Colic is the term doctors use regarding a baby who is crying excessively for at least three hours a day, at least three days a week, over the course of at least three weeks. There may be no outward symptoms for their crying, so your baby may still continue to eat, gain weight, and meet milestones at well-baby visits to the pediatrician. Colic may be due to abdominal pain. Within the first few months of life, babies can deal with stomach issues including gas, bloating, and constipation. Colic can occur whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding.
When breastfeeding, you can have an overactive let-down which means your baby has to swallow faster to keep up. The same is true if you use a bottle nipple that flows too quickly. That extra air turns into gas that is trapped in the stomach which can be a culprit.
Babies can be allergic to a number of things early on. It doesn’t matter if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Since every baby starts with a milk-based diet for the first six months, the allergies can be related to dairy. One of the more common allergies that affect babies is a milk protein allergy. Less than 5% of babies will have a sensitivity to milk protein during their first year. This is not lactose intolerance. It is a reaction that the body has to milk protein. The bigger the protein means the bigger the reaction such as gas, nausea, diarrhea, or even eczema-like rashes. The good news is that most babies, about 80%, will grow out of it before they are three years old.
Colic symptoms can also be related to a baby’s immature digestive system. Not only can there be a problem digesting milk protein, but just in digestion. Muscles are still developing, spit ups are likely, and gas can get trapped one way or another. GER is a reflux issue that can be remedied easier than GERD which is an actual disorder.
If you are breastfeeding, there are some changes that you can make so that you can continue nursing for all of the benefits you want to pass to your child. If your pediatrician suggests that it is a milk protein allergy, cut out dairy and supplement your calcium intake with produce like dark leafy greens and fortified foods like cereal and enriched bread. Continue nursing and even consider pumping. When you pump, you can help with your let-down and make sure that more of the nutrient-rich hindmilk is coming through. If your baby is filling up on the foremilk, they are not getting as much of the thick, creamy milk that satisfies them for longer periods and settles their stomachs better.
For both nursing and bottles, your baby’s feeding position can reduce the amount of air they will take in. This means keeping their head more elevated. You can prop your arm up on an armrest or even more with a pillow. Burping in between ounces will also help with any air that may have entered their tummies. Keep your baby’s head up even after feedings. This reduces acid reflux and helps if there is still a burp or two that needs to come out. Baby massages like rubbing small circles on their belly can also aid digestion.
If you are bottle-feeding at any time, make sure that you are using the right nipple. There are also anti-colic bottles that reduce the amount of airflow. Your doctor or fellow parents can offer recommendations for what worked with their child.
If you have tried all of the strategies and they are still not working, a change in baby formula may be the answer. Your pediatrician may have already checked for food allergies or intolerances. If it is a milk protein allergy, then you want to find a formula that has smaller proteins so that your baby’s body has less of a reaction to them.
Holle Goat Milk formula is an organic formula from Europe that has nothing artificial that can cause discomfort to your baby’s delicate digestive system. The difference between goat milk and cow milk is that the proteins are naturally smaller and there is less casein that can affect the stomach.
If you need smaller milk proteins, Hipp Special Comfort can meet that need. It has hydrolyzed proteins, which means the proteins are broken down into smaller, more digestible pieces. While it does contain organic lactose, there is less of it compared to conventional formulas. Another way that Hipp supports digestive health is from prebiotics and probiotics. Both of these are in the formula to develop more balance in digesting. If constipation is an issue, it also softens the stool so it is easier to go.
In cases of GER, some doctors may recommend adding cereal or a thickener to help keep more formula down. If you don’t want to start your infant on rice cereal yet, look into Hipp Anti-Reflux which uses natural locust bean gum.
If your baby is uncomfortable, you should change your formula as soon as you receive your new package. Try it to see how much of a difference it makes. Keep track of it so that you can report back to your pediatrician as to what works and what doesn’t. You can make Holle organic formula your regular choice if it works for your baby. As for Hipp Special Comfort, it can be used every day for as long as your baby needs it. When the colic or colic-like symptoms go away for good, you can go back to your regular formula or start with the other Hipp organic formulas that have the prebiotics and probiotics.
Edited and reposted from October 2018
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