What to Do When Your Baby Cries in the Evening
If your baby is breastfeeding and is very fussy in the evenings, it might be something that you are eating that is causing all of the discomfort.
This is my personal experience – my first baby cried though the evenings from 5-12 and we did not know how to console him. He would fuss and breastfeed a bit and then fuss some more. We walked with him and burped him, and tried to console him - nothing helped. After we finally got him to sleep, we would collapse in bed, thoroughly exhausted and miserable. Our first few months were like this.... and eventually we got through them and our son stopped fussing.
After our daughter was born, I had learned a few things. What I had learned is that babies can react negatively to the food that their mom is eating! I changed my diet and she fussed 30 minutes every evening. ONLY 30 MINUTES AN EVENING!!
How can what a breastfeeding mom eats cause fussiness?
Well, what I found out is that as your baby grows and develops inside your womb, he is constantly fed nutrients and fluids through his umbilical cord. After birth, with the onset of breastfeeding, your baby begins to digest breastmilk for the first time. While colostrum and breastmilk provide the perfect food for your baby’s needs, they also contain small particles of everything that a breastfeeding mother eats and drinks. Some babies can experience adverse reactions to specific food particles in the breastmilk as either food allergy or food intolerance.
Babies can have food allergies to components in their breastmilk or formula. When a person has an allergic reaction to a food protein (called an allergen), his immune system mistakes that food protein for a foreign invader. His body takes steps to protect itself, which involves creating IgE antibodies, which then cause a release of chemicals called histamines that produce the negative effects of an allergic reaction.
A food allergy is a quick reaction that creates uncomfortable symptoms. The effects of food allergies can be noticed within 30 minutes to two hours after breastmilk consumption. Symptoms can include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, hives, asthma, eczema, runny nose, and colic. The types of foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions are: cow’s milk, eggs or egg whites, wheat, peanuts, nuts, soy, shellfish, corn, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spices such as cinnamon or pepper.
It is recommended that a baby with a predisposition toward allergies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and that breastfeeding be continued for at least the first year, if not longer.
Food intolerance is slower to show symptoms and more difficult to figure out. When a person has an intolerance to a certain food, his digestive system becomes irritated and he is not able to digest that food very easily. The effects of the discomfort take longer to manifest – they can become evident over a period of hours to days after ingesting the food itself. The symptoms for food intolerance are: diarrhea, gas, abdominal distention, abdominal pain, bloody stools, vomiting, feeding refusal, eczema, stuffy nose, coughing, and wheezing.
If a breastfeeding baby has food intolerance to something in his breastmilk, figuring out exactly which food is creating the problems can be difficult, as the baby becomes fussy hours to days after breastfeeding (and the mother may have eaten many different foods by then).
How Can you Figure out the Foods that Create the Discomfort?
This is the reason why The Calm Baby Cookbook was written. It outlines the reasons why a baby could be fussy, the foods that cause some babies to fuss after eating and 100+ delicious recipes to get started.
If your baby, or a baby you know, is fussy in the evenings, please let them know about this book. It can make the difference between a mom happily breastfeeding her baby in the first year, to giving up in frustration and bottle feeding her baby.
Please ensure that you've ruled out a physical reason for your baby to be in pain. Have your baby assessed by your pediatrician if the crying is more than usual. For more ideas about why your baby could be in physical pain, take a look at other posts listed below:
Links to other Articles about Babies Experiencing Physical Pain
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focussed chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, a certified infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.