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    Almost to the day of baby Banks turning 5 weeks, he started waking up from 4 or 5am in mega discomfort, upset, tense, fist-clenching-back-arching-stiff and colicky. 


    It was always at the same time and always for a minimum of an hour till I massage, rub, tap, bounce, sing, feed, cuddle, skin-to-skin, rock, ride and sway all the techniques Google had to offer.


    Then throughout the day, I’d busy myself searching and eliminating food groups to see what makes a difference the following night.


    Four weeks later (the boy is now 9 weeks), we seem to have the worst of this painful stage behind us, but only if I stick to the below protocol. The day I sneak in a little ‘no no’ food will follow by the night we both pay for it. 


    Here’s everything I learned over this time…


    Lake and Banks Maher




    1. It’s not uncommon for babies to be uncomfortable in the early hours of the morning. Their digestive system does not always develop at the same rate as their appetite and gets “overloaded”. -Gina Ford
    2. The reason for fussing and fretting is that the stools of a very young baby are so soft, they do not put enough pressure on the anus, making them more difficult to eliminate. It is something he will grow out of as his systems mature. Once he’s taking solid foods, things may well improve. -Dr Spock
    3. Gripe is caused by muscle spasms and excess acid created when air bubbles form in baby's tummy. When the air bubbles get trapped in baby's stomach, the stomach thinks it is full of food, so acids are produced which would normally break down the food particles. These acids are not needed and can cause irritation. At the same time, because the stomach is full of air bubbles its muscles are unable to relax causing cramps and spasms. -Woodward’s
    4. No one completely understands colic. What we do know is that the pain is in the gut and that the whole baby is upset as a result. (The term ‘colic’ comes from the Greek ‘kolikos’, meaning ‘suffering in the colon’). - Dr Bill via AskDrSears
    5. Colic will eventually run its course and most infants grow out of it between six and 12 weeks of age. Meanwhile everything you eat is transmitted through breastmilk and “maternal intake of food allergens is an important factor in the [development] of infantile colic among breastfed infants”. - Study in Nov 2005 issue of Pediatrics
    6. The “Rule of Threes” is used to define colic: A colicky baby has incessant, inconsolable crying for at least 3 hours per day on at least 3 days per week, for more than 3 weeks. Crying is usually the worst in the evening hours. A baby with colic vs just gas doesn't always mean the same thing, however what works for colicky babies may also help babies with milder types of GI discomfort. -Alice Callahan, PhD
    7. It takes 12-16 hours after you have eaten something to cause a bout of windy crying in a baby if they are being affected by it. 
    8. Young babies only cry for 5 reasons: hungry, full of wind, overtired, nappy needs changing, too cold/hot. If you have covered all of the above, then your baby may have a different problem, maybe a pain brought on by food intolerance. See a doctor then. - Tizzie Hall


    foods to eliminate for breastfeeding mother if colic or wind




    Keep a food diary of what you eat and drink in a day and take note if the nightly episodes are worse after some days. I personally don’t usually consume everything on the below list, but I now know for a fact that when I avoid everything entirely, that’s the night he doesn’t suffer.

    1. Dairy. Usually the worst offender so eliminate this immediately for at least 6 days and see what happens.
    2. Other allergy causing foods including eggs, gluten (even oats!), soy and peanuts.
    3. Mushrooms.
    4. Corn and beans. Read backs of labels- corn and corn syrup are in SO many foods!
    5. Cruciferous veggies including brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale (nooooo!) and cabbage (unless fermented as in raw sauerkraut)
    6. Other “gassy” veggies including onion, garlic, peppers and tomatoes.
    7. Citrus fruits and drinks. Stay away from OJ!
    8. Other super ‘juicy and tangy’ fruits including pineapple, strawberries and green kiwi fruits.
    9. Caffeine including black tea, coffee and chocolate. I could never give up chocolate (sorry Banks!), but I noticed that the darker it is (75%+), the worse it is for him.
    10. Alcohol. Some studies say that beer won’t cause problems but ALL studies say that any alcohol consumption during breastfeeding must be limited to one glass per day. And if you must drink, begin sipping during a feed and sip slowly. It takes 2 hours for the drink to reach your milk and then starts to ‘wear out’ quickly after, so you should be ok by next feed.


