“Doctor, my baby doesn’t drink milk!” is quite a common complaint heard by paediatricians. Many times, it is the over expectation of anxious patients causing unnecessary panic. Parents become over-anxious about baby’s health, though baby will be perfectly normal. But due to diet and lifestyle irregularities in mother, and due to some pathological factors in babies, they may suffer from digestion problems.
How to know if the problem is real or perceived?
If your doctor says that the weight of the baby is not matching with her age
If the baby cries or throws tantrums more frequently than usual – hyper-irritability
Changes in consistency of stools
Bad smell from mouth
Vomiting etc symptoms that are explained below.
When to take keen notice?
When the baby travels to a new place
When he tries a new type of food
When there are weather changes
When there is significant changes in the mother’s diet (in cases where mother is breastfeeding the baby)
In Ayurveda a condition by name Ksheeralasaka is mentioned. Ksheera means milk and Alasaka refers to the chronic indigestion.
Features of Ksheeralasaka (Indigestion of the milk/breast milk) :
Acharya Vagbhata (2nd Century AD) explained the feature of Ksheeralasaka as below-
Salilopama mala (watery stool)
Acchamala Vicchinna mala (interrupted stool)
Ama mala (indigested bowel)
Durgandha mala (bad adored stool)
Nanavarna mala (stool with different colours)
Vedananvita mala (pain during defecation) – baby cries while passing stool
Phenila atisara (frothy stool)
Peeta va shweta mutrata (yellow or pale stool)
Vishthambha (occasional constipation)
Trsishna (thirst) – excessive thirst
Vijrimbha (excess yawning)
Shushkodgara (dry or plain regurgitation)
Angabhanga (cutting pain of the body)
Koojana (sound in the stomach)
Ghrana paka (ulceration in the nose)
Akshipaka (pain and redness of the eyes)
Mukhapaka (mouth ulcers)
Drishti upaplava (turbidity of the eyes)
Swarasada (feeble voice) etc
Causes for digestion problems in babies:
Intake of hard to digest food by the mother/cow
Mother or cow fed with excess of heavy, sweet, hard or slimy food and that
Milk/breast milk consumed by the child untimely
Excess intake of milk or breast milk
Seasonal changes, change of place, travel
Line of treatment
Line of Treatment for Milk/Breast milk indigestion:
Vamana (classical emesis) for mother and if required, mild purification procedure to the child
Dosha Shamana (measures to pacify the relative doshas especially Kapha and Vata)
Sthanika chikitsa (Stanopari chikitsa) (Local treatment over the breast like application of medicated paste etc over the mother’s breast)
Herbs useful for digestion problems in kids:
Either a very diluted Kashayam is prepared and administered to the kids or if the baby is breast fed, mother is administered with the Kashayam prepared with below herb (single herb or in combination)
Nagarmotha – Cyperus rotundus
Patha- Cissampelos pareira
Celery – Ajamoda
Kirata tikta-Swertia chirata
Giloy – Tinospora cardifolia
Haridra – Turmeric
Oils used for baby massage:
Chandana bala lakshadi taila
Ayurvedic home remedies
Home remedies to improve digestion in babies:
20 grams of cumin seeds and 10 grams of dry ginger are taken and made into fine powder. To this equal amount of organic jaggery is added and mixed well. This is made into the bolus of 1-2 gram size. This is given to the breast feeding mother daily twice, after food. This relieves the complaint of breast milk indigestion.
1 gram of Calcified lime (CaOH-Calcium hydroxide) is taken and dissolved in 240 ml of water. After 1-2 hrs this is filtered.2-3 ml of this solution is administered 3 or 4 times a day, to the children. This reduces the chances of indigestion of the milk as well as breast milk.
If the baby has started consuming solid foods, then a small pinch of cumin seed powder can be mixed in the food.
These days, getting pure and non contaminated cow’s milk is a difficult task. So chances of indigestion are very common. A working women may find it difficult to maintain a good feeding frequency so as to fulfil the child’s need as they are not available to feed often whenever child requires. This, again increased the chances of breast milk indigestion. Other than this, the altered food habits of the mothers ( as well as the cow’s of diary ) also causing this kind of discomfort. Hence, much care is really essential to prevent as well as to cure digestion problems in children.
Article by Dr MS Krishnamurthy and Dr Hebbar.