A baby's tummy troubles can range from simple flatulence to constipation,colic and even severe acid reflux. Spit-ups and throw-ups are a part of healthy growth cycle. Vrishti had a bad case of gas, colic and constipation all through the first 4 months of her life. She wouldn't have bowel movements for 4 continuous days or even longer. I remember I used to mark the days that she pooped on my wall calendar and it showed once in 4 days for almost 3.5 straight months. The 4th day would be especially tough for all of us with her crankiness touching heights and the non-stop crying and whining in the evenings and not to forget miss.farty pant's misadventures with our olfactory senses.
Our treatment would start on a mild note - gripe water followed by a meal of formula for fussiness and gas. Then we would give her about an ounce of prune juice. If she didn't have a bowel movement within 2 hours of this, then my MIL would perform an enema using glycerine suppositories or a small piece of bath soap. She would cry and writhe in agony but it was better for her to suffer 10 mins and get rid of her wastes than cry all day. Trust me, it is a 100 times more painful to watch a baby go through enema than to read about it. I will never ever forget the way her little eyes would well up, when I held her tiny hands as she went through her ordeal. She would pull my sleeves and wail as though she was in labor. Anyways, all that is a thing of past now and I know mothers who have seen their babies go through much worse and come out smiling.
Moral of the story - "that's what we moms do when things go very bad… push it up yours!" :)
(Though she has mild discomfort these days, V has regular bowel movements once a day or worst case, once in 2 days. )
So, with whatever little I have learnt, here are a few food ideas to ease release of gas, constipation and improve digestion:
New born - 5 months (or until baby begins eating solid foods, whichever is earlier)
Gripe water, anti-gas drops
Vrishti had a hard time digesting breast milk. She started doing much better after introducing Gentle formula made for fussiness and gas to her diet. Determine what percentage or number of feeding per day helps ease your baby's tummy troubles. For V, it was a 50-50 regimen for about 2 months.
6 months (or when baby begins eating solid foods, whichever is earlier) onwards
Boil a small piece of garlic or ginger (about the size of the finger nail on your little finger) in about 7-8 teaspoons of water. remove garlic/ginger and feed 2-3 teaspoons of the extract to the baby once a week. Increase the size of garlic/ginger slowly over time to about size of nail on your thumb when baby is 12 months old.
About 10 cumin seeds or 5 raisins in about 7-8 teaspoons of water and feed 2-3 teaspoons of the extract to baby everyday, 2-3 times a day. Increase count of cumin seeds to about 15-20 and raisins to 8-9 as baby grows and turns 12 months old.
While making vegetable soup, add a pinch of asafetida (hing), turmeric (haldi) or cumin powder (jeera powder) (or any combination of the 3) and cook along with the vegetables.
Pulped fruits - banana, prunes and pears specifically help reduce constipation. (Reminder : Always cook fruits (except banana) before pulping them if baby does not have teeth or does not know to crush food using gums and jaws)
Try giving the baby more milk compared to solid food. Vrishti had better results when her total liquid intake was more than her total solid intake.
Pic taken on: Apr 8 2011
P.S: If a baby is throwing up every single meal and cries and remains fussy for hours together the whole day, then it might be a deeper problem of acid reflex.
Always consult your PD before taking up formula, solid foods and other home remedies for your baby. All home remedies have to be started in very small doses, checked for allergies and increased with time. On the up side, home remedies have no side effects, you are not adding chemicals to your baby's diet and are usually very safe.