    Tanya's raw vegan london deli


    Focus on the abundance of foods you CAN eat and both you and your baby will feel so much more relaxed. It’s also important to note that if your baby is NOT showing any signs of tummy troubles, you’re better off eating all the food groups in moderation. The reason for this is that maternal diet restriction during lactation may increase baby’s chances of developing allergies later in life. -American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

    1. Probiotics. I'm usually pretty good with my intake of 'friendly bacteria', but it was when I switched to the kind specifically targeted at infants, children, pregnant women and nursing mothers, when everything changed! I decided to double the dose and literally within 24 hours, Banks was so much more relaxed and my own bowel movements were so much more satisfying :)))
    2. Avocados.
    3. Root vegetables especially sweet potatoes, carrots and beetroot.
    4. Fermented veggies including sauerkraut and gherkins.
    5. Fruits, but limit those to bananas, pears, papaya, mango and peaches. As a rule of thumb- I like to think of them as ‘creamy’ fruits, meaning that they can be blended into a creamy puree in a blender, but unlike apples they won't be able to go through a juicer to extract liquid.
    6. Grains and seeds including rice (stick to wild or brown), buckwheat, millet, amaranth and quinoa. Apart from rice, all the rest are actually seeds, which makes them a safe and nutritious base to any meal. Think tabouli, stuffed veggies, porridge, soups, curry and crock pot meals.
    7. Nuts and seeds. All varieties in moderation are great here unless you suspect an allergy. (Peanut is not a nut and most definitely on the list to avoid!)
    8. Leafy greens including spinach, rocket, lamb’s lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy and snow pea shoots (but kale fits the cruciferous veg category to avoid for now). Try to eat a variation.
    9. Sea veggies and kelp noodles.
    10. Sauces including cashew cream, homemade vegan pesto, nut and seed butters, broths or boullions (always read labels to avoid allergens), hummus, coconut cream/milk, Thai curry, Indian Curry, satay sesame dressing, guacamole, etc.


    how to soothe crying colic colicky baby with wind




    Your baby will be way too upset and too tense from pain, so you’ve gotta be patient and strong here. Remain calm, our little humans feel everything and the last thing they need is the additional nerves from their dearest person. No single remedy will likely work on its own (and what worked yesterday may not work today), so try out as many of the below tips as possible, in any order, as many times as needed.

    1. Place a warm water bottle on his belly. Make sure it’s not hot.
    2. Stroke his belly in a clockwise direction. It will be tight, so be extra gentle.
    3. Stroke his back in a clockwise direction. Lay your baby over your lap or seat him bent forward with one of your hands supporting him around the belly, while rubbing.
    4. Pedal his legs. Lay him on his back and if he lets you, pedal his legs by bending them at the knees and gently pressing them into his belly to help release gas.
    5. Try skin-to-skin. Put him on your chest with his ear against your heartbeat and cuddle him until he settles. This reminds him of the sounds and feel of the womb, which may relax him enough for the wind to release more freely.
    6. Swaddle him. This never worked for mine, as he doesn’t like to feel restricted, but I hear it’s comforting to many babies, so definitely try it.
    7. Play ‘white noise’. Ask Siri to ‘Play white noise for babies’, download an app or turn on the actual hair dryer or vacuum cleaner. This trick worked wonders on both of mine.
    8. Back to the breast. Breastmilk contains some natural elements which act as a pain relief for baby and the sucking is soothing too.
    9. Use a dummy. Don’t know what we would’ve done without! Definitely helps to soothe when they refuse to go back on the breast.
    10. Create soothing vibrations. Take him out in the car or his pram over cobble stone roads or place his car seat over a clothes dryer (make sure he and the car seat are secure, so neither can fall).
    11. Walk your baby kangaroo-style. This has always worked for us but requires some patient commitment, so pop him in an ergonomic baby carrier and keep going. 
    12. Rock, roll, bounce, sway or rhythmically and gently move your baby in your arms or a bouncer if you get tired.
    13. Open windows for fresh air or take the baby outside for a walk - either in a sling or a wedged up pram.
    14. Try a winding valve. Seems weird but makes a lot of sense if it’s really the gas being trapped in their bellies that’s causing so much agony. The relief will be immediate.
    15. Try gripe water. It contains Dill Oil, which warms and relaxes the tummy, breaking down trapped air bubbles. Also Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate, which neutralises acid in the baby's tummy. The results are usually a resounding burp.
    16. Failing that, try Infacol. It contains Simeticone, which is an anti-foaming agent that works locally within the gut and not absorbed into bloodstream. It breaks down the smaller bubbles in the gut, creating larger ones that are easier for baby to pass.
    17. Failing that, try Colief. It contains the naturally occuring enzyme, lactase, which helps to break down lactose in milk, that some babies have trouble digesting.



