Newborn Digestion and Sleep
We were lucky enough to have Charmian Mead, sleep expert and author of The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine talk us through newborn digestion and the effects it can have on sleep.
"As a newborn’s world is centred around feeding, their tiny gut and digestion, it makes sense that this would be the main focus of your new baby’s routine.
Feeding and digestion has a knock on effect to all aspects of your newborn’s day, from digestive comfort and temperament, ability to stay awake and of course, sleep. During the newborn stage their tiny tum can be sensitive and problematic for the first 2 - 3 months, simply due to immaturity and the fact they are unable to self-burp. As a result, living on a liquid diet can be complicated for some newborns. Complications can range from simply being hard to burp and gassy, immaturity issues such as dairy sensitivity, or intolerance and reflux.
The 7pm to 7am Sleeping Baby Routine supports digestive comfort which promotes sleep and one of my tactics is to boost gut bacteria for newborns with a sensitive gut, born by Caesarean section or formula fed.
As adults, we house a gut full of microbes, friendly bacteria which aids digestion and work to support the immune system. However, babies are born with no gut bacteria and are first exposed to their first dose through the virginal canal, babies born by Caesarean section miss out on this bacteria. Clever breast milk then delivers prebiotics to feed and support these helpful bacteria, whereas formula fed babies miss out on this clever process.
Did you know that the structure of your routine, food intake, feeding and burping pattern can make a huge difference to your baby’s digestive comfort and sleep? Whether your newborn’s digestion is straight forward or complicated, here are my top tips to improve your newborn’s digestive comfort and sleep peace:
1. When breastfeeding, follow a gas free diet for the first 6/8 weeks.
2. Ensure you take breaks to burp frequently during and after feeds, in-line with the speed of milk flow. This may be as frequently as 2 - 5 minutes if milk flow is fast and 5 - 10 minutes at a steadier pace. Your breasts are variable flow with foremilk being released at a much quicker pace.
3. Feed until full - offer both breasts at each feed and understand your personal milk supply by expressing post feed.
4. Spacing out feeds to allow the gut to empty between meals. 3-4 hourly by day and babyled overnight.
5. Structure your baby’s routine to encourage active time awake/ playtime after day feeds. This will allow for digestion at their most content time of day. Eat, play, sleep, repeat!
6. Stop the comfort sucking, as dummy use stimulates the gut which overall can make gas issues, reflux and CMPA symptoms worse.
7. Supplement milk with a course of high quality probiotics (such as Baba West Multibiotic Powders) and Vitamin D (such as Baba West Vitamin D Oral Drops) to help strengthen gut, immunity and help reduce gas."