Happy Mom Life Monday! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! It seems like Halloween was just yesterday, and Christmas is going to be here before we know it. Thanksgiving is going to be pretty different for us this year considering all of my food allergies and everything I’ve cut out from my diet, it’s been a challenge trying to plan what we’re going to eat! As I was thinking about how different my diet is now, I thought about how much of a struggle it was when I changed my diet as a last ditch effort to help with Reagan’s colic when she was a newborn. I’m sure there are several of you out there struggling with a colicky baby and not knowing where to turn, so I thought I would share my experience and see if it’s a good solution for you as well!
Heads up: there will be lots of talk about baby poop in this post!
Reagan was kind of a struggle baby from the very beginning. Breastfeeding was difficult and painful due to a poor latch, she had a hard time falling asleep on her own, she didn’t have regular bowel movements, and she screamed all day, every day, for weeks on end. I was working long hours at a hospital while Jared was in school and working graveyard shifts. I was constantly stressed out about everything – was she getting enough milk, why isn’t she pooping, why won’t she stop CRYING? Everyone told me that she was crying for different reasons–check her diaper, check her temperature, feed her again, rock her to sleep, bounce her, put her in the swing, etc. Our pediatrician even told me to look for stray hairs wrapped around her fingers or toes that were causing her pain–nothing.
Once we left the hospital after giving birth, Reagan had one bowel movement in four weeks. She was so constipated and her belly was just huge all the time. She would push and push and we tried to help her by doing bicycle kicks and belly massages but she couldn’t ever get anything out. She was clearly in lots of pain which was why she cried so much, but we didn’t know what to do to help her.
We had multiple tests and scans run–and it sucked. There’s nothing like seeing your tiny newborn strapped to a table while doctors inject dye and take scans of her colon. But we wanted to make sure there wasn’t something physically wrong or missing which luckily there wasn’t.
My mom told me I should change my diet, and eliminate foods that generally cause gas to make my milk better suited for Reagan’s sensitive tummy. I thought my mom was being a wacko, so I didn’t listen and kept trying other things. Turns out I should have listened!
Finally, after 6 weeks of non-stop screaming, I decided I would eliminate dairy from my diet (my SIL had also suggested this, so I decided to give it a try). It was really hard to cut it out cold turkey, because I didn’t realize how often I ate dairy and how it’s hidden in a lot of foods. It took me a couple of weeks before I was pretty successfully dairy-free, and not even a week after that, Reagan stopped crying so much. She started having bowel movements once a week (HUGE victory!) and it was like she was a totally different baby. She was happy and interactive, her belly lost most of it’s bloat, and I actually felt like I was a good mom because I had a sweet baby.
After almost a year, I missed milkshakes and talked myself into thinking that the timing of everything was coincidence and Reagan had probably figured out her digestive issues by now. I started eating dairy again, and not even a week later Reagan was severely constipated. Like, screaming in pain because her stool was so hard and it hurt her to have bowel movements. It was awful! I felt terrible and cut it from my diet again, but it took a few weeks before it was completely out of my system and not in my breastmilk anymore. After those couple of week she was okay again and everything went back to normal.
So I guess the point of this post is this–I don’t think we know all that there is to know about babies, breastmilk, and mom’s diet. Doctors looked at me like I was a nut job when I told them that me eating dairy made Reagan constipated, but it did. Having a colicky baby who cries no matter what you do is SO hard. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting for mom and baby. So if you’re struggling with this right now and feel like you don’t know what to try, maybe look at your diet and consider changing up some things just to see if it helps! There’s no harm done either way, and it might result in a happier baby. I wish I had listened and started earlier when my mom first suggested it, but I’m mostly glad that it worked and Reagan was able to feel good eventually.
I’m curious if anyone else has had an experience like this, where a change of diet made a noticeable difference in baby? DM me on Instagram or comment below, I’d love to chat about it!