How to do a Breastfeeding Elimination Diet for Your Colic Baby

How to do a Breastfeeding Elimination Diet for Your Colic Baby

Is your breast milk making your baby gassy? Or worse, is it the cause of her colic?

While it isn’t possible for your baby to be allergic to your breastmilk, she can suffer from allergies or intolerances to certain foods in your diet that pass into your milk.

Why an Elimination Diet?


Babies with food allergies and intolerances often display signs of gas and colic such as


  • Crying 3 or more hours per day, 3 days per week for 3 weeks
  • Arching back
  • Clenching fists
  • Pulling legs to chest, as if trying to pass gas


Doing an elimination diet is the only way to pinpoint which foods your baby is having an adverse reaction to.

If you choose to do an elimination diet, use a notebook to track your food intake, and your baby’s behavior.


Different Types of Elimination Diets


There are two approaches to the elimination diet; the gradual elimination diet, and the total elimination diet.

We recommend beginning with the gradual elimination diet.

It is much easier, and you will target the most common food allergens first.

With this approach, you eliminate one food allergen for two weeks at a time.

The more intensive approach is the total elimination diet.

This diet consists of eliminating all allergens from your diet, and then slowly reintroducing them, one every four days.



How to do a Gradual Elimination Diet

To do the gradual elimination diet, you will go down a list of the most common food allergens, eliminating them for two weeks at a time.


Phase 1 

The first food to eliminate is dairy.

Dairy is the most common food allergy among babies.

It is also a difficult allergen to eliminate because it is hidden in many of our foods.

Of course it’s in cheese, yogurt, butter, chocolate, and cream.

But it also comes disguised as:

  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Artificial butter flavor

Read labels carefully during this phase of your diet.


If the cows milk protein gets into your breast milk, your elimination diet may be compromised.


After you have eliminated dairy for two weeks, observe your baby’s behavior.


Has it changed? If it has, it is safe to assume that your baby is sensitive to dairy.


If that is the case, wait until your baby is at least 6 months old before attempting to reintroduce dairy to your diet.


But if your baby is still having uncontrollable crying spells, you can add dairy back into your diet and move onto the next phase.


Phases 2-6

If dairy is not the source of your baby’s irritability, move through the next food groups in this order:

  1. Caffeine
  2. Soy
  3. Eggs
  4. Wheat
  5. Nuts

By the end of this, if not sooner, you will have likely found the source of your baby’s pain.


If you suspect that your baby’s colic might be stemming from something else, check out this article about how to soothe a colic baby.


It includes multiple other ways of dealing with colic such as craniosacral therapy.


If you still suspect that it is related to your diet, you can move on to the total elimination diet.




How to do a Total Elimination Diet


If your baby has very severe symptoms of colic, and you have already eliminated the most common food allergens using the gradual elimination diet, you may want to consider the total elimination diet.

During a total elimination diet, you remove all food allergens from your diet, and then slowly reintroduce them one at a time, in order to pinpoint which foods are making your baby upset.

Phase 1

In his book, Detecting Your Hidden Allergies, Dr. William Crook suggests the following diet for two weeks:

  • Free range turkey and lamb
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes (baked or boiled, and seasoned only with salt and pepper)
  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Green and yellow squash, cooked
  • Pears
  • Pear juice, diluted
  • Rice milk
  • Calcium supplement
  • Any other rice-based products such as rice flour and rice pasta that do not contain other allergens.

At the end of two weeks, or sooner if your baby’s colic subsides, you may begin to introduce new foods to your diet.

You should add one new food every four days, beginning with the least commonly allergenic foods.

Phase 2

During this phase, you begin to reintroduce new foods back into your diet, beginning with the least allergenic.

Remember, add one new food every four days.

You can add the foods listed below in any order that you would like.

  • Carrots
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Salmon
  • Oats
  • Peaches
  • Grapes


Phase 3

During this phase of the elimination diet, you are beginning to add mildly allergenic foods back into your repertoire. 

Again, these foods can be introduced one at a time, every four days, and in any order that you would like.

  • Wheat
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Corn

Phase 4

The fourth and final phase of the total elimination diet is the introduction of the most allergenic foods.