    prevent wind and colic



    Since no-one actually knows what colic is, the root cause of it is even harder to establish. However, all of the below methods have worked for both of my children, minimising the fussiness at the very least.

    1. Eliminate the foods from your diet which I list above under heading 'Foods to avoid for breastfeeding mums'.
    2. Keep a food and crying diary. Use my guide above to note the worst offenders when it comes to what foods a breastfeeding mama can eat. Observe the bouts of crying intensity within 24 hours of consuming something and consider eliminating it from your diet for a minimum of 6 days, then (only if you must) introduce it back slowly and again observe whether the crying worsens. If your baby is formula-fed, ask the paediatrician about switching to a soy-based (I hope not!), goat milk, pre-digested, or other hypoallergenic formula.
    3. Keep your baby semi upright. Use wedges (here’s what I bought on Amazon for his hammock bed and pram) so he’s slightly elevated when lying down. If your baby’s already in a cot, place a pile of books under each leg at his head end to elevate the cot. Being in a slightly sloping position as opposed to lying flat, can help a baby eliminate wind and bowel movements slightly easier.
    4. If breastfeeding, make sure baby is getting lots of “hindmilk” (the creamy harder to extract ending) at each feeding and not just “foremilk” (the watery thirst clinching start). This can happen by making sure one breast is finished before offering the other or only offering one at a feeding and emptying it completely.
    5. Baby massage. Daily! There are 5 week courses in the UK which are free, so make sure you go, otherwise YouTube videos or follow the below screen shot with instructions.
    6. Burb your baby after every feed, between feeds and even throughout. Bottle fed babies may take in more air when eating, but in cases like mine, where my milk let-down is too fast, the baby will gulp so quickly, he will take in too much air.
    7. Probiotics Probiotics Probiotics. These ‘friendly bacteria’ are not just for breastfeeding mothers, as they help restore healthy gut flora in even the newly born babies. It’s hard to imagine that a breastfed child may need his gut flora ‘restored’ and he probably doesn't but my theory is that consuming probiotics (smother over nipples or add to bottle) will leave an alkaline ash in the gut (in other words create a calm environment without acids) and help avoid burning sensation when eliminating acidic poo. 



     baby massage colic technique instructions



    This time is so fricken hard. No parent wants to hear their baby crying inconsolably, but a baby screaming in pure agony can be too much to handle. 

    1. Take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone going through this. Other parents all over the world are trying to comfort their crying child at exactly the same time right now too.
    2. Always remember- this stage WILL pass.
    3. Try and remain calm. Babies are super intuitive and can feel your stress, which will only add to theirs.
    4. What ever you do, do not blame yourself. The crying is not a reflection of your parenting or a test of your character. You are doing the best you can and you’re doing a wonderful job.
    5. If the crying gets too much and you feel your fuse burning out, put the baby down in a safe place, take a moment for yourself taking deep long breaths in and long sighs out.
    6. Try to sleep when the baby sleeps, so you are in your right mind and have the energy to deal with the fussiest times of day.
    7. Cook in advance and freeze a bunch of meals so that you’re not distracted during the difficult evening hours.
    8. Ask for help. A spouse, a friend, your health visitor or if in the UK, call a helpline from this list. This is not the time to be shy, a parent needs relief from colic as much as the baby.
    9. Know that you are the best person to comfort your baby. If you can’t do it, nobody can.


