Things to know about Infantile Colic

Written by Alana Mulhall

Little babies communicate with us by crying, it’s their way of saying hey I’m hungry, tired or need a nappy change. The crying that occurs with infantile colic is very different however from the standard baby cries.

Common Signs and Symptoms of a ‘colicky’ baby

  • Frequent crying and unsettled nature
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Irritable behaviour without cause
  • Signs of pain

Onset and causes of colic:

Infantile colic will typically begin in the early weeks of a baby’s life and peak at 6-8 weeks of age. The condition is poorly understood but it is theorised to be related to an immature gut and the composition of the baby’s diet (i.e. constituents in breastmilk or formula). Typically, colic will revolve around 3 to 4 months of age and isn’t generally associated with long term health consequences. However, management strategies should be employed when symptoms are occurring to prevent long term health consequences for the baby and parents.

Dietary strategies:

In breastfed infants, there is some evidence to suggest that certain dietary interventions may assist in reducing symptoms of infantile colic. A study found a low-FODMAP diet may reduce symptoms associated with colic such as crying and fussing.

Some other dietary approaches that are commonly used include:

  • Avoidance of dairy products for an allocated period of time.
  • Avoidance of certain allergenic foods such as wheat, eggs, nuts and soy products for an allocated period of time. 

We recommend speaking with a naturopath or nutritionist before implementing any dietary changes to ensure that nutrient intake can still be met.

Alternative therapies:

Some other treatment strategies that have been shown to assist with reducing symptoms include:

  • Probiotics: Remember not all probiotics are the same and it is important to get a strain specific probiotic. Research has shown that Lactobacillus Reuteri significantly reduced crying time by day 7 of supplementation.
  • Herbal teas taken by the mother such as chamomile, fennel seed, peppermint and lemon balm have also been used.

The Health of Parents:

Parents with colic babies may also experience a range of symptoms like exhaustion, difficulties with concentration and emotions such as fear, anger or frustration. If you do have a colic baby and you are struggling please reach out for support!

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