So how can you tell the difference and how does it relate to baby indigestion?
Food allergies and sensitivities and baby indigestion – Formula
First of all, we need to understand that allergies can cause severe reactions such as hives and severe rashes, vomiting, swelling of soft tissues such as ears and lips, or be life-threatening with anaphylactic shock reactions. Sensitivity; however, they are milder and cause indigestion, discomfort, constipation and mild skin rashes. You know those foods that just don’t “agree” with you.
It is very common for babies to be allergic or sensitive to cow protein. Take comfort in the fact that most outgrow it by one year of age, but that first year can be difficult. For formula-feeding moms, you’ll need to switch to a soy-based formula or a formula made specifically for babies with cow protein sensitivities.
Oh there is one word of warning; and this means that babies with cow protein sensitivity also have soy protein sensitivity. But you can be sure that there are formulas out there that contain neither soy nor cow’s milk.
Food allergies and sensitivities and baby’s indigestion – Breastfeeding
If you are breastfeeding, eliminate all dairy products from your diet. This is because the foods you eat are passed on to your baby through your milk. Therefore, your breast milk may contain traces of cow’s milk protein from the dairy products you eat. So, if you want to reduce your baby’s indigestion, I mean ALL dairy products. Start reading food labels!!
Trust me, I know it sucks, I’ve done it myself before. As your body detoxifies and works the dairy through your system, you’ll have a headache and feel like crap for a few days. Basically, you’re going through a bit of withdrawal. Cheese as a drug…who knew?
Fix – Replace cow’s milk with goat’s milk as it is usually quite well tolerated. After breastfeeding for 6 months I switched them both to goat milk and guess what? They still love it. It is available at most major grocery stores and can be frozen if you need to stock up!
So, how can you give your child relief from baby indigestion?
You can use Grie water to relieve indigestion in babies faster. You can buy it at any drug store, and many health food stores carry an alternative that contains all natural ingredients. I’ve also tried some over the counter tablets – most manufacturers call indigestion colic, so look for products that say Colic Relief or something like that. The label “Colic” is a bit of a misnomer as infant colic may not have anything to do with indigestion, but that’s a discussion for another newsletter!
In addition, you can give your baby a tummy massage and an enema to relieve indigestion. Keep in mind, however, that none of these “instant relief” techniques target the cause of indigestion; they just treat the symptoms.
A more long-term solution to the problem is to look for food sensitivities and allergies that can cause indigestion.
How to do it?
By analyzing your child’s stool sample, the doctor can determine whether undigested cow protein is present and whether your child has a sensitivity to dairy products.
As always, I recommend talking to a doctor or naturopathic doctor about your child’s symptoms if you are concerned.
If you found this article helpful, please share it and post your comments below!
Helping you turn frustration into fun,
From Diaper Pail Communications Inc.
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