    Baby Boy Banks Maher


    Do you have a tip of your own or heard of a method that worked? Please share in the comments below, I'd love love love to hear it and I'm sure that parents going through this painful time would too!

    Healthy baby weaning recipes with 3 ingredients or less

    Healthy baby weaning recipes with 3 ingredients or less

    Weaning can be so confusing.

    Even NHS seem confused.

    First they recommend weaning at five months, then at six months and now they suggest that four months is the ideal time to introduce your baby to solids to avoid possible food intolerances later in life.

    The food intolerance reason does make sense to me, but I had to go with my own motherly instincts here and follow baby led weaning (which I was soon to learn is an actual thing, though I’m yet to read the book)…

    I let Lake lick fruits and my green smoothies here and there when she was four months. I added probiotics to her breastmilk when she was just a week old (via my own diet and by coating nipple in it). I added spirulina to her bottle once a week when she was about two months. When I finally decided to try out with her first ‘meal’, it was a banana and she only had 1 or 2 tiny spoonfuls. I was so excited to see how she likes it, that I blended up an entire banana, only to realise that this is not something to rush.

    For her next few ‘meals’ instead of trying out different foods in a blender, only to see them wasted, I would chew them up in my own mouth like mama-bird and feed her from a spoon. We started this process at five months with just one solid ‘meal’ per day, which quickly escalated to two ‘meals’, that also became a little bigger each day. Then instead of fitting in food in-between her milk feeds, I took one milk feed away and then another and replaced them with watered-down ‘solid meals’.

    Now at 7 months, instead of five milk feeds over the course of 24 hours, she has three milk feeds and two to three solid feeds, which are usually a decent bowl-full. Hungry growing girl.

    I try not to offer any snacks, so she understands her routine. Only water, which she happily accepts especially after rolling around all over the grass in the park.

    Lake Maher _ Lady Lake _ baby weaning tips healthy raw food vegan

    I think it’s always best to introduce little ones to solids with a mono diet and slowly add extra ingredients.

    Here are the foods Lake enjoyed immediately when they were blended up till smooth for her to swallow:

    1. Avocado, flesh only
    2. Peas, slightly softened in hot water
    3. Apples or pears, cored and peeled
    4. Banana, peeled
    5. Sweet potato, boiled
    6. Watermelon, so juicy, no need to blend, just let them suck

    Lake Maher _ Lady Lake _ healthy baby weaning recipes

    When it comes to recipes, I’ve tried sooooo many varieties, many not even worth mentioning, because the little lady just turned up her nose to them, no matter how hungry she was. There’s been lots of trial and error, but the below recipes are absolute winners in our household.

    There are no quantities, because only you will know how much your baby eats. If you find that there’s way too much waste, store it in the fridge and try giving it the next day warmed only by some boiling water.


    Apple, peeled

    Usual milk (try seed milk!)


    -I never cook fruit, so you can assume that whenever I use fruit in baby recipes (with the exception of tomatoes- see more below), it is always raw. As fruits are super sweet already, the moment you apply high heat to them, whether boiling, heating, microwaving (may this never be you), baking or whatever, the carbohydrates in fruits transform into sugars. If you were to leave fruit simmering for hours and hours, all the liquids would evaporate away and the remainder crystallise into sugar. Cooking has its place, but in my opinion- not with fruit.

    -Peel, core and chop up the apple into the blender, add milk and blend. Experiment with millet, sunflower seed, buckwheat, hemp and pumpkin seed milks or even a mix.