Just like in phases 2 and 3, you can add one of these foods every four days, and in whatever order you would like.

  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Beans and legumes
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, etc)
  • Acidic fruits and vegetables such as oranges, grapefruit, and tomatoes
  • Gas producing vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, onions, and green peppers

Don’t Be Discouraged

If breastfeeding is important to you, don’t let colic stop you.

Again, most of the time a baby is experiencing a food allergy, it is to the milk proteins in dairy.

If you use the gradual elimination method, you will most likely find out the problem in a few weeks.

But if it takes longer than that to find the problem, it’s worth it if breastfeeding gives you a high level of satisfaction.

In the meantime, head over to How to Soothe a Colic Baby to get some survival tips, and other approaches to dealing with your baby’s colic.


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How to Soothe a Colic Baby

How to Soothe a Colic Baby

There are two types of parents in this world

  1. Parents who have had a colicky baby
  2. Parents who haven’t

If you’re reading this, welcome to camp #1.


Colic: It’s Complicated


The problem with colic is that there isn’t just one solution. Colic, by definition, has no known cause.

While colic is defined by relentless screaming (3+ hours/day for 3 days/week for 3+ weeks), babies do it for different reasons.

Pediatricians and medical experts are still speculating about whether it stems from gas or their nervous system.

Because different treatment works for different babies, I’m confident that the cause of colic differs from child to child.


The Most Common Colic Culprit: Diet


Because babies have underdeveloped digestive systems, it’s not uncommon for them to experience discomfort from their diet.

This discomfort can range from mild irritation to extreme gas pain.


Both breastfed and formula fed babies experience gas pain.


If you are breastfeeding and unsure if the problem is your diet, begin with an elimination diet to see if you notice a difference in your baby’s behavior.

Here is more information about different elimination diets.


If you are formula feeding, the issue could be with the bottle, or the milk. Consult with your pediatrician before changing formulas.

If your pediatrician feels that your baby’s formula could be the problem, you will need to transition your baby to a new formula over several days or weeks.

You can read more about how to switch formulas here.


Tips to Help Your Baby’s Tummy


In the meantime, there are several other things that you can do to help your baby’s digestive system and ease his gas pain. 


Belly Massage

Apparently, being able to fart is something we take for granted.

Most babies need a bit of assistance getting gas to travel through their intestinal tract.

Here’s a short video to show you how.


Rectal Catheter

A rectal catheter is a great way to quickly relieve baby’s gas.

Babies can have a difficult time relaxing their sphincter muscle, thereby making it difficult for them to fart.

A catheter gently opens up their sphincter, helping everything pass as needed.

Before you write this off for fear out of pure disgust, check out my review Windi the Gas Passer.

Weird? Yes

Gross? Yes

Worth it? Absolutely

Probiotic drops

Because your baby hasn’t been digesting food for very long, her digestive system is still pretty underdeveloped.

Probiotic drops are a natural way of giving your baby good bacteria needed for her gut to digest food correctly.

Many parents (myself included) have noticed a big difference after giving their baby probiotic drops.

Gripe water

Gripe water uses a combination of herbs and sodium bicarbonate to dissolve gas bubbles in your baby’s belly.

It’s a sweet liquid that’s not too thick. I’ve never met a baby that doesn’t love it.

Gas drops

Gas drops use simethicone to break up and dissolve gas bubbles in baby’s belly.

A little bit goes a long way. You can mix it with water, formula, or breastmilk.

The bottle

For bottle fed newborns, it’s important to use an anti-colic bottle. 

To be anti-colic just means that the bottle allows air to flow while your baby is drinking.

This prevents a vacuum effect which causes your baby to inhale large amounts of air at one time.

My personal recommendation is these Dr Brown’s bottles, but there are many other great bottles on the market too.




Is A Birth Injury Causing Colic?


Babies can also experience pain and discomfort from their nervous system being out of whack. The biggest reason for this is trauma during birth.


While it’s possible for any baby to experience some level of misalignment from birth, it is most common in babies who experienced:


  • A prolonged labor
  • Extraction by vacuum or forceps
  • Posterior positioning (sunny side up)


If you have tried the approaches listed above, and they didn’t seem to work, or if your baby experienced a traumatic birth, there’s a good chance that your baby’s nerves could be bothering her.


Here are your options:


Craniosacral therapy

This is a technique which includes a Craniosacral Therapist applying gentle pressure (no heavier than a five cent coin) to baby’s head and spine.

This is done to correct any twisting or misalignment of the cranial bones or spinal column that may have occurred during the birthing process.

It often takes 2-4 sessions to notice a marked difference.

I don’t have any personal experience with craniosacral therapy, but I have several friends who swear by it.


Chiropractic care

Some parents notice a significant difference in their baby’s colic after having them adjusted by a chiropractor.

Spinal manipulation of an infant is a pretty big deal though.

Not only has little research been done about how safe it is, but it could also cause significant adverse effects.

If you do decide to bring your baby to a chiropractor, make sure that he or she has been trained to adjust infants.

Not every chiropractor is qualified to do this.

Overstimulation Can Cause Screaming Too


Most parents overlook the stimulation in their baby’s environment, but it can have a huge impact on your little one.

When your baby came into this world, he began to experience everything for the first time- sights, sounds, smells, touch.

His new environment is completely different than his old one, and he can quickly become overwhelmed.

Additionally, while most babies will naturally fall asleep when they’re tired, some won’t.

They want to stay awake to see everything.

These babies get overtired, and in turn struggle with even more overstimulation.

You can help your baby by reducing the stimulation in their environment, and making sure that they don’t go too long between naps.

The Baby Sleep Site has a phenomenal chart, as well as tons of advice about how often babies should nap by age, how long, and how many hours they should be awake in between.


Fun fact: a newborn should only be awake for 30-60 minutes at a time.


Tips for When All Else Fails


The frustrating thing about colic is that there is rarely a fail-proof way to soothe your baby. This is not only difficult for the baby, but for you too.


The best thing you can do is to build up an arsenal of tricks to pull out, and cycle through them as needed. 

Here are more tricks for your bag:

Bring baby outside

For some reason, many colicky babies are often comforted by going outdoors.

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s hot or cold outside.

Just make sure to dress her appropriately for the weather, and never leave her unattended.


Babies are great at sensing when you sit down. So grab your sneakers, because you’re about to get a workout.

Some babies have a preferred type of movement to force their parents into such as lunges, while others are content with simply walking, jogging, bouncing, or going for a ride in the stroller.

Better yet, many parents have found solace in strapping their baby into their carseat and going for a ride.

White noise

Do you know that it’s ridiculously loud inside your womb? Silence can actually be quite uncomfortable for babies.

Try using a white noise machine, vacuum, blowdryer, or bringing baby into the laundry room when the dryer is on.

Each of these types of white noise have been found to be extremely helpful for fatigued parents.

The 5 S’s

In his book, the Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp shares his theory that our womb provides a comforting environment for babies, and that we can continue to comfort them in a similar way using what he calls the 5 S’s.

They are swaddling, side lying, shaking (more like bouncing), shushing, and sucking. Karp insists that they must be done in that order.

Will you Survive Colic


With all of these tools in your bag, you should be able to use the process of elimination to determine what is causing your baby’s colic.


And even if you can’t pinpoint the exact cause, you should at least have some tricks to cycle through.


When dealing with a colicky baby, the most important thing to do is find ways to take care of yourself.


You can’t take care of your baby if your own needs aren’t being met.


So enlist help and do whatever it takes to stay sane because you matter too, mama.




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Sleep Training for Confused Moms: Considerations, Preparations, and 5 Methods

Sleep Training for Confused Moms: Considerations, Preparations, and 5 Methods


You’re in desperate need sleep, but the thought of letting your sweet baby cry for hours is unbearable.


If you’re an exhausted, sleep deprived mom, you’ve probably thought about sleep training at least once this past week, if not all last night.


It’s confusing and scary. I get it. I’ve been there. I am there right now.


Meanwhile, everyone around you is quick to offer their opinion, insistent that their favored approach (or lack of approach) is best for your baby, and anything else will traumatize them.


Let me fill you in on a little secret.


What works for one child will not necessarily work for the next, and the same goes for parents.


And while the You need to sleep train! camp and the Sleep training traumatizes babies! camp are constantly trying to intimidate each other with research, it’s really difficult to study the long-term effects of infant sleep training.

The number of variables is overwhelming!


What Do We Know About Sleep Training?


When you look up sleep training and all of the different approaches, the important thing to keep in mind is that there is no right answer.


We know that:

1. We all go through multiple sleep cycles every night. This is often the cause of arousal in young children.

2. Sleep is crucial for optimal health and proper brain development.

3. Sleep training does not cause long term problems in children with a normal parent-child attachment.

4. Sleep training does not harm the parent-child bond.


How you and your family manage to get sleep is a very personal decision, and one that may even vary from child to child.


Nobody can tell you what the best approach will be for you. Only you can determine that.

What Are The Different Approaches to Sleep Training?


It’s important to realize that sleep training does not always mean Cry It Out.


On the contrary, there are several very gentle approaches to sleep training. Cry it out, or CIO is by far the most rigorous of the approaches.


There are five major approaches to sleep training. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. None of them are easy, however the approaches that are most gentle for babies tend to require more hours of ‘work’ on the parent’s part.


We suggest beginning with a more gentle approach, and if it doesn’t work, move toward a more rigorous one.


Fade it Out (FIO) or Fading Method

This is also known as a “no-cry” approach.


With the Fading Method, you continue to help your baby fall asleep using the current sleep crutches that they already rely on. Examples of sleep crutches might be feeding, rocking, bouncing, or shush-ing.


Over time you gradually shorten the amount of time spent doing these activities, with the goal being that your baby learns to put himself to sleep.


The Fading Method is a good approach for young babies and parents who are afraid to let their child cry, however it is exhausting.


What age can you begin this method? Any age.


Pick-up-put-down method (PUPD)

The PUPD method is exactly as it is described.


You put baby down drowsy but awake. When they cry you pick them up and comfort them. After they have settled you put them down again. When they cry, you pick them up and comfort them and repeat as necessary.


This is another approach to sleep training that is gentle for the baby but exhausting for the parents.


The PUPD method is less effective for temperamental or colicky babies. It tends to just make them angry. It can be good for children with a mild temperament though.


Again, if you are afraid to let your baby cry for an extended period of time, this could be a good approach for you.


What age can you begin this method? Any age. 


Chair Method

The goal of the chair method is to allow your baby to fall asleep on his own with the assurance that you are still there.


You begin by setting a chair next to the crib or bassinette. When your baby cries, you do not engage with them. Over the next weeks or months, you slowly begin to move the chair further and further away from your baby’s bed until they are falling asleep on their own.


This approach is less gentle the those mentioned above, and is by far the most taxing for the parent.


Children may be confused about the parent’s presence but lack of interaction or comfort, and parents are exposed to extended periods of crying, possibly multiple times a night, for weeks or months.


If this is an approach that you would like to try, I recommend noise cancelling headphones.


What age can you begin this method? 3 months.


Ferber Method/Graduated Extinction

Similar to the Chair Method, the goal of the Ferber Method is to teach your baby to self soothe while reassuring them of your presence.


The difference is that with the Ferber Method, you enter and exit the room at gradually increasing, predetermined intervals of time.

This is a popular approach when the more gentle methods are not effective, yet parents are too nervous or unable to implement the cry-it-out method.


One of the appeals of the Ferber Method is that it can easily be tailored to your and your baby’s emotional capacity.

There are no strict guidelines about how long the intervals must be or at what rate they need to increase.


Here is a sample schedule of the Ferber Method:


Night 1: (1st interval) 3 min, (2nd interval) 5 min, (3rd interval) 10 min. Continue checking in every 10 min until baby is asleep.


Night 2: 5 min, 10 min, 15 min. Continue intervals of 15 min.


Night 3: 7 min, 15 min, 20 min. Continue intervals of 20 min.


Night 4: 10 min, 17 min, 25 min. Continue intervals of 25 min.


What age can this approach be implemented? Can begin at 4 months, but 6 months is optimal.



Cry it out (CIO)/Extinction

This is the most rigorous form of sleep training, as it often involves a significant amount of crying for the first few nights.


The method is pretty straight forward.

After all of your baby’s needs have been met and you have gone through their bedtime routine, you put them in bed drowsy but awake, and leave the room.

If they cry, you do not go to them.


The reasoning is that when they “cry it out,” they learn to soothe themselves so that eventually they can put themselves back to sleep between sleep cycles.


The only time that you go to them is if they need to eat, and those times should be determined before you begin sleep training.


Critics of CIO argue that it causes emotional trauma, however there are no long-term studies to back this up.


Advocates of the CIO method argue that there is less crying overall because babies learn to put themselves back to sleep more quickly, however the total hours of crying can vary greatly from child to child.


For parents, cry it out is often emotionally brutal for a few days. However, most children begin sleeping for long stretches of time within 3-5 days, so parents who use this approach often state that they found the increase in sleep to be worth a few days of struggling.


Regardless of if you agree with this approach or not, it has been very helpful for many people, but is not recommended for everyone.


What age can this be used? Not before 6 months. If implementing at 6 months, do not expect them to sleep through the night without eating. Make sure that you schedule age appropriate feedings. Look back at past feeding records to determine when they ate larger quantities and plan to give them a “dream feed” shortly before those times.

Questions to Consider Before Sleep Training


Before you jump into sleep training, there are several things that you should consider to determine if sleep training is right for you and your baby, and if so, which approach you should take.

How old is your baby?

Certain methods of sleep training are not recommended for children under the age of six months. If your baby was born prematurely, you must count their age from their due date.

What is your emotional state? How much exposure to crying are you able to tolerate?

Parents are a critical part of sleep training, so it’s important to factor in your own limitations.

Dr Weissbluth from Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child recommends that fathers sleep train their babies because most often, mothers are already bearing the brunt of the sleep deprivation.

But again, only you and your partner will be able to make that decision.

How would you describe your baby’s temperament and attachment?

The combination of your baby’s temperament and attachment will play a role in the approach that you take to sleep training.

Some babies respond well to gentle forms of sleep training, whereas some do not. And likewise, some babies do well with strict approaches, while others will cry for up to 5 hours.


Does your baby have a history of neglect?

If you have an adopted or foster child with a history of neglect, you should not use methods such as cry it out.


Preparation for Sleep Training


The process of sleep training does not begin on the first night that you decide to implement your plan.


If you want to succeed at sleep training, it is important that you spend about a week preparing.


Make a detailed record of your baby’s current routine for a while, even if its sporadic.

If you are trying to put him to bed but he is not ready, does he cry when you walk into the bedroom or you try to feed him in a certain chair? If so, those may be sleep associations for him.

This is helpful information when establishing a bedtime routine so that you can work with your baby.


Develop bedtime and nap time routines

Use your notes about sleep associations that your baby has already developed, and build a routine from there.

You could give your baby a bath, massage them with a special lotion, sing a song, and nurse them in a certain recliner.

The logistics don’t really matter. The important thing is that you do the same thing every night before you attempt to put them to sleep.


Determine the age-appropriate length of time that you baby can go between feedings at night

Because a baby’s stomach is growing rapidly, every month of age can make a significant difference.

Here are conservative estimates for how long babies can go between eating at night.

    • 0-3 months: every 2-3 hours on demand
    • 3-4 months: every 3-6 hours on demand/2-3 feedings total
    • 5-6 months: 1-2 feedings, scheduled
    • 7-9 months: 1 scheduled feeding, but possibly 2
    • 10-12 months: Able to be night weaned. However you could still do 1 night feeding if you are concerned.
    • 12 + months: Night feedings not necessary.


Track current eating patterns

Take note of when your baby has large feeds, and when they snack. If your baby still needs night feedings, this will help you find the best time to feed him.


Get your baby on a feeding schedule to ensure that they are getting enough food during the day

One of the biggest anxieties parents face with sleep training is that their baby is crying from hunger.

The best way to handle this is by keeping track of how much food your baby is consuming during the day.


Block off a time when your family’s schedule will be relatively consistent for at least 1 month

Don’t attempt sleep training before a move, in the month prior to the birth of a new baby, or while on vacation.

Make a plan

The worst way to begin sleep training is by jumping in head-first without hashing out the logistics.

Susie Parker from Sleep Baby Love recommends that you ask yourself these vital questions:

  • Are you ready to make a change
  • What soothing method are you going to use?
  • Where will your baby sleep for nights and naps?
  • What changes are you going to make to your baby’s room to create the optimal sleep environment?
  • What will your bedtime routine look like?
  • How many night feeds will you have?
  • What will your soothing method be for nighttime?
  • Is the soothing method the same for night wakings, naps and bedtime?
  • What time will your day start?
  • Will you work on nights and naps at the same time?
  • Will your feeds be before or after naps?
  • Will naps be based on a set time or flexible times from when your baby is up?
  • What will you do if your baby takes a short nap?
  • Are you ready to be consistent?

How Can You Choose the Best Approach to Sleep Training?


When choosing a method of sleep training, there is no right or wrong answer. The best approach is one that works for you and your baby.


For first time parents that are scared to let their baby cry, we recommend beginning with more gentle approaches such as the Fading Method or the Pick-up-put-down Method. These are usually the approaches that new or nervous parents are most comfortable with.


If they don’t work, it may be helpful to transition to the Ferber method, and if that is ineffective, move to Cry-it-out.


Seasoned parents are more likely to be comfortable with the Cry-it-out method, however they may need to adjust their approach depending on their child.


Whichever approach you choose, give it a week before determining if it is effective or not, assuming you have the capacity to pursue it for that length of time.

Remember that while consistency is critical, so is your emotional health. If you have tried an approach for a week and things are only getting worse, do not hesitate to throw in the towel and come back to the drawing board.


The most important thing for your baby is a happy mom.



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Pumping Hack Guaranteed to Save You TONS of Time!

Pumping Hack Guaranteed to Save You TONS of Time!

All pumping moms know the headache of constantly washing pump parts. Do you remember the song that never ends? Well, that is your life now.


 But it doesn’t have to be. 

This stupid-easy hack will save you hours, if not days of being bent over the sink.

Ready for it?


Stick your pump parts in a plastic bag, and throw them in the fridge between pumping sessions.

That’s it!

Still wash and sanitize them daily of course.


 Don’t forget to  join my mailing list below to catch all of the other quick hacks and mom stuff that I’ll be shooting out!




Pay it forward by sharing with a frustrated, sleep deprived friend! 


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Speed up Pumping and Increase Milk Output

Speed up Pumping and Increase Milk Output

Who has time to hang out, attached to a breast pump for 4 hours a day? Nobody.


Being stuck to a pump is miserable, especially when you have work to do and a baby to take care of.


Your time is precious, so I’m going to keep this short.


The two tips to speed up pumping sessions and increase you milk output are

  1. Breast massage
  2. Breast compression


Do not, I repeat, do NOT strap on that pump and expect to extract every last drop of your liquid gold. Your milking sessions (yes, let’s just call a spade a spade) will take foreeeever and you will still fail.


Watch the pump. When your milk begins to slow down, stop. Massage your breasts in a circular motion, then reattach and squeeze your boobs to help push the milk out.


Repeat until your breasts are soft.

Doing this loosens the milk from the milk ducts. It allows you to gather more hind milk (the awesome, fatty kind) and pushes it out faster.

*Affiliate links to two of my favorite products ahead. You can read my anticlimactic disclosure here.


If you have a single breast pump, using a haakka will speed things up by siphoning milk from the opposite breast.

It’s basically like a milk-storing suction cup.

If you don’t already have a pumping bra, I recommend the Simple Wishes DLITE bra because it is fully adjustable (size XS-L) and has two layers of thick fabric to hold the pump in place.

Then you can eat or scroll through Pinterest.



Using this technique every time you pump your breasts will help you to maximize your time, increase the fat content of your milk, and even increase your milk supply!


If you found this helpful and need to purchase one of these products, it would mean a lot to me if you used my affiliate links.


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