Ayurveda considers digestion the root of all health, but digestion holds a more broad and subtle meaning. Obviously you need to digest the food you eat, but you also need to digest everything that touches your skin, everything you see and hear and the emotions you experience.
If your baby has colic or reflux I feel we can all benefit from looking more broadly at the situation, rather than only considering food.
The following suggestions apply to mothers as well as babies:
Your baby is unlikely to have an allergy and food sensitivities are far less common than mothers are led to believe. If you are breastfeeding and your digestion is good, your baby’s digestion is likely to be good too. If you have bloating, lack of appetite or gas, then stick with early recipes for longer and your baby’s digestion with benefit too. If your baby truly has an allergy the crying will be accompanied by excessive vomiting, rash or persistent congestion.
Newborn babies are exceptionally sensitive to new experiences and are likely to be over stimulated by excessive play, cuddles with too many new people or lack of sleep. All thoughts need to be processed, which happens naturally when we sleep, or better still when we meditate, breathe or find the time and space to just be. Allow your baby plenty of down time, to just contemplate the world, to absorb all her new experiences and just stare into space.
Maybe your baby is crying because of undigested emotions. A difficult birth or separation from mother can be stressful and your baby may be crying because of emotional trauma. Sometimes small things like a fright or picking up on a mother’s emotions can stress a tiny baby too. If you have met all of your baby’s physical needs (clean, dry, fed etc) and your baby still won’t settle then it is ok to hold your baby and allow them a safe space to express their emotions. You don’t always have to stop your baby from crying. You can hold them through their suffering and reassure them of your unconditional love. In the pauses between crying you can say to your baby “I love you when you feel happy and I love you when you feel sad” or whatever else your heart moves you to say. You may even find yourself having a cry with your baby too.
“Our only hope for mothering happily and wisely lies in developing inner resources to nourish ourselves. Tossed around by the needs of others, mothers give and give, so we must find ways to replenish ourselves.” – Sarah Napthali, author of Buddhism for Mothers