Breastfeeding and Colic in Baby

Colic in a Breastfed Baby

Colic is associated with excessive crying and periods of fussiness, caused by mostly gas, resulting in pain.

Some believe that certain foods eaten by a breastfeeding mother contribute to colic, but there are many possible causes of infant colic.

Colic babies should be gaining weight and producing a certain amount of wet and soiled diapers daily (different according to age), otherwise there might be other issues to address.

Did you know that the way you change your baby's diaper could be causing his/her colic symptoms? Learn more about the diaper changing method that prevents colic.

Many people think that only formula fed babies experience colic, but this is not true, breastfed babies can become colic too.

~ Interesting fact ~ Colic occurs in about 30% of all babies and is most common during the first 3 months of a baby’s life.
colic baby

What Causes Colic?

Remember, not all babies are the same. A mother should try some of the following, as to eliminate her baby’s specific colic and breastfeeding problems.

  • Acid reflux may sometimes be confused with colic. If your baby is spitting up a lot, it could be a sign of reflux.
  • It was believed that cow's milk would cause gut irritation during the first few weeks of a baby's life, and that a mother should avoid eating anything containing: Lactoglobulin, casein, lactalbumin, sodium casienate and whey. BUT resent research suggests that the introduction of "culprit allergy foods" into your baby's diet in small amounts from the age of 4 months can prevent allergic reactions later on. A mother is now encouraged to eat these foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding, unless she herself is allergic to a specific food. Some culprit foods include dairy products, nuts, fish, eggs, wheat, soy and citrus fruits. Reference for this new information: Allergies - Where are we now? & Early consumption of peanuts in infancy is associated with a low prevalence of peanut allergy.
  • An overactive let down can cause colic. This is when a mother's milk sprays into her baby’s mouth too quickly, and her baby chokes whilst breastfeeding. The overactive let down can cause a baby to swallow air, which results in tummy cramps. Mothers that have an overactive let down, can lie down whilst breastfeeding. This is done, so that the excess milk runs down the side of a baby’s mouth. Expressing some milk before breastfeeding, can also help decrease the force of the letdown.
  • Smoking causes colic.
  • Large consumption of caffeine products like coffee can cause colic.
  • Mothers sometimes confuse colic symptoms with normal growth spurts.

~ Interesting fact ~ Intolerance to milk protein has nothing to do with being lactose intolerant. Babies suffer from intolerance of milk protein just because their digestive tracts are not fully matured yet.

Breastfeeding and Colic Remedies

Things you can do

  • Most babies with colic are easily consoled if they are rocked, walked around with or even taken for a drive in a car.
  • Do not time feedings. Feed your baby when he is hungry. Colic infants may swallow extra air, if feedings are left too late. How to recognize your baby's hunger cues.
  • Infants gas drops: To treat colic the enzyme lactase can be given to a baby, in the form of colic drops before each feeding, which relieves colic symptoms by metabolizing lactose.
  • The Windi, for baby colic relief is our recommended brand. The Windi is a rectal suppository that relieves gas and pain almost immediately.
  • Burp colicky babies more often to release trapped air.
  • Babies with colic are often more calm in a special baby sling; the movement has been found to relieve pain and gas.
  • Try Dr Harvey's Cuddle cure to calm a baby. Watch the video here.
  • Hold your baby upright for at least 20 minutes after a feedings.
  • Boiron Cocyntal liquid is a “colic syrup" that is homeopathic; it relieves colic gas pain and irritability.

~ Interesting fact ~ The foremilk contains a lot of lactose, which may cause cramping, if Mom has an oversupply of milk.

Breastfeeding and Colic Massage

Symptoms of Colic

Signs of colic pain

  • A well-known colic symptom is when a baby is very flatulent (gassy).
  • Your baby extends his/her legs while crying.
  • Baby does not want to be consoled and cries uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Reasons why your baby might be fussy.
  • Crying bouts are usually in the evenings.
  • A colicky baby is constantly clenching the fists.
  • Hard distended stomach.
  • Your baby spits up often.

Baby colic usually stops at about three months of age. Perseverance will be worth it in the end, when your baby is colic free, and you are still breastfeeding. A colicky newborn may put extra strain on Mom and Dad's relationship with each other.  

~ Interesting fact ~ Baby massage used for colic relief, is one of the best methods used to relieve the pain.


Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!

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