Colic and the Elimination Diet

The difference between a fussy baby and a colicky baby, according to Dr. Sears, is that a fussy baby can be comforted when being held and soothed, while colicky babies are actually in pain and don’t respond to any sort of comforting. The term “colic” comes from the Greek kolikos, meaning “suffering in the colon.” These babies are hurting, not just high-needs.

So what can you do to help them?

If your baby is breastfeeding, you may have to sit down and think about your diet. The foods you eat affect your baby, and something in your milk could be causing his horrible tummy-aches and ear-piercing cries.

The idea of an elimination diet was developed by William G. Crook, M.D. (Detecting Your Hidden Allergies, Jackson, Tenn: Professional Books, 1987) and adapted by lactation counselor Martha Sears as follows:

The diet is based on eating the least allergenic food in each of the food groups. It can take up to two weeks for the offending foods to get out of your system, and bring your baby some relief.

1. For the first 2 weeks, eat only the following foods:

  • range-fed turkey and lamb
  • baked or boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes (with salt and pepper only)
  • rice and millet as your only grain
  • cooked green and yellow squash for your vegetable
  • pears and diluted pear juice for your fruit
  • Drink a rice-based beverage drink in place of milk on cereal or in cooking. Do not yet use soy beverage. (Rice products, such as rice beverage, rice-based frozen dessert, rice pasta, rice flour, and millet are available in nutrition stores.)
  • Take a calcium supplement.

2. At the end of two weeks (sooner if the colic subsides)  gradually add other foods to your diet, one every four days. Begin with those less commonly allergenic such as sunflower seeds, carrots, beets, salmon, oats, grapes, California avocado, peaches.

3. Wait a while before you add wheat, beef, eggs, nuts, and corn. Avoid for the longest time dairy products, soy products, peanuts, shellfish, coffee, tea, colas and other beverages containing caffeine, chocolate, gas-producing vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, green peppers), tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Vegetables and fruits are often tolerated in cooked form sooner than in raw form.

4. Keep a record of the foods you eat and the problem behaviors. You’ll hope to see a correlation between what you’ve eaten in the past day or two, and baby’s fussy spells. Writing everything down helps you stay objective, which is hard to do when you are sleep-deprived. This is especially important when baby has stayed fussy past four months of age.

5. Do not starve yourself. Although your choices will be very limited at first, you can still eat a nutritious diet. Eat more of the “safe” food until you determine what your baby can tolerate.

6. Older babies are often less sensitive to fruits and veges, so protein elimination is generally recommended. This means cutting out dairy, beef, eggs, chicken, shellfish, soy, corn, wheat, and peanuts, in addition to any other foods you suspect bother your baby.

The good news: Dr. Sears states that colicky babies usually respond to mother’s diet changes dramatically and quickly, often within one or two days. It may take longer with an older baby who is night-waking. Often , mothers will find that their baby may sleep better for a few nights only to start waking again a lot for a few days or a week, at which point the sleep again improves. It’s important to know this so you will not think “it isn’t working,”  and give up.

For more information on colic and tips to help you through it, visit Dr. Sear’s Coping with Colic page!

feature photo via Hug Your Baby

Postpartum Depression for Dads

Lots of attention has been given to postpartum depression, which happens to moms soon after birth. But many are surprised to learn that fathers can and do experience postpartum depression as well! A study by the University of  Michigan, published in the March 2011 issue of Pediatrics, found that a significant number of fathers with babies under a year old (about 7%) were clinically depressed. Fathers with infants 3 months to 6 months old were most likely to be depressed; in this category one in four dads was found to be depressed.

The results of this study are aimed at making doctors aware that just as they screen new mothers for depression, fathers should be screened for Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) as well.

Depression in dads is not something new, it has just been swept under the rug. Men’s hormones actually change too when their wife has a baby!  A new father may feel resentment at the arrival of a new baby, or irritated by the many changes in his life as a father. He may be short tempered, snappy, and feel like smacking that little bundle of joy that won’t stop crying.

Yet many men never admit that they are depressed, and never seek the help deserve. They are taught to hide their personal issues and be strong. And the signs of depression in men are different than in women (anger and aggression rather than tears and helplessness), and many never realize that what they are feeling is really depression.

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photo credit

But like any medical issue, depression is not something to be ignored. Children need a stable, positive father for healthy development and well-being. Women need a supportive husband who can be a partner in raising the kids. And men need to feel inner peace which enable them to live happy, productive, enriching lives.

