Foods that Cause Colic

maisie cry 1When my oldest son was born, we could use him to tell time. At pretty much exactly 7pm each evening until 11pm, he would cry. And cry. And cry. I wore a path in the carpet walking back and forth with him in the carrier, as this was the only thing that seemed to soothe him. Diagnosis? Colic.

If you’re breastfeeding and your baby has colic, it’s worth investigating whether it’s something that you are eating that’s causing tummy issues (and therefore irritability) in your infant. Common food triggers are dairy, caffeine, spicy foods, nuts, some grains, chocolate and sometimes cruciferous veggies, as they can cause gas. Your infant may be sensitive to more than one thing as well.

Sidenote: both breastfed and formula fed babies experience colic. If your child is formula fed and experiencing colic symptoms, you can talk with your pediatrician about changing to another formula.

If you suspect this may be the case, you will need to do an elimination diet. Eliminate one or more of these items for a couple weeks, and see how your baby is doing. If she seems less fussy after two weeks, you then challenge the diet, one food at a time. After a couple days, if your child stays less fussy, add in another, and repeat.

If you’re eliminating foods, you will naturally become an ingredient label super sleuth. Dairy in particular is in a huge number of foods, things you never would think to find it in. If you aren’t cooking from scratch, read every label. Restaurants can be trickier; you often will need to ask your server about the ingredients (chain restaurants generally have nutritional information available online, so you can peruse before you go).

Some good news though; if your child seems sensitive to something you are eating, it doesn’t mean your child will be allergic to that ingredient. More often than not, the child grows out of the sensitivity.

If you think your baby is suffering from colic (with colic, often the entire family suffers together), definitely bring it up with your doctor. She will help you rule out other causes of irritability. And there’s a bit of hope out there as well. Your baby WILL grow out of it. Like everything else newborn, the days are long but the months are short. By four months of age, most babies have grown out of it.

Meaghan Howard is a busy stay-at-home mom to two little boys and a houseful of animals. She and her family are enjoying living overseas for the time being.

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