Guest blog by Dr. Jordan Robertson, Naturopathic Doctor
If you’ve stumbled on this post, chances are you’re awake.
And whether it’s 2pm or 3am, if you’re a new parent, you probably wish you weren’t. Sleep troubles in newborns and infants can be normal and age appropriate but when sleep is disturbed by prolonged periods of crying – there may be more to it. Colic is a poorly defined diagnosis that is given to any baby who cries inconsolably for long periods of time over a day. Infant reflux is also a common diagnosis for inconsolable babies, and often leads to a prescription of antacids. Mother’s breast milk also naturally declines at night, which can cause hungry babies to seem fussier and less satisfied than they are during the day. There are evidence based natural treatments that can improve the root causes of a baby’s sleep disturbance and can be safely prescribed by your Naturopathic Doctor.
Birth events such as antibiotics for Group B Strep (GBS), Cesarean sections and formula feeding all change a baby’s digestive flora, which can prevent them from properly digesting their meals. Food sensitivities can also cause reflux and colic and can be addressed by improving Mom’s diet or by changing formulas. Your baby may be having digestive distress or colic if they are irritable after eating, have spastic movements and appear to be in pain or if they have a lot of digestive gas. Reflux can cause symptoms of excessive spitting up, painful hiccups or discomfort when lying flat. Uncovering the root of digestive distress includes looking closely at mom’s diet, and formula choice if not breast-feeding. Mom’s diet can have a big impact on the restlessness of her baby. Eliminating foods is a simple treatment, which often has a significant impact on baby. Babies can be safely prescribed digestive herbs in a glyerate tincture or tea depending on their symptoms. Teas such as chamomile and fennel, and herbs such as slippery elm can soothe an upset tummy and eliminate gas. A practitioner should prescribe all herbs given to your baby, as they can interfere with nutritional absorption, and in the wrong doses can be ineffective. Probiotic supplements have been well studied in babies to treat digestive complaints, and to prevent allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema. Specific strains have been developed for babies exposed to antibiotics, or who are formula fed, to help them develop a stronger immune system.
Mother’s milk supply can be improved with simple technique including hydrotherapy, skin to skin contact, milk-enhancing teas and medicinal tinctures. Your supply may be a concern if your baby is not gaining weight, if your baby is fussy at the breast, or if your baby pulls or bites at your nipple. Milk supply cannot be estimated by the amount you pump, or by how often your baby feeds. If your baby is gaining well, and is calm after feeds, chances are your supply is more than adequate.
Helping babies sleep is a complex parenting issue, which can be compounded by digestive issues such as colic, reflux and hunger. If your baby is having difficulty sleeping, or is struggling with digestion at any point during the day, see a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss you pregnancy history, birth experience and your baby’s sleep troubles to get to the bottom of their crying, without pharmaceutical drugs. Naturopathic Medicine is a safe, effective primary care medicine to keep moms and their babies healthy, happy and rested.
Dr. Jordan Robertson is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine /and a faculty member for the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme at McMaster University.
Jordan has extensive training and experience in family centered Naturopathic care. Through her research at McMaster, she has become a leader in the field on research for diabetes and cholesterol management. Her practice also has a strong prenatal and pediatric focus. She facilitates Burlington’s only Natural Medicine parenting group and diabetes support group. She has completed advanced training in pediatric care, acupuncture and infertility and prenatal health. Jordan has published research review articles on endometriosis, age related muscle loss and nutritional interventions for depression. She maintains a family-centered practice in Burlington and is always welcoming new patients.
Dr. Jordan Robertson
4300 Upper Middle Road
In the Complimentary Physiotherapy Clinic