When Chance was a baby, he used to get really gassy and fussy, followed by vomiting whenever I ate food containing wheat. I figured this out by eliminating wheat and then adding it back in, and sure enough he got fussy and vomited like the exorcist baby whenever I ate wheat. Needless to say, I eliminated wheat from my diet while I was breastfeeding, and didn’t introduce it into his diet until he was 18 months old. He was also sensitive to onions and broccoli, and would get uncomfortable gas and have really loud stools. We used to joke that his Indian name was, “Big Thunder”!
So, when our fourth baby, May, was born, and presented the same symptoms, I tried eliminating wheat again, but wheat was not the culprit this time. Broccoli and raw onions definitely give her gas, but the food that made her have colicky symptoms followed by projectile vomiting was a bit harder to track down this time. I also noticed that she had a red ring around her anus after I ate certain foods. I started researching on the internet about gassy foods in the breastfed baby, and found a great resource on Dr. Sears’s website, www.askdrsears.com. But, the foods that ultimately ended up being the culprit, eggs and brown rice, were not on the common list. Whenever I would eat eggs or brown rice, or foods containing these, she would get really colicky and then throw up. Within 48 hours after eliminating eggs and brown rice, she was a completely content baby. She was happy and calm and so was I!
For many babies gas and intestinal discomfort are food related. Offending nutrients can pass through the breast milk and upset a baby’s stomach, causing gas and colic. Knowing which foods to avoid can help to ease a baby’s developing digestive system. Dr. Sears offers the following list of common gas-causing foods:
- Dairy foods
- Grains and nuts: Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, and Corn
- Spicy Foods
- Gassy foods: Broccoli, Onions, Cabbage, Green peppers, Cauliflower, and Brussels Sprouts.
Dr. Sears recommends using a 3-step elimination method to try to figure out which food(s) are the culprits;
- Keep Track with a Chart—Dr. Sears calls this a "Fuss Foods Chart"
- Eliminate suspect foods
- Re-introduce the suspect food
As I found with Chance and May, it pays to find the offending foods. Most often it will be one of the foods on the list here, but if your baby is still fussy after experimenting with these, don’t stop there. Keep trying to figure it out. It will be well worth the effort to have a happy comfortable baby, rather than a crying, gassy, vomiting one!
I re-introduced eggs and brown rice into my diet after May turned four months, and so far she has been fine. She has not had any intestinal upset or vomiting. What a relief! And I can eat eggs and brown rice, which are huge staples in my diet. I think that her system was just too young to handle the nutrients in the eggs and the brown rice, but now that she is older, she is able to do so.
What do you do when your baby has gas and is crying?
A few simple techniques can help soothe a baby when they are already experiencing digestive discomfort:
- Hold your baby upright over your shoulder, patting her back gently. This position helps to relieve discomfort.
- Lay your baby across your legs on her tummy, and gently rub her back to help her pass gas.
- Use Lavender and Lemon essential oils (e.o.). Make a mixture of lavender and lemon essential oil in a carrier oil* and gently rub on your baby’s belly in a clockwise direction, stimulating digestion.
For each 4 oz. of a *carrier oil (sweet almond oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil), add 4 drops lavender and 1 drop lemon e.o.
Lemon essential oil is great for intestinal discomfort, and lavender will help to calm your baby. Make sure that you dilute the e.o. in a carrier oil, as straight lemon e.o. can be irritating to baby’s sensitive skin. Lavender, on the other hand, is extremely gentle, and is the only e.o. that can be used on baby's sensitive skin undiluted.
Does your baby have gas, bloating, or colicky symptoms? If so, did you find certain foods were to blame? Leave a comment below.
To read Dr. Sears’s article on Colic-Causing foods, go to: