Motherhood is a learning experience like no other.
It is a journey that begins the day your child is born. As you welcome your bundle of joy into your embrace for the first time, you know at that very moment you would do anything to protect him and provide him with the best you can offer.
For the next few days and weeks, you will be enthralled by your baby’s charm despite your own exhaustion from delivery. It feels surreal as you cradle your little one, running your fingers along his tiny, soft features and making a mental note of every detail.
As you ease into the role of a parent, you may at times feel overwhelmed by this new member of the family.
Nothing frets new parents more than their babies’ crying. Your child may need a nappy change, a feed or a cuddle. Sometimes, the crying is intense and lasts for hours.
A trip to the doctor is necessary to rule out any underlying medical cause for the excessive crying. Such medical causes are rare and the crying is usually associated with poor feeding, indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation. Or it could be due to colic.
In general, colic is defined as crying for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, for three or more weeks. It is usually seen in babies under four months.
Although the exact causes of colic are not known, several contributing factors include overfeeding, underfeeding or infrequent burping; imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract; and food allergies or intolerances.
You are not alone
If it’s any comfort to the parents of a colicky baby, you are not alone in trying to soothe your wailing little one. Colic is more common than we realise.
According to a study by Abbott, nine out of 10 babies experience some forms of feeding problems such as colic, gassiness, spit-up, diarrhoea and constipation due to their immature, developing digestive system.
Some babies find it harder to digest certain ingredients in their feed or tolerate the presence of lactose, certain proteins and fat blends. Unfortunately, the only way they can communicate their pain and discomfort is through crying.
Comfort for your baby
It is important to know that the crying will eventually stop and you will find your baby sleeping through the night.
But to get to the root of the problem, it is important to find out what is causing gastrointestinal discomfort in your child. An informed decision on what goes into your baby’s diet will go a long way to care for his gut’s health.
Here are two tips on how to make an informed choice for your baby.
Firstly, always pick something that is gentle on their stomach. This means choosing a product which is lactose-free or low in lactose as some babies may not be able to digest lactose. Secondly, opt for a prebiotics-enriched formula that promotes the growth of good bacteria in the gut and helps to maintain a healthy digestive system.
Studies show that breastfed babies often have stronger immune systems, and this may be in part due to human milk oligosaccharides naturally found in breast milk.1 Among the milk oligosaccharides present in breast milk, 2'-fucosyllactose (2'-FL) is the most abundant.2 It is believed to be an immune-nourishing prebiotic that acts as essential building blocks to support your baby’s natural body defences.
Understanding the struggles that parents go through, Abbott has developed a new breakthrough in paediatric nutrition: It is the first company to add a structurally identical version of 2'-FL that is derived from lactose to formula milk for babies above six months.
Deciding which formula is suitable for your child can be a difficult decision for mothers. But with the knowledge of the options available, you can make an informed choice to better support your baby's nutritional needs with his comfort in mind.
1. Marriage B.J., et al. (2015). Infants Fed a Lower Calorie Formula With 2′FL Show Growth and 2′FL Uptake Like Breast-Fed Infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015 Dec; 61(6): 649–658. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000889
2. Reverri E.J., et al. (2018). Review of the Clinical Experiences of Feeding Infants Formula Containing the Human Milk Oligosaccharide 2'-Fucosyllactose. Nutrients. 10, 1346: 1-11. doi:10.3390/nu10101346