    Amaranth, cooked

    Tomato, organic and canned without anything added


    – Cook amaranth as per packet instructions. I usually soak 1 cup overnight, rinse and add 2.5 cups water, bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 mins or until it’s cooked to softness.
    -Everything is important purchased organic, especially when any pesticides or herbicides are about to enter the little stomaches of our children (these chemicals erupt the stomaches of insects and bugs, so since size is the only major difference between us and them, the effect pesticide-coated produce will have on us will be in a matter of time. I mention ‘organic’ next to tomato, because it’s one of those fruits all the insects go crazy for, so if they are not ‘organic’, they are 99.99% sure to be coated in chemicals. Tomatoes are also one of those very few foods that are better for us when cooked – tomatoes are rich in lycopene (the phytochemical which makes them red) and this antioxidant can be boosted with heat.

    -Blend cooked amaranth and cooked tomatoes till smooth. I use a ratio of 3:1 of amaranth to tomatoes.


    Oats, soaked in hot water
    Apple/pear, peeled and cored

    Cinnamon, a pinch


    -This blend is so so tasty, but just a little cinnamon would do. Try wipe it off the baby’s face as soon as eating is finished so it doesn’t aggravate the skin. (We made face masks with cinnamon as one of the ingredients at my Lush Escapes retreats some years ago and while most people had the loveliest subtle skin after the treatment, others swelled up for hours. My skin can tolerate it, but I noticed that Lake’s skin looks slightly red unless I wipe it off immediately after feeding.) Taken internally, cinnamon does wonders to balance out blood sugar levels so it’s key for sweets intake, including fruits.

    -Blend all the ingredients till smooth. As your baby grows and starts to chew, you can grate the apples instead of blending.

    -I also buy ready sprouted gluten-free oats from Planet Organic and Rude Health. They are a bit tougher than porridge or smoothie oats, so need longer soaking time in water.


    Avocado, flesh only

    Ripe Mango, peeled and chopped


    -I can’t even tell you how much mine loves this combo. She will open her mouth for more before even swallowing each spoonful! Avocado is such a versatile food and so good for everything. At 6 months, Lake could easily eat 1/2 a large avocado, which worried me at first, but babies are pretty clever and they will soon tell you if their system’s had enough. Now at 7 months, she is only excited if I give it to her every few days, not every day.

    -As both fruits are soft, I just mash them together with a fork.


    Avocado, flesh only
    Ripe Pear, peeled and cored

    Spirulina, pinch


    -Spirulina is more than a superfood, it’s a wonder food! It has the highest amount of protein than any other food. Period. There is over 60g of essential amino acids that make up a perfect protein in every 100g of spirulina powder. It also has lots of chlorophyll for healthy cells and blood and it has masses of iron! You only need a sprinkling of this algae, so don’t let the price tag put you off.

    -Mash up all the ingredients together with a fork.


    Banana, peeled
    Blackberry, organic
    Pear, peeled and cored

    Mixed berries, organic


    -Tangy sweet berries go so well with creamy kind of fruits (‘creamy’ because you can easily blend these fruits and they won’t separate).
    -All berries (especially strawberries) fall into the Dirty Dozen category. These are the fruits and veggies that must always be purchased ‘organic’ or not purchased at all, because they are so heavily sprayed. (See my note about tomatoes under ‘Lake’s favourite dinner’).

    -Mash up the ingredients with a fork and that’s it.



    Coconut yogurt


    -Quinoa, like millet, buckwheat and amaranth, is a seed not a grain. This immediately earns this wholefood more stars in my books. I don’t know why so much baby food contains rice, when quinoa is what has 3 times more protein, 10 times more minerals and only a fraction of the starches that are in rice. It’s the cost no doubt, although this is quickly changing as the demand and therefore production of quinoa seed continues to grow.

    -Cook quinoa according to packet instruction. I usually soak 1/2 cup overnight, rinse, add 1 cup water, bring to boil, then lower heat and cook for approx 10 minutes or until soft and fluffy. Transfer 4:1 quinoa to yogurt ration into a blender, add a little water if needed and blend till smooth. I kept trying to feed Lake quinoa without blending it up but she really didn’t like the texture and refused it till I tried to smooth it out.


    Sweet potato, boiled

    Usual milk (try millet milk!)


    -Sweet potatoes are a wonderful -potato/not actually potato/ yam/ not actually yam- food for everyone. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotin, amongst many other nutrients and minerals, without the starch content of potatoes. Simply peel, chop and boil till soft.

