We welcome back naturopath Lucinda Miller to our expert panel on How To Survive The First Three Months this Friday, 11 am at Live Talks, The Baby Show at London ExCeL. We interviewed Lucinda ahead of the show on the topic in hand, the first three months of baby’s life, also known as the fourth trimester. Here’s what she has to say.
I’m planning on breastfeeding. What should I be doing to help my body and supply?
When breastfeeding the most important thing is to eat highly nutritious food and plenty of it throughout the day. This is when you really ARE feeding for two! Also drink plenty of water – at least three litres a day is ideal when breastfeeding. Tip: Fill up a water bottle just before you sit down for every feed and ensure you have drunk it before you stand up.
How do I spot tongue-tie/latch problems in my baby and what can I do about it?
Tongue-tie does need to be identified by a medical professional, however, if your baby seems very uncomfortable when feeding or making your breasts very sore then there could be a latch problem and I would advise you see your health visitor to assess the situation and refer on.
What should I do if my baby is constipated? Is this a symptom of something else that might be going on, and what should I do to help alleviate their pain?
It is rare for an exclusively breastfed baby to get constipated and it usually happens when you start adding in formula feeds. In that case, go back to exclusive breastfeeding as the new milk is obviously not suiting them. If you cannot return to breastfeeding for any reason then talk to a naturopath or nutritional therapist who can advise on special enzymes to help digest the milk. If the constipation is following a course of antibiotics given to baby or mum then add in a baby probiotic which can make quite a difference.
Should all babies be taking a probiotic from birth, and do you have any advice for C-section mamas?
If a mum has eaten a very healthy fruit, salad and veg based diet and eaten lots of gut-friendly foods like yoghurt and kefir AND also had a super-healthy pregnancy – then the baby will probably not need a probiotic as they should have a pretty healthy microbiome. However, those babies who would benefit from probiotics all the way along are those whose parents suffer from an auto-immune condition; have a history of allergies, asthma and eczema; suffered from yeast infections or urinary tract infections during pregnancy; had a poor immune system whilst pregnant; have been on antibiotics during pregnancy or at the time of the birth; or has had a compromised diet due to sickness. It is also a good idea for premmie babies to take a probiotic once they are safely home and feeding has been well established.
I’m a breastfeeding mama – what should I do if I suspect my baby is intolerant to something in my milk? Is it always likely to be a dairy allergy?
The way the allergy specialists usually diagnose a cow’s milk allergy is by how loud and long the baby cries for rather than doing full-blown allergy tests. They usually default to assuming it is a cow’s milk allergy or intolerance as this is main food a baby is consuming whether it is via baby milk formula or via the mum’s diet through the breast milk. So, the advice is usually to swap to a hydrolysed milk protein powder such as Nutramigen or Neocate for the bottle-fed babies and for mum to cut out all dairy consumption if the baby is being breastfed. If this does not resolve things, then they look at other food allergens such as egg or gluten which may be in some baby formula and rich in most people’s diet.
If the skin is inflamed and itchy such as eczema or hives a private paediatric allergy specialist will be able to arrange skin prick or blood tests. We can also arrange blood tests from birth. However, very few cases are positive as food allergy is complex and IgE which is the type of reaction we normally associate with allergy only accounts for a few of the cases.
What should I do if my baby gets a cold in the first three months?
There isn’t a huge amount you can do other than keeping the airways clear with little baby nasal sprays, special baby snuffle balms and a humidifier in the bedroom. Probiotics are one thing you can try and worth having some just in case even if they are not taking them regularly.
How do I keep my baby healthy if they’ve had to have antibiotics?
If you are breastfeeding then eat the healthiest diet you can full of a huge range of veggies, fruits, salads, pulses, nuts, seeds – aim to eat the rainbow of different natural foods every day. Add in live yoghurt and kefir too and take a probiotic as all the goodness does come through your breastmilk. Whether breast or bottle-fed I would also give the baby an infant probiotic such as BioGaia. Other specialist probiotics include specific breast and bottle-fed ones, by Proven probiotics. Always give probiotics for at least 6 weeks after the antibiotics course has finished.
What can mums be doing in terms of supplements and diets to help tackle the baby blues or even postnatal depression?
I would continue with your pregnancy multivitamin or pick up a really good breastfeeding formula like Wild Nutrition for the first three months – regardless of the type of birth you had or how you have chosen to feed your baby. These tend to contain zinc, folate and iron as well as other B vitamins which are important for maternal mental health and energy. I would also ensure you are taking a good quality omega 3 rich fish oil to help keep the baby blues at bay. Vitamin D is important too, especially at this time of year and the government advise we all take it from October to April anyway in the UK. Meat, poultry, eggs and dairy are the best sources of these vital nutrients and if you are veggie/vegan then eat masses of pulses, tofu, soy yoghurt, nuts and seeds.
What are your top three tips for new mamas?
- Make feeding yourself a top priority and say yes to anyone willing to cook you a meal or fill your freezer.
- Continue with your pregnancy multi, an omega 3 fish oil and vitamin D for at least 3 months following the birth.
- Get some fresh air every day as soon as you are mobile enough as this will keep you and your baby in a healthier place mentally and physically.
Article by Lucinda Miller, Naturedoc.co.uk
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