Q: Can I drink fennel tea while breastfeeding?
A: Breast milk is very easy to digest, so I doubt it is the source of your daughter’s discomfort. However, a 5-week-old baby’s digestive system is not mature and gas is a normal part of this developing system. The baby will expel the gas by either burping or by passing gas.
Herbal teas are hard to recommend since there are no conclusive studies that show medicinal effects from herbal teas. Fennel tea is probably fine, but don’t take in huge amounts of it. Try one cup and see if that changes anything. Before turning to fennel tea as a potential solution, consider the possibilities I discuss next as a source of her discomfort.
Some of the reasons your baby is getting very gassy can be from taking in air while breastfeeding. Also, sometimes your dairy intake can be a cause for a newborn baby’s gas and bloating. Are you drinking a lot of milk during the day? If you are then you might try cutting back to see if that helps your daughter produce less gas. Other questions I would ask are, are you on any medications? Are you also bottle feeding? If you are bottle feeding extra air can be taken in that way too. I am assuming you are not using a formula, but if for some reason you are that can also contribute to a newborn’s digestive problems.
For further support, if you haven’t contacted your pediatrician for their opinion, I would. Also, a local La Leche League leader can be a source of comfort and support to you, just to let you know you are doing all the right things. You can reach the La Leche League at 1-800-LALECHE.
By Allison Gamble
Nutritionist/Diet Technician Highland Park Hospital, Illinois