The following is a student blog post by Rebekah Shuler
The Difficult Baby
I firmly believe that a baby who seems unsettled most of the time is trying to communicate that there is something wrong. There are SO many components to being healthy, our well being depends greatly on all of our systems working together in harmony. I have gained first hand experience with a LOT of discomforts a baby might experience because of my second child. He struggled so much just to be happy, and had I known half of what I do now, he would have been a much more enjoyable infant. I am not a medical professional, but I have witnessed first hand the AMAZING results that homeopathy can have on some pretty common baby “ailments”. Babies should be fairly easy to keep happy…if they aren’t, find out why!!!
I think our well being begins in our belly. From the moment our child is conceived, they are exposed to a whole plethora of bacteria. There are good germs, and there are bad germs, and the type of germs that get into your child’s immature intestinal tract during pregnancy, birth, and beyond can have a huge impact on their health throughout the rest of their life. Imagine a vaginal birth, wet, warm and incredibly messy; versus a cesarean, controlled, sterile, and cold. During a vaginal birth, the baby passes through the birth canal, which is a moist, warm center of living organisms. Their eyes, mouths, and noses are covered in all kinds of bacteria and germs from the vagina. This is how it is supposed to be, and if mom has a good healthy balance in her intestinal/vaginal bacteria, baby will reap endless benefits from this kind of delivery. If a cesarean birth is necessary, there are ways to implant those good bacteria into your baby’s digestive tract so that they too can reap the benefits that they missed out on during their birth.
If you have ever been on antibiotics, don’t eat organically, have never taken probiotics, or struggle with issues like eczema/psoriasis, yeast infections, constipation, or food allergies, you and your baby WILL benefit from probiotics and researching microbiome seeding. You can literally make your child healthier by ensuring that the bacteria that gets into their belly at this critical time is GOOD and ABUNDANT. If a baby is born with a less than stellar gut ecosystem their health will continue to decline (even into adulthood), until their belly’s are balanced back out. You can restore this balance with the use of probiotics, fermented foods, and bone broth, in addition to removing inflammatory foods. The following symptoms are common in babies who have less than desirable gut health:
*Constipation (struggling to push out soft poop or going less than once every 3 days)
Ideally you would want to start correcting your child’s gut health while they’re still in-utero! Even better if mom takes control of her own gut health before she’s pregnant! But unfortunately, a lot of the time we don’t know there’s a problem until it’s too late. If a baby continues to have poor gut health in the days and weeks following birth it can quickly escalate into full blown food allergies. At this point, in order to heal the gut you HAVE TO eliminate the bothersome foods. And it is always much easier and better for baby if mom alters her diet, than it is to switch to a hypoallergenic formula (which tastes yucky, doesn’t come close to helping babies belly heal like mothers milk does, and is super expensive in the long run). Food allergies typically rear their ugly heads anywhere from 4-8 weeks of age.
Symptoms of food allergies (or sensitivities, or overload…they’re all interconnected) are:
*Severe Reflux *Green OR mucousy OR bloody stools (can be 1 or all 3)
*Eczema or Stubborn and angry Diaper Rash *Colic
*Horrid smelling and painful Gas *Alternating Diarrhea/Constipation
*Screaming during or immediately after nursing *Ear infections
*Constant Nasal Congestion
These are all pretty terrifying things to witness in your child. Trust me, my son had ALL of them. It took about 4 months of trial and error to figure him out. After being connected with hundreds of women on the internet and discussing their babies belly issues, I am pretty confident in my ability to spot an allergic babe. I am always open to discussing these topics with a mom who is desperate, I WAS that mom, and I learned amazing things as I watched my son go from very ill to incredibly perfect. And I did this ALL without the use of Western Medicine. Please recognize that not every Traditional Medicine Doctor will even acknowledge food allergies. I once took my son to the pediatrician, desperate for an answer and some actual prescription medicine to treat a HORRID eczema outbreak that looked like chemical burn all the way around his neck. I was literally near tears, and the pediatrician didn’t even bother to examine my son, we just had a nurse look at him and say “sometimes babies get eczema” then she sent us home with no information, no cream, no help what-so-ever. I was lucky enough to make the connection that I had drank soy milk 2 days in a row just before that outbreak occurred, pay attention to your baby and your diet!!!
Also note that “lactose intolerance” is NOT an issue for infants. There is lactose naturally occurring in breastmilk. The problem your child would have with dairy is either an allergy to the cow protein, or an overexposure to lactose (called lactose overload) where they do not have enough of the enzyme needed to digest the lactose you consumed, even though they can handle SOME dairy just fine.
Check out this website for more information on your microbiome and gut health:
Here is a great link on Food allergies in infants:
Not every issue will be cured with a little bit of bacteria. Some babies have a traumatic birth…and I don’t mean they were dropped on their head when they came out. ANY birth can be traumatic, whether it was really long, really fast, the baby was lying weird in-utero, the physician pulled too hard on their neck (frequent with cesarean…lots of tugging involved), or they presented with anything other than their head first. Luckily, when baby has had some skeletal/muscular trauma of some kind…it’s fairly easy to spot. These kiddos will often have misshapen heads (plagiocephaly), uneven facial features, a “tweaked” neck (torticolis) which baby prefers to only turn one way, tense limbs that don’t seem to relax, or an extremely tight demeanor. These babies often hate their car seat, don’t sleep for very long when laying down, have reflux, and are generally unhappy.
