5 Foods to eat while breastfeeding to avoid colic

Motherhood is one of the most fulfilling experiences any woman can have, but this phase can quickly turn sour if your baby doesn’t stop crying.

In this article we will highlight the foods you should eat while breastfeeding to avoid colic in your baby.

If you’re an experienced mother, you are probably familiar with the sound of your intense crying and fussiness.

baby crying intensely due to colic

The good news is – your baby crying is entirely normal. However, frantic crying is not.

All babies cry, but if your healthy baby cries unnecessarily, it has colic.

Unfortunately, the cause of colic still remains a mystery.

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Colic usually happens a few hours after breastfeeding, in the late afternoon or late evening. In some cases, colic may last for hours.

As an expecting or new mother, hearing your baby crying uncontrollably can be worrisome, especially if it is well fed and has a dry, clean diaper.

Before you panic, colic is temporary. In fact, colic happens in almost every baby.

Colic usually starts when your baby is around 3 weeks old and may not end till your baby is around 3 to 4 months. 

Since babies can’t voice out when they feel discomfort, they turn to the only way they can communicate – crying.

There are many situations that can trigger baby colic – stomach aches, gas, ear infection, or even mood swings.

The most common culprit for colic is the mother’s diet.

A newborn has one primary source of food – Breastmilk.

But as a mother, your role isn’t solely providing breast milk.

Your diet also indirectly affects your baby.

In some cases, some sensitive babies react to certain food items you consume.

In fact, the food you eat can alter the taste of your breast milk.

When your baby’s digestive system doesn’t agree with your food choices, your baby may suffer from colic.

As a mother, you may have to sacrifice eating foods that can cause colic in your baby, at least till you stop breastfeeding.

You need to pinpoint the foods that cause colic in your baby and eliminate them from your diet.

If a particular food is responsible for your baby’s colic, you may notice constant crying as early as 2 hours after you ingest the colic-causing food. 

In some cases, a fussy colic episode could occur as far as 24 hours after eating a colic-causing food.

Foods to avoid that can cause colic

As a breastfeeding mother, you may have to mind your diet during your breastfeeding years – This is because even minute traces of certain foods in your breast milk could upset your baby’s digestive system.

When a baby consumes milk containing colic-causing foods, it may cause gas and bloating.

If you’re new to breastfeeding and you want to avoid baby colic, here’s a couple of foods you might want to avoid.

Caffeine

Caffeine may be necessary for working mothers, but taking large amounts of caffeine can disturb your infant’s mood and sleep patterns. 

coffee can cause colic if you are breastfeeding

Caffeine is present in coffee, tea, sodas, cola, and energy drinks. The more caffeine you take, the higher the chances of baby colic.

If you don’t want to have an irritable and fussy baby, I recommend drinking only 1 or 2 cups of coffee daily.

Spicy Food

Spicy foods can be mouthwatering.

However, for a breastfeeding mother, spicy food can alter the taste of your breast milk and affect the baby’s digestive system.

A spicy and tasty dish of food

Junk Food

junk food is bad for colic

Enjoying the occasional chocolate cake or Hamburger with fries won’t hurt your baby.

However, taking excess junk can affect both your health and cause colic in your baby.

This is because junk food contains preservatives and sugar that could upset your baby’s digestive system.

In some cases, according to one study, overeating junk food can increase your baby’s body fat.

Certain Vegetables

Vegetables should be an essential food in every nursing mother’s diet.

However, certain vegetables may trigger colic in your baby.

This is because these vegetables are hard to digest, create a lot of intestinal gas, and can cause intense pain in your baby’s stomach.

Some of these are cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.

cabbage is bad for colic

A 1996 study showed that breastfeeding mothers who ate diets high in cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli had more colicky babies when compared with mothers that didn’t.

Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids, but some specific types of nuts such as cashew and almonds nuts can trigger gas and tummy aches in babies.

cashew and almonds are bad for colic

Which foods cause gas in breastfed babies?

Gas in your baby’s stomach can be extremely uncomfortable and cause furious crying.

Eating certain gas-causing foods like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, and green peppers – can bother babies.

Top tip: You can reduce the gas by cooking your vegetables properly.

Most experienced mothers confirm that gassy food causes gassy and colicky babies.

Foods to eat to avoid colic

Fruits

fruits are good for colic

Fruits are a powerhouse of essential nutrients.

They may also aid in the relief of constipation for women during breastfeeding. I recommend taking about 2 cups of fruit every day. 

Vegetables

Vegetables are high in antioxidants and vitamins.

Consuming enough will assist the body in replenishing the nutrients required to produce milk.

Most vegetables won’t cause colic in infants; however, you need to be mindful of cruciferous vegetables, which can cause gas and bloating.

Dairy

diary products

Diary is an excellent source of calcium.

