Vitality Clinic Blog
Today’s blog post is all about gas – well, gas in infants to be specific. Most parents have questions or concerns surrounding their baby’s digestive comfort. Infants, like adults, will have gas – there is no way around it. Some babies will have more than others and most of the time it doesn’t bother them. However, sometimes babies will have excess gas in the intestinal tract and it can be quite painful. If your baby is dealing with excessive gas, below are some potential causes and treatments to help with your infant’s gas.
One of the most common reasons for the presence of gassiness in infants is from swallowing air. Crying causes the baby to swallow air. The more crying a baby does, the more air they swallow, the gassier they become, the more they cry from discomfort of gas – it’s a vicious circle. Crying is the last form of communication from your baby. Learn the infants feeding cues, signs they need to be changed or just looking for some extra cuddles.
Infants can also swallow air if the breastfeeding latch is improper (listen for clicking noises or dimpling in the cheeks as possible signs the latch should be improved). Another breastfeeding challenge that could cause gas in infants is strong milk ejection reflex (MER) as an infant will sometimes pull off the breast coughing, gasping, or sputtering. If you have a strong milk ejection reflex, try letting down into a cloth, bottle, or breastmilk storage container until your flow has reduced, and then relatch your baby. Please consider contacting a qualified lactation consultant if you are having difficulties with latching or any other breastfeeding challenges.
Infants feeding from bottles often swallow air. If your gassy baby is being bottle-fed, during their feed, I recommend the following: keep them propped up at a 45 degree angle, ensure your baby has latching to the wide base of the bottle’s nipple, allow for frequent breaks to burp your baby, and consider using collapsible bottle bags. There are now many bottles on the market that claim to reduce the amount of air an infant will swallow – unfortunately, I have not seen studies to prove or disprove these claims. If you have had great experience with one of these gas-reducing bottles, please consider leaving a comment below. Like bottle-fed infants, babies that frequently use pacifiers tend to swallow more air.
Overfeeding can lead to increased gas in the infant’s intestine. In the first 3 months of an infant’s life, not much lactase (enzyme to break down lactose) is produced. Overfeeding allows for extra lactose in the gastrointestinal tract that cannot be properly digested, resulting in gas. Offering smaller volumes of breastmilk or breastmilk substitute more frequently can help reduce this issue.
Dr. Jack Newman has written that burping is a ‘useless rite’ and will not relieve gas in the intestine of the infant as the gas is formed in the intestine. If Dr. Newman is right, then how do we help ease the discomfort of the gas?
Some people believe that foods a mother eats affects the breastmilk and in turn affects the baby. With the exception of cow’s milk (I’ll explain in a moment), there is no scientific proof that certain foods you eat will cause gas in your baby because gas is a localized reaction in the GI tract and foods that mother’s eat does not alter breastmilk enough to pass gas forming substances into a baby’s GI tract. Some women still feel better removing gas forming foods from their diet while nursing and if nothing else has worked, why not give it a try? The foods thought to increase gas production in babies are: Dairy, wheat, corn, peanuts, hot or strong flavored spices, broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts, green peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, and beans.
Dairy is a food group that is known to cause digestive issues in breastfed infants because of beta-lactoglobulin is transferred through breastmilk and can cause upset as if the baby had injected it directly.
Other substances are passed through breastmilk (alcohol, caffeine, medicines etc) and can affect the baby in various ways, but that’s a lengthy discussion for another blog post.
Try different positions and holds for the baby. Hold baby so they are bent at the waist at 90 degrees. Their torso can be held against yours with their legs bent outwards on your arms or their torso can be held in your arms with their legs pressed against your torso. Another hold to try is laying your baby stomach down along your forearm and tucked into your body.
Active ways to help your baby pass the gas include what is often called ‘the gas pump’ – lay your baby on their back, grab their calves and gently pump legs knees to belly occasionally changing to bicycle legs. For older babies try laying him/her belly down on a cushion and gently press and rub their back. Instead of a cushion you can also use a beach ball or small yoga ball and gently roll a well supported baby back and forth.
Massaging the belly of the baby can also enable them to pass gas. Try the ‘I love you’ stoke (ILU) along their belly. With gentle circular pressure, stroke moving gas down the descending colon (I), then massage across the transverse colon then down the descending colon (upside down L), then massage along the ascending colon, across the transverse colon, and down the descending colon (U).
Infant probiotics help ease gas by colonizing the colon with beneficial bacteria that aids digestion. Probiotics are found naturally in the gut of healthy individuals, however infants are born without with this beneficial and spend the first few months colonizing this flora the gut. Infant probiotics can be purchased at health food stores and natural health clinics (yes, we do sell them here at the clinc :) ).
Gripe water used to be commonly administered to help with excess gas. The concern with gripe water is that not all ingredients need to be listed on the bottle, and are often held in secret. Common ingredients include: sugar or fructose, ginger, fennel, peppermint, alcohol, sodium bicarbonate (which can be harmful to infants), chamomile, and vegetable charcoal.