Symptoms of Men’s Depression:

  • Becoming irritable, angry, or confrontational
  • Feeling stressed and discouraged
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Violent behavior
  • Working or studying obsessively
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Impulsive or risky behavior, such as reckless driving and extramarital affairs
  • Physical ailments: Headaches, digestive problems, pain
  • Lack of concentration, lack of interest in work, hobbies, sex
  • Thoughts of suicide

Who is at risk:

Any man can be at risk for PPND, but there are some factors that make it more likely:

  • Family history of depression
  • Preexisting marital discord
  • Lack of sleep
  • Unemployment significantly ups the incidence of PPND
  • Men who’s wives suffer from postpartum depression are more likely to have it as well.

A man who’s depressed may experience only a few of the symptoms, or many. How bad they are may vary too, or get worse over time. It is important to remember that admitting you are depressed is a sign of strength and hope, not weakness! Depression is a treatable condition and should not be suffered in silence. Ignoring it will not make it go away, in fact if left untreated it tends to get worse. After all, if you had a broken ankle you wouldn’t just ignore the pain and keep walking around on it! Counseling and regular exercise can be very helpful, and sometimes medications will be prescribed.  Look for a qualified therapist who has experience in treating men with depression.

Every family deserves a happy, loving father, and every man deserves to feel worthy and capable of handling life’s day-to-day ups and downs with confidence. Don’t suffer alone. There are many resources online, or through your doctor. Get help today!

The Breastfeeding-Cosleeping-Postpartum Depression Connection

These days, it’s rare to find anyone who’s gonna argue with you that breastfeeding is best for baby, whenever possible.  What they don’t realize is that breastfeeding is best for MOM, too.  And there are still plenty of people with their fists up, ready to knock down any mention of co-sleeping, despite all the benefits that co-sleeping moms and babies report (that is, I’m sure the babies would report, if they could speak!)!

So I was intrigued to read Nancy Mohrbacher‘s blog entry, Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk, which explains a number of reasons that breasfeeding and cosleeping are best for mom as well as baby.

Many moms are mistakenly informed that if they bottle feed and let someone else help with night feedings, they will sleep better and longer. Some people also believe that if mom sleeps separate from her baby, she will sleep better, undisturbed.  They conclude that a well-rested mother will be better equipped to hand the stresses of the post-partum period, thus relieving symptoms of postpartum depression.

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Not so, says a new study!

This study, which will appear in the June issue of the journal Clinical Lactation, surveyed 6410 mothers during the first year after birth.  Although all new mothers experience fatigue, it found that exclusively breastfeeding mothers not only slept significantly more hours during the night than other mothers but also reported significantly more energy during the day, a better mood, better overall health, and a greater sense of well-being.  Another surprising finding was that there was no statistically significant difference in any of these areas between the mixed-feed and the exclusively formula-feeding groups. (From Formula Supplements Put Mothers at Risk)

So while we all want to make sure new mothers, especially those at-risk for PPD, are happy and well-rested, strategies that separate and supplement newborns are misguided.  Instead of making mom’s life easier, they actually put her at greater risk of poor sleeping, poor health, and depression.

These benefits are in addition to many others! Breast milk builds your baby’s immune system, improves his brain function and raises IQ, reduces mom’s risk of cancers and other health conditions, helps her loose her pregnancy weight faster, and provides emotional comfort and bonding for both mothers and babies… among others!

Read more on the benefits of breastfeeding at nancymohrbacher.com.

6 Pregnancy Super Foods

Before you reach for the cookie jar, think of your growing baby and take a peek at these nutritious and delicious food ideas!

Pregnancy is an important time to think more carefully about what you’re eating, since these foods will be the main source of nutrients for your growing baby. Get off to a good start with these pregnancy super foods.

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photo credit: Doesn’t this make you hungry?!

1. Whole grains: Enriched, whole-grain breads and cereals are fortified with folic acid and iron and contain more fiber than white bread and rice. Some good ways to incorporate whole grains: Oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich on whole-grain bread at lunch, and whole-wheat pasta or brown rice for dinner. Add barley to soups for thickness and flavor. If you like to bake, use whole wheat, oat, rye, or spelt flour.

2. Beans: Legumes are a good source of protein, fiber, and key nutrients such as iron, folate, calcium, and zinc. There are lots to choose from: black beans, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, and kidney, garbanzo, or soy beans! Try them in chili and soups, salads, pasta and rice dishes.

3. Salmon: A great source of protein, B vitamins, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain development and vision in babies.  Try it grilled, broiled, or on a salad. Although salmon is relatively low in mercury compared to other fish, experts advise no more than 12 ounces of salmon per week.

