Do you have an infant who won’t stop crying? Colic is a common problem among newborns that can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It often begins around 3 weeks of age and may worsen. For some infants, it can continue until 6 months of age, though it normally stops prior to that time. Colicky infants often get red in the face and cry uncontrollably, often in the evening. Some babies become fussy after eating and may pass gas.
There are a few different beliefs regarding the cause of colic. One common belief is that colic is caused by a sensitivity to cow’s milk. Another is that the baby does not have digestive enzymes needed to break down proteins. These create gas in the intestinal tract—and pain for your baby. Research performed at the University of Texas Health Science Center indicates that colic may be caused by bacteria, according to Science Daily.
Will Changing Formula Help?
If you are formula feeding your baby, the answer may be as simple as switching brands of formula. Your pediatrician might recommend a few different types of formula to decrease the colic in your infant.
Milk Based Formula
Carnation Good Start contains proteins that can be broken down by the body in smaller pieces and make it easier to digest. This formula is often used for colicky infants who do not have a sensitivity to milk based formulas. If your pediatrician suspects that your baby is sensitive to cow’s milk, then this is not the best option and may make the colic worse.
Soy Based Formula
Nutramigen and Alimentium are soy based, hypoallergenic formulas. Soy-based formula is often more expensive than the milk based alternatives, but many colicky babies show a decrease in crying and other symptoms.
Considerations for Infant Colic
Speak with your infant’s pediatrician regarding concerns over your baby's crying. This will help rule out other possible issues, such as reflux and give you an opportunity to understand infant colic. If changing the formula does not work, discuss methods that might minimize the crying, such as infant massage, warm baths and rhythmic noises. If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember you are not alone and that there are others who are in a similar situation. Connecting with parents of colicky infants may lead you to new ways that help your baby feel comfortable.