Like it or not (I know that you’re screaming “not”!), crying is a normal physiological behaviour for babies; in fact it’s one of the key ways that they communicate. At 6-8 weeks the average baby cries three times each day.
However, a common condition in little ones characterised by excessive crying is called colic. Although colic is common and not dangerous, it can be heart-breaking for parents
Although many people state that their babies have colic when they cry a lot, the definition of colic is actually…
“crying for more than three hours per day, for at least three days per week without cause and with no medical side effects”.
Whether your baby has colic or is simply crying and you don’t know the cause, the following nutrition tips may help:
Try block feeding
Lactose is a natural compound found in breast milk. If you have an oversupply of milk, you may be giving your bub too much lactose for her immature gut. As the symptoms of lactose overload include crying and being unsettled, many parents misinterpret this as hunger and feed their baby again, exacerbating the cycle. Instead of feeding on demand, try a feeding schedule for a week and see if your baby’s crying improves.
Emerging research suggests a link between a baby’s gut microbiota and their risk of colic. Some strains of probiotics may help. If you’re breastfeeding, ensure that you’re eating a gut-friendly diet, and speak to your paediatric dietitian about whether you should consider probiotics for your baby.
If your baby is drinking formula, try changing brands. Formula that contains probiotics, contains less lactose or is partially hydrolysed (digested) may help. Choosing the right formula is like choosing the right car, there are hundreds of makes and models ranging from a sporty, European VW to a 4 wheel drive, diesel Toyota Hilux. It’s essential that you look at your baby’s unique needs and use the one that’s going to suit them best.
Keep a food diary
Your baby may have a food intolerance which is causing her to feel uncomfortable and the only way that she can let you now is to cry. If you’re breastfeeding, see if you can see any patterns in the foods you eat and when your baby cries the most. If you can’t see a pattern, show your paediatric dietitian.
And, if all else fails, remember that this is only a stage and it WILL pass. Get as much support as you can and try to look after yourself during this difficult time.