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Low FODMAP diet worth trying for infant colic

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Low FODMAP diet worth trying for infant colic

A low FODMAP diet may be worth trying for breastfeeding mothers who have colicky babies, a small Australian study suggests. 

Researchers from Monash University, Melbourne, who developed the low FODMAP diet for IBS, have now assessed its impact in 18 breastfeeding mothers whose babies met the Wessel criteria for colic. 

After one week on the diet, their infants’ crying duration fell on average by 52 minutes, while fussing and crying behaviours reduced by 73 minutes. 

“Mothers reported their baby ‘is much more content’ and ‘can be put down without crying’,” the researchers noted. 

“The magnitude and speed of benefits ... were impressive and dictate the need for a randomised, controlled study,” they added.

The low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) diet recommends avoiding some poorly absorbed carbohydrates that are found in high-lactose dairy, garlic, onions, wheat, as well as certain fruits, beans and processed meats.

Dr Lisa Amir, a Melbourne GP and lactation consultant, said the results looked promising as a proof of concept, but questioned whether the colic had simply run its course. 

“It does look quite substantial, the improvements, but we can’t say for sure because the babies could’ve been better a week later anyway,” she told Australian Doctor.

And while the low FODMAP diet could be worthwhile trying, she warned that it was very restrictive.

Dr Amir said she advised her patients having trouble with colic to try removing only certain foods first. 

“I sometimes say to people: ‘is there anything you couldn’t eat as a child or other people in the family couldn’t eat?’ as it might be worth eliminating those foods. 

“Sometimes people do find that helpful,” she said.

The FODMAP diet proved acceptable to the breastfeeding mothers, with 16 of the 18 mothers choosing to continue with if for a further four to eight weeks, the authors said.

While it was not yet clear whether there was a cause-effect relationship between FODMAPs and colic symptoms, the authors postulated that the changes in gut microbiota with a low FODMAP diet would also alter the breastmilk microbiota in breastfeeding mothers. 

More information:

Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 2017; online.


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