Listen to Audio: Anti Colic Diet Strategies
First posted Oct 29th/2018; Updated Jan 21st/2019
Anti colic diet strategies for breastfeeding and formula fed babies
Parenting can be hard enough even when everything is going smoothly… so when the dreaded “C” word comes into the picture, we realize things can get difficult, fast. Yes, we are talking about colic!
We have taken a deep dive into the latest scientific literature to provide you with some simple and straightforward advice on what to do with your diet if/when you deal with a colicky child.
Anti colic diet: tips for breastfeeding and formula fed babies
Colic diagnosis: How can you tell if your baby has colic?
In general, infantile colic describes excessive crying from an unknown cause or origin, in an otherwise healthy and well-fed infant. What does excessive mean? It’s important to have some numbers to guide us, because time can feel like forever when your child won’t stop crying.
From a medical standpoint, colic can be diagnosed by your doctor if crying and/or fussing occurs in your infant 5 months-old or younger:
• 3+ hours/day
• 3+ days/week
• At least 1-3 weeks
The exact criteria defining colic continues to evolve as we learn more, and the numbers above are there to give you a general idea of what qualifies as colic. But even if you have a fussy baby that is not “labelled” as colicky, it can be very stressful and disarming for parents.
Consider the fact that colic can affect up to 20% of infants. In your neighborhood… up to 1-in-5 houses has/had a colicky child cry for hours on end!
You are not alone. Colic is serious: it creates sleep problems, behavioral challenges, and not to mention the dysfunction it causes your whole family.
Colic includes excessive crying/fussing from an unknown cause, and affects up to 20% of infants.
What causes colic? When will colic go away?
Colic related to formula milk and breastmilk: which babies are more likely to be affected?
Does feeding your child breast milk or formula affect colic occurrence differently? How about gender and age? It doesn’t really matter. The data shows that, in general, colic occurs as often in breastfed and formula-fed infants for both genders! In other words, breast milk vs. formula, and boy vs. girl doesn’t really seem to matter.
How long does colic last?
The good news is that colic frequency reduces as infants get older!
Colic similarly affects breasted and formula-fed babies, with the critical period being birth to 6-weeks of age. Hang in there parents, it’s less likely to happen as babies grow up.
Probiotics and colic: can they help your baby finally sleep?
Interestingly, geography plays an important role here…at least with the current evidence we have. Three clinical studies that showed the benefits of Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17938 were in Canada, Poland, and Italy. Surprisingly, a study conducted in Australia found no benefit of this probiotic in both breastfed and formula-fed babies. This makes sense because other research on gut health has shown that where you live in the world AFFECTS your intestinal microbiota! So, just keep this in mind when you consider any probiotics.
Probiotics, specifically Lactobacillus reuteri DSM17938, can help treat colic in infants that are exclusively breastfed
Foods not to eat while breastfeeding to avoid colic: role of the mother’s diet
This approach should only be continued if i) your child responds well after a duration of 2 weeks, and ii) the symptoms reappear in your child after you re-introduce these food allergens to your diet – what is referred to as a “re-challenge”.
Mom’s diet can contribute to colic symptoms in breastfed infants, especially if it stems from a food allergy.
How do you treat colic in formula-fed babies?
• Contain hydrolyzed protein (i.e. whey protein hydrosylate)
• Contain soy-based protein
• Are low in protein
• Are Lactose free
• Contain prebiotics
Exploring different formula compositions, including those with hydrolyzed protein, may help formula-fed infants with colic
Other colic remedies to help your baby sleep
You can trust this list because the interventions listed in this chart are ranked based on their effectiveness as documented by the evidence in the scientific literature. Always focus on the most effective interventions first- they are likely to give you the best results!
• Reduced parental stimulation
• Counselling for parents
• Improved responsiveness of parents
• Prescribed drugs
Non-nutritional methods of treating colic do exist, please consult your health care provider before exploring them.
Anti colic diet plans: We’re here to help you and your baby!
Daelemans, Siel, Linde Peeters, Bruno Hauser, and Yvan Vandenplas. “Recent advances in understanding and managing infantile colic.” F1000Research 7 (2018).
Gutiérrez-Castrellón, Pedro, Flavia Indrio, Alexis Bolio-Galvis, Carlos Jiménez-Gutiérrez, Irma Jimenez-Escobar, and Gabriel López-Velázquez. “Efficacy of lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 for infantile colic: systematic review with network meta-analysis.” Medicine 96, no. 51 (2017).
St James-Roberts, Ian. “Is It Time To Recommend Lactobacillus for Colic? Not Necessarily.” Pediatrics 141, no. 1 (2018): e20173445.
Sung, Valerie. “Infantile colic.” Australian prescriber 41, no. 4 (2018): 105.
Sung, Valerie, Frank D’Amico, Michael D. Cabana, Kim Chau, Gideon Koren, Francesco Savino, Hania Szajewska et al. “Lactobacillus reuteri to treat infant colic: a meta-analysis.” Pediatrics 141, no. 1 (2018): e20171811.
History of L. reuteri DSM17938