NEWBORN ISSUES...WHY IS MY BABY CRYING?
It can be so hard and frustrating to see your infant in what appears to be pain. From the day we brought Ford home from the hospital, he seemed very iritiable. I just figured he was having a hard transition during the "forth trimester" and chalked it up to over stimulation. I started to notice it was affecting the way we were bonding. I was feeling frustrated that his own mother could not calm him. The only time he was happy was when he was eating, sleeping, or if I had the sound machine going. I knew I was overusing the sound machine when Charlie, my oldest, would literally cover his ears when I reached for it. I finally decided I needed to take another approach. I started taking notes and discovered there was a pattern that seemed to trigger his crying bouts. He seemed to be in pain about 20 minutes after nursing while in the digesting food mode. And since he's eating every 2-3 hours, he basically is always digesting and always in pain.
I brought it up to my pediatrician who thought we should give it a little time but when six weeks went by I decided to see a GI pediatric specialist. I'm going to set this up like a case study to be as clear and straight forward as possible.
-Seven week old infant, male
-Born at 8 pounds 4 oz and at a current weight of 12 pounds
SITUATION: Mother says baby is showing signs of extreme discomfort during the day but not at night. Mother does have an over supply of milk and says baby often chokes on milk while feeding.
OBSERVATIONS FROM MOTHER:
-Crying and very hard to calm down without offering the breast
-Body very stiff during this time
-Spitting up more than normal after feedings. Her "normal" is how much first child spit up.
-Stool and gas both smell when baby is 100 percent breast fed
-baby grunts when passing breastmilk almost as if he is constipated
REFLUX: We ruled out reflux because baby does not seem to be in any pain while spitting up....baby is a classic "happy spitter"
COLIC: Colic is determined if baby has episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks in an otherwise healthy child. Mother is not sure if it's colic because classic colic is in the evening and mother says it's actually better at night.
FRUSTRATION FROM AN OVERACTIVE LET-DOWN WHILE NURSING: This could be an issue because, though mother did state milk supply is starting to equalize, baby is still choking while feeding.
INGESTING TOO MUCH FOREMILK FROM AN ABUNDANT MATERNAL MILK SUPPLY: This specific doctor I saw does not believe in this issue. Basically some physicians believe that too much fore milk can result in a very gassy baby....which can lead to an uncomfortable baby.
SENSITIVITY TO SOMETHING MOTHER HAS INGESTED: Mother does eat dairy and soy which are the two most common causes of a food sensitivity.
After reviewing all issues, we wanted to rule out one at a time. Since mother's milk is already starting to equalize, we are starting with the assumption the baby has a sensitivity to dairy and soy.
FOOD SENSITIVITY AND FUSSINESS
"Fussiness is a common symptom of food sensitivity. The baby fuses with hunger, wants to feed, but may be irritable during the feedings and more fussy afterwards. Stools remain soft even though baby may frequently "grunt" as if he/she is having a hard time passing stool."
It takes 2 weeks for every trace of dairy and soy to leave the body so we will meet again in one month to reassess the situation. During this time mother will cut out ALL products that contain soy and diary. If she is still experiencing an overactive milk supply, she will also express a small amount of milk to help eliminate the choking issue. I also gave the mother BioGaia Protectis Baby, a probiotic supplement for the baby. If it is colic probiotics have been reported to help with a colicky baby.
THOUGHTS FROM MRS. NIPPLE
First, I had no clue how much diary and soy was lurking in most foods. My initial thoughts were no big deal since I only have milk in my coffee and I hardly eat soy sauce. NOPE. It's actually scary how much soy is in so many foods! It was a complete eye opener for me. I also consume way more dairy than I realized. The physician told me even the smallest amount of diary or soy could be a problem. Her sister had this issue with her baby and was out to eat when a little butter must have touched her eggs and the baby had a terrible episode. I've been on a diary free soy free diet for only one week and I am seeing slight improvements with Ford. Even though he still has his moments, the episodes seem fewer and less intense.I have not started expressing milk before I feed him because I wanted to cut out one thing at a time to really get a good understanding of what is causing his discomfort. Though I feel like my food choices are more limited now vs. when I was pregnant, that's a small price to pay for a happy baby. If he does not improve drastically in the next few days I will start pumping before each feeding to help with the oversupply.
It's always a good idea to bring your baby in to see a specialist but if you can't get an appointment for a while there's no harm in trying a diary free/soy free diet in the mean time. I also attached the handout the physician gave me. You can find it below.
HERE is the handout the GI specialist gave me.
More info on COLIC, HERE.
More info on REFLUX, HERE.
More info on a forceful letdown & over supply, HERE.
More on sensitivity to mother's diet, HERE or in handout below.
After a month of dairy free Ford was still in pain. A mother on instagram spotted that Ford had a lip tie. That was the source of all of his pain. Please read that post, HERE.