This is especially crucial for nursing mothers because calcium is constantly leached from their bones.

If you don’t obtain enough calcium and vitamin D, you’ll be more likely to develop osteoporosis. 

You can choose between various dairy products, such as cheese and milk. Luckily, many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D.

Top tip: I recommend limiting Cow’s milk which has been known to cause colic in babies. 

  1. Fish

DocasaHexanenoic Acid (DHA) is an essential omega-3 fatty acid required for brain development in newborns.

Eating fish 2-3 times a week might help you increase the DHA in your milk.

Salmon, bluefish, bass, trout, flounder, and tuna are the finest sources of DHA.

Tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel should not be eaten – They contain a lot of mercury that can cause baby colic. 

How do you prevent colic when breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for baby colic.

However, there are various techniques you can use to relieve the incessant crying and discomfort.

Techniques you can try to soothe symptoms of baby colic include;

  1. Burping your baby (Winding)

During breastfeeding, your baby swallows air along with the breast milk.

This air can cause discomfort and can trigger baby colic.

Burping your baby during and after every breastfeeding session can help prevent and soothe colic.

It is crucial you identify your baby’s cues – if your baby shows signs of discomfort while feeding, burping your baby can help.

  1. Sitting your baby up

Putting your baby in an upright position reduces the amount of air they swallow during breastfeeding.

Sitting your baby up during breastfeeding can prevent symptoms of colic.

Top tip: If you are bottle feeding, you could try using an anti-colic bottle.

I recommend the Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle with AirFree Vent.

Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle with AirFree Vent

Click on image for more information

This incredible bottle is Designed to reduce feeding issues: colic, gas, and reflux.

  1. Proper latching on

Improper latching technique can quickly spark colic symptoms in your baby.

When your baby attaches to your nipple correctly, it becomes more comfortable, and it can help reduce colic symptoms.

If you are new to breastfeeding and still can’t get your baby to latch on properly, you can try visiting a lactation consultant.

What helps colic naturally?

There is no one cure-all remedy for colic.

No two babies are the same, so you may need to try different techniques to find the remedy that’ll work for your baby.

Finding a solution for your colicky baby will earn both you and your baby some sleep and comfort.

If nothing seems to work, don’t fret.

Most babies outgrow their colicky stage after month four.

In the meantime, you can try these techniques to help your baby’s colic.

1. Lie them on their stomach

Laying your baby on their stomach can help soothe discomfort in some colicky babies.

You can also gently rub your baby’s back, which can help calm them and may help them pass accumulated gas.

Baby tummy time also fosters a strong connection and builds your baby’s back, neck, and shoulder muscles.

Top tip: Your baby should always be on its back to avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

If you want to lay a colicky baby on its stomach, make sure it’s awake and under supervision.

2. Carrying them

Most babies love being held, and this can be incredibly soothing for babies with colic.

To a baby, holding them makes them feel like they are safe and back in the womb. 

Carrying your baby for longer periods during the day can help reduce colic in the late evenings.

Holding your baby for so long can be strenuous on the arms.

I recommend using a baby carrier to ease the stress on your arms.

If you’re on the hunt for a baby carrier, I suggest Bbpark Mesh Baby Carrier.

Bbpark Mesh Baby Carrier Newborn to Toddler

Click on image for more information

The 6-in-1 baby chest carrier is made from soft & breathable fabric that’ll cradle your baby comfortably. 

3. Rocking your baby

Rocking your baby may be enough to soothe symptoms of colic.

The reason is – a baby may enjoy the constant repetitive motion. You can try rocking your baby on a swing.

Graco Simple Sway Swing is an affordable, effective choice if you want a swing.

Graco Simple Sway Swing

Click on image for more information

4. Warm bath and a massage

Everyone loves a warm bath, especially colicky babies.

Taking a warm bath can help to soothe your baby.

Soft Sink Baby Bath by Frida Baby Easy to Clean Baby Bathtub + Bath Cushion That Supports Baby's Head

Click on image for more information

If that doesn’t stop the crying, a gentle tummy massage might do the trick.

Wrap Up

Babies fuss and cry.

But as a new mother, hearing your healthy baby cry all the time can be frustrating.

The actual cause of colic remains unknown, but nursing mothers have discovered their certain diets can trigger baby colic.

These colic-causing foods may alter breast milk, enter the baby’s digestive system and cause intestinal gas or other digestive problems, which may cause your baby to cry uncontrollably. 

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Carrie Walters is a young mother of Nina and Tom, who along with her husband Jake is passionate about helping moms and families find modern solutions to common parenting and lifestyle questions. Together with a team of real moms and medical experts, this young couple share sound advice and proven tips to help make your life easier.
They manage this blog along with other blogs and Youtube channels on similar topics