4. Eggs: Eggs a good source of protein that provides amino acids you and your baby need, and contain more than a dozen vitamins and minerals, including choline and lutein. They’re versatile too: Hard or soft boiled, sunny side up, omelets filled with veges and cheese, on a sandwich…  Just be sure not to eat undercooked or raw eggs.

5. Berries: Berries are bursting with vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries… they are a delicious snacks and taste great in pancakes, on top of cereal, in your yogurt. If you can’t get them fresh, look in the freezer section.

6. Low-fat yogurt: One cup of plain, low-fat yogurt contains more calcium than milk, and is high in protein. Avoid flavored yogurts for their high sugar content. Improve the taste with fruit, nuts, granola, or my personal favorite: date honey!

Raising a Successful Child: Deonte Bridges’ Mother Speaks

You may have heard about Deonte Bridges’ life story or watched his moving and inspiring valedictorian speech that’s been circulating around the web (if not, see below, it’s worth the 5 minutes!).  Growing up as an African American in a neighborhood surrounded by drugs, guns and violence, he experienced one challenge after another, including being robbed at gunpoint, his mother’s diagnosis of leukemia, and the death of a brother.

But he rose above it all, and in his speech expressed his gratitude to God and his family, and payed tribute to his own inner strength, values, and drive to succeed: “to do what is necessary… not popular.”

So what’s the secret of his success?  How did he rise above temptation, trial, and tragedy to become the first male, African American valedictorian of Booker T. Washington High, in over a decade?

Mom Logic went straight to the source: his proud mother, Paris Hardaway.  When asked what advice she would give to other moms, this is what she said:

“I would tell them to continue to support and love their kids. Let them know that if nobody else has their back, you do. Encourage them in any way, form or fashion. Say good things to them no matter what the outside world says. Every day is a fight, so stay in the fight and focus on goals and dreams. You’re there with them and you want them to see they can accomplish all they desire to do.”

I don’t know if people reading this realize how very wise she is, but I’m awed by her words- so simple and yet so powerful. What I hear her saying is that in order for a child to succeed, he needs to know he is capable of success. He needs to know that someone believes in him, and only then can he believe in himself. We as parents should always remember that it is we who build our children’s self esteem and give them confidence to succeed in life.

We salute Ms. Hardaway, and wish her son Deonte success in every way!

Watch Deonte’s powerful valedictorian speech:

A Mother’s Day Tribute to you!

To all the Awesome Mothers out there (yes, I mean you!):

I got hit with this email forward, and thought it was actually quite sweet. I’m sure there are more eloquent tributes to Mom out there, but this captures the essential sweetness of motherhood.

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.

I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom…
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

image from krha.nhs.uk/ER/ERDIP.htm

Should You Avoid Nuts During Pregnancy?

Scientists now know that what a woman eats during pregnancy has long-lasting effects on her baby. The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care recently studied mothers’ consumption of a variety of foods such as vegetables, fish, eggs, milk products and nuts. Nearly 3,000 mothers participated in the study, with children from birth to 8 years of age. Researchers concluded that mothers who ate nuts daily increased their baby’s chance of developing asthma symptoms by 47%. (Not so with any of the other foods on the list.)

Based on the results of this study, there appears to be a pathway for allergy antibodies to pass from mother to baby. Researchers do not recommend that mothers completely eliminate nuts from their diet, but limiting your intake of highly allergenic foods, such as nuts, may be a good idea. Additionally, if you have a strong family history of allergies, experts recommend reducing the amount of nuts you eat during pregnancy.

Pediatrician recommended that children under the age of three not be given nut or nut products. And since the proteins from peanuts can be carried through breast milk, nursing mothers should try to reduce or eliminate nuts from their diet.

For more information, see Suite 101.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

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We all know that breast milk is the ideal food source for young babies. What some people may not realize is that breastfeeding has benefits for the mother and for society as well!

Here are some of the many benefits of breastfeeding, from WomensHealth.gov:

BENEFITS FOR BABY:

  • Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother’s milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby’s growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
  • As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life.
  • Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.
  • Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born pre-maturely.

BENEFITS FOR MOM:

  • Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding (no supplementing with formula), delays the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. (However, you should still talk with your doctor or nurse about birth control choices.)
  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
  • Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!
  • A mother can give her baby immediate satisfaction by providing her breast milk when her baby is hungry.
  • Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby.
  • Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
  • Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.

BENEFITS FOR SOCIETY:

  • Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
  • Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.
  • Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

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