Colic is an attack of crying and what appears to be abdominal pain in early infancy. Colic is a common condition and is estimated to affect at least 20% of babies during their first few months. Colic usually appears a few weeks after birth and carries on until the baby is about three to four months old. Even though the baby may scream for all he/she is worth, colic is not dangerous or harmful. Experts say colic has no long-term effects and a baby with colic will gain weight and feed normally (1a).
Many times, colic in a breastfed baby can be traced to something in the mothers diet.The worst dietary offender is cow’s milk. Many times, a baby’s digestive tract isn’t mature enough to handle the proteins in cow’s milk which causes a gas builds up in the intestines. When this happens, your baby’s will scream in pain as his intestines go into spasms.Eliminating dairy from your diet can make a tremendous difference in the level of colic your baby experiences.Cow’s milk takes many forms and you need to be vigilant in reading the labels of food you consume (1b).
Many prepared items in the supermarket include some form of milk product. These include, but are not limited to: (1c)
- Batter Products: Waffles, Pancakes, Cakes, Cookies, Biscuits, etc.
- Chocolate: Both milk and white varieties
- Processed Foods: Bologna, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, sausage
(The exception to this is Kosher meat products because they are milk free)
When you are trying to eliminate dairy from your diet, allow at least two weeks for your body to be dairy free. If after two weeks, you aren’t seeing a marked improvement, you can safely assume that your child is not sensitive to dairy products.If after two weeks, you don’t see a significant change in your baby’s colic, you can pretty much assume that it isn’t the dairy products that are causing the colic (2a).
The foods listed below can also cause reactions in your baby, but if you are eating a balanced diet and not eating too much of any one of these foods, they are probably not the cause of your baby’s colic. Every baby is different and what may cause a reaction in one baby, may be perfectly fine for another baby. If you notice that your baby’s colic acts up after eating a particular food, there is most likely a sensitivity issue for your baby. Avoiding consumption of this food in the future may be a good idea (2b).
Other potentially colic inducing foods for breastfeeding moms include onions, chocolate, eggs, peanuts, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, soy, tomatoes, strawberries, highly spiced foods, legumes, artificial sweeteners, caffeinated beverages, licorice, beet greens, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collard greens, garden cress, horseradish, kale, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, Swiss chard, and turnips (2c).