The good news is that some very simple things can cure their constant discomfort! These babies need relaxation more than you do (I know that’s hard to believe when you’ve been listening to them cry for 3 hours). Give them warm baths, and afterward a very gentle massage using olive oil. Focus a ton on their spine, neck, scalp, and cheeks, as this is where a lot of pinched nerves are located and tension is held. If you are unsure of where or how to rub on their faces, rub your own first! It feels amazing! If they seem to need more help than you can give, please consider chiropractic care. Chiropractors do not “pop” babies, what they do is more of a gentle manipulation to press the bones into place. You do not want to take your baby to any old chiropractor either; you should feel comfortable and at ease when this person is adjusting your baby, not nervous that they’re going to break them. The method that is most important for babies who have skull and neck issues is called Craniosacral therapy, you can find a very well qualified chiropractor on this website: www.icpa4kids.org. It is always a good idea to ask around town and do a google search to read reviews on the chiropractor you choose. I have had great experiences (and results) with a chiropractor after just one visit with my son, but also had very lackluster results after multiple visits with another provider. Listen to your heart, and if after 3 sessions you have not seen any improvement in your child (or after 1 session if you do not like the provider you chose) then please try another before giving up on this route entirely.
There is one more thing that I feel obligated to mention to those who have unhappy babies. This “new” phenomenon can cause breastfeeding to be a nightmare. Having a baby with Tongue and Lip Tie can be like hell on earth. You will probably have a hard time getting a proper diagnosis and an even harder time getting your baby the treatment they need to correct them. All the while your baby will be suffering from some pretty frustrating or painful symptoms that will not go away on their own. Again, my son had this. And my daughter had it as well and she was never properly diagnosed despite failure to thrive, gagging on foods, failing to breastfeed, seeing occupational therapists and geneticists about her size. I ended up diagnosing her tongue tie myself when she was 3 years old, She was still 4.5 years old before someone was wise enough to listen to me and revise her, and she gained a YEARS worth of weight in the 7 weeks following her tongue revision!!! It is so important to understand that a tongue tie may not always “look” like a tongue tie (most providers look to see if baby has a heart shaped tongue or cannot stick their tongue out past their lips). But the real test on how restricted a baby’s tongue is how high it can LIFT. In order for a baby to breastfeed successfully they HAVE TO be able to lift their tongue to the roof of their mouth!
Here is an AMAZING video on how a baby’s latch should look, and the way their latch is affected by tongue and lip ties: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZae0tz8RPE
Symptoms of tongue/ lip tie are usually pretty evident at birth, but they can get progressively worse. Not ALL babies will have ALL symptoms, a lot of other factors come into play (like was mom on IV Fluids during labor, does she have over active let down, is baby overcompensating their bad latch with a strong suck…etc)
Symptoms in baby are:
*Falling asleep at breast
*Inability to open wide
*Biting at breast because of inability to suck
*Fussing at breast
*Falling off breast throughout feeding
*Delayed milk coming in
*Colic and Reflux
*Slow weight gain
Symptoms in mommy are:
* Reoccurring Thrush (from nipple trauma and bacteria getting in)
*Dreading nursing because of pain
*Low supply or feeling like baby isn’t eating enough
Here is some great info on tongue and lip ties from a few of the leading Frenotomy providers (Doctors who specialize in fixing ties) in America.
If you still have no idea if your baby is tied, please join the Tongue Tie Babies Support Group on Facebook! There are thousands of members who are going through the same struggles. This support group has a list of providers who can examine your baby and revise them if necessary, and a whole plethora of other providers who can help you on your breastfeeding journey. And there are even a few State specific Tongue Tie groups that have branched out from the main group.
I always start with these 3 topics when a mom has an inconsolable baby. I want each and every child to get the care that they so desperately need. Obviously these topics are not all inclusive, there are SOME babies who just have a grumpier demeanor, and others might have something more serious going on. I highly encourage you to turn off your chaotic mommy brain and turn on your primal instinctual brain when trying to figure out what’s wrong with your baby. Their poop, their body language, and the ways that they are comforted can tell us SO much about what’s going on inside their little bodies. Always seek help if you think your baby isn’t thriving to the best of their abilities. Expect to get mixed opinions from different providers, and if you are unhappy with the answers you are given, seek out more information.
I always recommend the least invasive route first, partly because some of the symptoms of these issues are so similar and partly because I believe all babies would benefit from better gut health and chiropractics, even if ties are their main issue (actually, ESPECIALLY if ties are their main issue). Mom’s frequently have a baby with multiple needs, so it is best to tackle them all at once, and try to help your baby inside and out.