Simethicone drops (oval) break up gas bubbles in the infants upper GI tract, but aren’t proven to work in the lower GI tract (intestines). It is a common anti-foaming medication and is also found in shampoo. Simethicone drops are made by combining Polydimethylsiloxane and silica gel. When reviewing WebMD, it lists no recorded side effects.
A few companies manufacture a product made of vegetable carbon, homeopathic remedy, and herbs such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger, lemon balm, and more. They claim to use no alcohol, sugar, simethicone, and artificial colors and flavors. They can be purchased online. Please proceed with caution when using products containing vegetable carbon – the baby’s stool will be black and the carbon will stain clothing.
Some parents report success relieving gas with herbal tea; chamomile and fennel are most commonly used. Typically, no more than a few teaspoons of tea is used, however I again caution giving any ingestible remedy to your infant that has not been discussed with your infant’s primary health care practitioner.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a consult, please contact the clinic.
Have a great weekend,
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
*picture is of Dr. Serne's baby, Koltyn, at 2 weeks old.
After 15 years of lifeguarding on Vancouver’s beaches nothing says summer like the opening of Kits Pool. I’m always excited to hit the pool as it is such a treat to swim next to the ocean with the sun on your back and salt on your skin. But the 137 meter length quickly reminds you that you’re not as strong as you thought you were. For seasonal swimmers such as myself, getting back in the pool can wreak havoc on your shoulders. Front crawl heavily uses the muscles that internally rotate the shoulder and protract the shoulder blade (scapula). The repetitive nature of swimming can quickly cause imbalances in the shoulder complex. Strengthening the muscles that externally rotate the shoulder can help correct this imbalance. Also, strengthening the muscles that retract and depress the scapula is important as scapular alignment plays an integral role the in the structure and function of the shoulder. Here are a few exercises to strengthen and stabilize your shoulder complex for swimming.
Laying on your stomach with palms facing down squeeze your shoulder blades together and towards your buttocks and lift your palms a few inches off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat.
Do 3 sets of 10.
These push-ups target your serratus anterior the muscle responsible for keeping your shoulder blades flush with your ribcage and keeping them from ”winging” out to the sides. Start in the standard push-up position. Keeping your elbows straight allow your chest to move towards the ground as your shoulder blades slide onto your back and squeeze together (retraction). Then slide your shoulder blades so the sides of your ribcage (protraction) humping you back up.
Do 3 sets of 10.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Start with your elbow tucked into your side and your elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. Rotate your shoulder externally so that your arm ends up pointing out to the side.
Do 3 sets of 10.
Natasha Zakus, RMT
I am asked on an almost daily basis about how much protein one should consume in their diet. The answer is best addressed in the office as it depends on many variables such as athletic activity, injury response, aesthetic goals, etc, etc. However, I thought I would share this great list of common foods and the amount of protein in each, courtesy of Women's Health (and yes, this is just a list of foods so men can use it as a guide too! ;) ).
Have a wonderful day!
Dr. Crysta Serne
Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic
Given the impending arrival of Dr. Serne's bundle of joy, when I came across this article of course it carried some resonance. Follow the link below to read up on the ways that Chiropractic care could ease or eliminate pain during your term. I have witnessed the benefits first hand!
Enjoy your day everyone!
Infertility is on the rise in Canada and many people are asking why. According to research from Assisted Human Reproduction Cananda up to 16 percent of heterosexual couples where the woman is age 18 to 44 are experiencing infertility. Here are some common misconceptions around fertility that might help clear things up:
Misconception No. 1: Infertility is a female problem. Fact: 40 per cent of the time it’s due to the male factor, 40 per cent is due to female and 20 per cent is due to both.
Misconception No. 2: I can wait until I’m 40 to conceive. Look at all the movie stars getting pregnant at 40. Fact: Despite all the stories you’ve heard, fertility declines at a much earlier age than you might think. A healthy woman’s fertility peaks in her mid-20s and starts to decline at about age 27.
Misconception No. 3: Weight doesn’t impact my fertility. Fact: Being too thin or over-exercising can stop ovulation. On the other hand, being overweight can disrupt your hormones and help prevent conception.
Misconception No. 4: Only a woman’s biological clock is ticking. Fact: Recent studies indicate that men may start losing their fertility as early as 35. Over 45, a man may experience a decline in sperm quality, dropping testosterone levels and a diminished libido.
Misconception No. 5: The day I ovulate is the best day to get pregnant. Fact: The best time to have intercourse is just before you ovulate. There’s a slender 12-to-24 hour monthly window when an egg can be fertilized, usually around the middle of your menstrual cycle.
Misconception No. 6: Infertility means we’ll never have a child. Fact: Infertility does not mean sterility. With refined medical treatments, up to 90 per cent of infertile couples become pregnant.