    -Blend the cooked sweet potato with expressed breastmilk or a seed milk from millet, buckwheat, hemp or sunflower seeds. (You can make your own by blending and straining seeds and water or you can buy a ready milk in Health Food stores, Planet Organic or Wholefoods Market).


    Sweet potato
    Swede or turnip

    Carrot, raw


    -The carrots aren’t as starchy as other root vegetables and are perfectly fine raw. I actually try to avoid ever cooking carrots because they are already sweet enough and adding the heat, turns the carbohydrates into sugars, making them even sweeter and of course less nutritious. Peel the carrots and grate them into the blender.
    -Starchy veggies are best cooked, as the starches break down and make it possible for your (or baby’s) body to digest the other goodness in those roots. Peel the sweet potatoes and swede or turnip, chop up and boil till soft. Add to blender with a little of the water and blend.

    -When your baby starts to chew, you may like to just mash everything up with a fork instead of blending.



    Medicinal mushroom latte (a blend of cordyceps, chaga, reishi, dates and almond milk, just like in The Uncook Book or at Tanya’s)


    -I was enjoying a Medicinal Mushroom Latte at work (Tanya’s) when Lake opened her mouth asking for a taste, I gave her a spoonful and she wanted more. It was almost her feeding time and I already had a mashed up avocado ready to go, so I stirred in some of the latte. She gobbled it up like nothing I’ve seen before. Can only be a good thing especially since Cordyceps is amazing for energy, reishi for relaxation and chaga for immunity. Plus all those essential fats for growth and protein for strength, both in the avocado and almonds, only add to the goodness.


    Buckwheat, cooked

    Ripe Apricot, de-stoned


    -Buckwheat, unlike its name suggests, contains no wheat. This also means that there is no gluten and it isn’t a grain, rather a seed. Check out the tips in CocoQuinoa for more gluten-free porridge options. I grew up on buckwheat porridge in Russia, so for me this baby food has sentimental value. And I’m so glad… it contains protein, calcium, manganese, fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and so much more for healthy development!

    – Cook buckwheat to the instructions on the packet. I usually soak 1 cup of groats for 4 hours, rinse them really well (takes me 4-5 go’s to get rid of the gooeyness), sprout for 1 day and then cook in 2 cups of water. After about 10 minutes, they should be nice and soft and you can pour out excess water. Add the buckwheat and chopped apricot to a blender, blend to a smooth paste.


    Pear, raw organic, peeled and cored
    Peas, softened in hot water

    Broccoli or spinach, lightly steamed


    -This combo is such an easy way to get all those greens into your baby’s diet. The sweetness and creaminess of the pear will make anything palatable, but you can also try without it at all. Just remember my reason from above for keeping fruits raw.

    -Blend everything or if your baby is chewing already, then mash the ingredients with a fork.



    This small personal blender from Tribest! It is small enough to produce perfectly sized baby meals so there is never any waste. It’s also super light and compact, that we travel with it and even make our own smoothies on the road (bonus!).
    bamboo feeding bowl and spoon
    This bamboo bowl and spoon set! I've got a few spoon variations and this is the one that's most ergonomic and enjoyable for my little one. It also looks and feels lovely for mama (or dada) to use. And the bowl! The bowl! It has the most clever suction base, so it always remains in place no matter how much Lake wants to smack the bowl full of dangerously staining foods.
    weaning bib
    These easy-to-clean bibs! At first, I was using Lake's milky fabric bibs, but they are now entirely stained in berry spills and even banana stains which I never realised could be so intense. Now I know. Hope it's not too late for you. These bibs have sleeves too, so even clothing stays protected.
    Lake Maher _ Lady Lake - Baby weaning essentials
    This fun feeder for teething and weaning! It was a gift from Lake's Kiwi grandparents, that already have two grandchildren and four kids of their own, so they know aaall the tricks. This one is extra handy, because you can put anything inside, like grapes, cucumber, apples or watermelon and not worry about choking or even preparing anything.