Breastfeeding and Colic

Colic is characterized by prolonged crying in an otherwise healthy infant, often peaking during the initial six weeks of life. Generally, it resolves by itself when the baby is around 3 to 4 months old.

colic baby, colicky baby, crying baby
A crying 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 a breastfeeding mother eats 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.

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

Did you know that the way you change your baby's diaper could be causing 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.

colic baby, crying baby
Mother holding a crying baby.

What Causes Colic?

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

  • Acid reflux may sometimes be confused with colic. If your baby spits 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 caseinate, and whey. However, recent research suggests that introducing "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 letdown can cause colic. This is when a mother's milk sprays into her baby’s mouth too quickly, and her baby chokes while breastfeeding. The overactive letdown can cause a baby to swallow air, which results in tummy cramps. Mothers who have an overactive letdown can lie down while 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 regular 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 the trapped air.
  • Babies with colic are often more calm when carried close; the movement has been found to relieve pain and gas. There are many babywearing advantages.
  • 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 feeding.
  • Boiron Cocyntal liquid is a “colic syrup" that is homeopathic; it relieves colic gas pain and irritability.
~ Interesting fact ~ Baby massage used for colic relief, is one of the best methods used to relieve the pain.

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Symptoms of Colic

Signs of colic pain

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

Baby colic usually stops at about three months of age. Perseverance will be worth it when your baby is colic free and you are still breastfeeding.

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

Does Gripe Water Help With Colic?

Although gripe water hasn't been proven to alleviate colic symptoms, it is generally considered safe. Consult your pediatrician before administering it, adhere to the dosage guidelines, and scrutinize the ingredient list. Additionally, try other methods of comforting your baby.

What Is the Best Position for a Colic Baby to Sleep?

Despite the temptation to let your baby sleep in whatever position seems to comfort them, experts advise that infants should always sleep on their backs until they reach the age of one.

When Does Colic End?

Colic is characterized by prolonged crying in an otherwise healthy infant, often peaking during the initial six weeks of life. Generally, it resolves by itself when the baby is around 3 to 4 months old.

Do Colic Babies Fart a Lot?

While colicky babies might seem to burp or pass gas more often, this is likely due to ingesting air while crying.

Breastfeeding Class for Moms

Many mothers worry about breastfeeding not working for them, the pain and struggles associated with latching, and concerns about milk supply. The course tackles these fears head-on.

The course offers 13 easy-to-watch lessons, providing a step-by-step guide to breastfeeding.

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