Enjoy your weekend,
Dr. Heidi Rootes
Everything hurts; legs, butt, feet, and my lungs are screaming bloody murder at me. My face is bright red, hair wild and matted with sweat, and I’m huffing and puffing like a bull about to charge. That was the picture I painted when I tried the sport of running several years back. I made a classic rookie mistake: too much, too fast. No wonder I hated it so much and, needless to say, gave it up pretty quick.
Fast forward to a couple months ago, looking to keep my cardio up between ball hockey seasons, I decided to give running another go. But this time, I was going to do it right. A downloaded training app in hand, I set out on what has become a very pleasant way to get about 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week. I always thought running had to be an all out thing, a mad dash to go faster, faster, faster! But what I’ve come to realize is, what’s the rush? Why can’t I just run for the sheer joy of it? And when you take the pressure off and stop focusing on setting better and longer times and distances, and how so and so can run a mile in this time, it really does become enjoyable. So, by unplugging from the world, getting outside and breathing the air, and letting myself ease into it, I’ve become that which I was never able to understand before, someone who looks forward to running.
Trust me, if I can run, so can you. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
- Start slow. Go at whatever pace is comfortable for you. It’s not a race!
- If you’re going to invest in something, invest in a good pair of shoes (have a read of Dr. Clemehagen's previous blog to know if you're due.) Your feet, and everything connected to them, will thank you.
- Get the tunes going. They REALLY help to keep you motivated.
- And finally, don’t take it so seriously! There are a million articles and tips out there with regards to proper running form, stretches, gear, cross-training, etc., etc.
It’s a lot of information and can be very overwhelming. Don’t get caught up in it. There will always be a marathon or race you can sign up for (kudos and good luck, by the way, to my clients running to BMO this weekend!), but if you’re just starting out, give it time to see if you even enjoy running. It’s not for everyone, and that’s ok, but if you give it a fair shot, and gently work your way into it, maybe running will surprise you. It sure as heck surprised me.
Enjoy the sun,
Registered Massage Therapist
Are you training for a half marathon or marathon this summer? Using running as a cross train or a way to get in shape? These simple tips will help keep you pain free for longer - you just need to look at your feet! Or rather, your shoes ...
If you are running in an older or worn pair of running shoes you are at an increased risk for running injuries. Running shoes lose cushioning, stability and shock absorption over time. One way to prevent these injuries is to know when to replace those old shoes.
Below are some tips and tricks to keep in mind when considering buying replacement shoes.
1. The mileage on your shoes is high. It is a good idea to replace your shoes every 600-800 kilometres. This is somewhat dependent on the surface you are running on, your body weight and running style. Smaller runners can get away with longer, running in rough terrain decreases the lifetime of a shoe, as does heavier runners.
2. You're feeling pain.
If you've been feeling muscle fatigue, shin or calf pain or some pain in your joints -- especially your knees -- you may be wearing shoes that have lost their cushioning. When you're feeling pain on both sides -- both knees, for example -- that's often an indication that you need new running shoes. It's also often an indication that you should see your Sports Therapist or Chiropractor to work out the kinks in your lower kinetic chain.
3. Your shoes fail the twist test.
If you hold your running shoes at both ends and twist the shoe, it should feel firm. An old shoe or one that doesn't have proper support will twist easily, like a dish rag.
4. The soles have worn out.
Soles typically last longer than the shoes shock absorbency and cushioning so if the soles are worn down, then it's definitely time for new shoes!
5. Newer shoes feel much better.
Some experts recommend that runners rotate two pairs of running shoes. If you get a new pair of running shoes about half-way through the life of your old ones, they can serve as a reference to help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced. If you notice a big difference in the cushioning of the newer pair, then it's probably time to say goodbye to the old ones.
If after replacing your shoes you are not quite healed, a visit to your Chiropractor, ART Provider, and Massage Therapist is a good idea. You may have built up some scar tissue or joint restrictions that need to be released!
Enjoy the weekend,
Dr. Laura Clemenhagen
Chiropractor and ART Provider
We may have posted this once before on our Facebook page, but as we go in to play offs it seems particularly relevant! This is a great animated short by DocMikeEvans that is not only informative but fun to watch.
Click the link below to watch the You Tube video.
Play safe everyone!
Your spine is important to your daily health.
In addition to 24 bone joints that allow the body to bend and move, your spine is also home to your spinal cord which effectively connects all of the organs, muscles and other tissues to the brain. Without a healthy spine, not only might you have trouble moving, your nerve connections to the brain may also become impaired and that means unnecessary pain.
There are many things you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle and prevent injury to the spine. BC's chiropractors put together some helpful tips and advice to keep your spine in shape. Visit the link below and book an appointment with one of our Chiropractor this week!
I found this gem of a recipe as I was perusing my internet last night. I think it would make the perfect meal!
Spring Detox: Asparagus, Spinach, and Quinoa Soup *
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 bunch asparagus tips
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 tablespoons plus 3 cups water, divided
1/4 cup quinoa
1 bunch green chard (about 1 pound)
14 cups gently packed spinach (about 12 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
4 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
Big pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; co