What is causing my baby’s Tummy Troubles?
Colic affects about 20-25% of babies and is characterized by the “Rule of 3”, that is, babies who cry for more than 3 hrs a day, more than 3 days a week and for over a 3 week period. Babies who experience colic may exhibit signs such as drawing their legs up, which may sooth the stomach pain. While we don't know exactly why some babies suffer from colic, it is thought to be due to an immature digestive system that is growing or the developing nervous system may be a factor. Gas and Bloating is common among babies in the first 3 months of life as their intestines are maturing and also between ages 6 to 12 months because they are being introduced to solids for the first time. Constipation is the most common cause of stomach pain for babies who are just switching to solids, or who are formula fed. If your baby has bowel movements less frequently than usual, but is breastfed and seems comfortable, there probably isn’t anything to worry about and a watch and wait approach is best. If he is on solids or formula and hasn't had a bowel movement in 3 or more days and is uncomfortable or when he does have one, his stool are hard, dry and difficult to pass, consider natural solutions or contact your homeopath or doctor. Reflux happens when the valve between your baby's esophagus and stomach isn't working properly, and food and gastric acid gurgle up from the stomach into the throat. Reflux can cause an upset stomach and a burning sensation in the throat and chest. Most babies outgrow reflux in the first year. If your baby spits up or even vomits frequently after feedings talk to your homeopath or doctor about the possibility of gastroesophageal reflux. Diarrhea or vomiting can be a sign of stomach flu. If there is loss of appetite and fever make sure your baby is getting enough fluids since he can become easily dehydrated. Diarrhea can also be caused by the common cold, ear infections, UTIs, teething, or food allergies and sensitivities. If you suspect food allergies, especially if there is a skin rash, eliminate allergenic foods for 2-4 weeks and asses.
What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is the safest form of holistic medicine for a breastfeeding mom and her baby. Homeopathic remedies are made of natural substances including plants, minerals and animal products that are serially diluted and succussed to eliminate potential side effects. For example, Belladonna can be toxic if consumed in it’s crude form but homeopathic belladonna is a common remedy which treats a host of common childhood illnesses. When selecting the right homeopathic remedy for your child, consider the totality of symptoms: What is the emotional state? What are the physical symptoms? What makes them feel better or worse? What is the strange or unique symptom?
Common Homeopathic Remedies for Tummy Troubles: Chamomilla for a baby who appears to be intensely irritable and angry in their distress. They will insist on being carried around which soothes them, but only for a little. The abdomen is sensitive to touch but there will be some relief with warmth placed on their tummy. The tummy will be distended and they will pass small amounts of gas but it offers little help. The baby doubles up, kicks and screams. The baby may vomit, or have foul-smelling diarrhea containing undigested food. This remedy is appropriate for general diarrhea or in teething, colic, ear infections or other colds and flus.
Calcarea Carb for a baby who is unbothered by their constipation. The baby smells sour or has sour-smelling stools. The child may be lethargic. He may dislike milk or may be allergic to it. This allergy to milk can lead to constipation, diarrhea, indigestion or other problems. He prefers ice-cold drinks.
Nux-vomica should be considered where there is constipation and gas. Constipation comes on after overindulgence in food or medicinal drugs or after prolonged mental or emotional stress (consider: has the breastfeeding mom indulged in any heavy or greasy foods or is your child being affected by stress in the household?) There is much urging and straining, but no stools pass.
Herbal Solutions: Although homeopathic remedies are the safest form of medicine for your baby, some tried and tested herbs can also help. Try these herbs for constipation and bloating in tea form for a more gentle approach. 1/2- 1 teaspoon for infants and 2 teaspoons for toddlers 1-3 times a day. Give 1 month to allow benefits. Chamomile- is the most popular herb for indigestion, gas, pain bloating and colic for babies.
Fennel seed- has anti-spasmodic action that quickly relieve colic, gas, pain, bloating and nausea. Fennel is the key ingredient to many gripe water formulas!
Marshmallow root- to sooth an inflamed digestive tract in reflux.
Cinnamon- has astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which help tighten, tone and heal gut damage, ease diarrhea and discourage pathogens. Mix the powder in with apple sauce, yogurt, oatmeal or other foods or make a tea with the sticks. It has blood-sugar lowering properties so its always best taken with food. Probiotics:
Probiotics can help normalize bowel function. Look for products that contain at least 1 billion live Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium species.
Although these natural remedies are safe for children then are also effective to adults use as well. Just increase the doses and always follow the directions on the label... or better yet, contact your Homeopath for a tailored to you recommendation.
Until next time...