It’s not a pleasant moment when you discover the reasons for your baby’s endless screaming is due to colic and there is little you can do to help soothe it. Colic is the name for excessive, frequent crying in a baby who appears to be otherwise healthy. It’s a common problem that affects up to one in five babies.Colic tends to begin when a baby is a few weeks old, it normally stops by four months of age, or by six months at the latest. When we found out that was the reason for Emily’s erratic crying, it made sense but upset me that we could do little to relieve it. The thing we as parents have got to remember is that it’s not our fault. It doesn’t mean your baby is unwell or you’re doing anything wrong, it just happens, but you can help relieve it.
Infant colic is really common, affecting 1 in 5 infants in the UK. Even though it’s not a serious medical condition, it can still be uncomfortable for your baby.
There isn’t a treatment that will just magically get rid of colic unfortunately, but there are some methods that could help relieve the discomfort for your baby.
- holding your baby during a crying episode and keeping them calm and soothed
- preventing your baby swallowing air by sitting or holding them upright during feeding
- burping your baby after each feed
- gently rocking your baby over your shoulder
- bathing your baby in warm water
- gently massaging your baby’s tummy
With colic being so common there are other paid-for methods that could help ease your baby’s discomfort.
If you’re breastfeeding
Nursing mums are already expected to eat 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day as eating for two gives your baby a better start in life. Normally health visitors advise to eliminate potential offenders in their own diets (similar to that of when we were pregnant), including dairy, soy, eggs, nuts and shellfish. If your baby has a true allergy you’ll notice they’ll have loose stools and be prone to vomiting. Anything that you didn’t eat during your pregnancy and you’re eating now may make your baby’s tummy a little dicky. For example if garlic was your nemesis during pregnancy but your kryptonite during motherhood, this could be the reason your baby is uncomfortable. Eliminate it for a week and see if it makes a change. Doesn’t hurt to try, does it?
- Check to make sure your baby is correctly positioned
- Make sure your baby is ‘latched on’ well to your breast
- Encourage your baby to take a complete feed at each breast
If you bottle feed
If your baby is formula fed, it might be a good idea to change their formula. There are so many formula’s available as it is and most brands have colic formula’s to do exactly that, relieve colic. Most mothers change the formula product and brand within the first few months to see if it will work. Any change is a good change, right? Colicky babies generally do better when their formula has been changed and benefit from a different variety. Good formula’s to try include Aptamil’s Comfort Milk, Cow & Gate Comfort for Colic and Constipation, Novalac AC 1 or a SMA Comfort Milk.
- Try switching to an anti-colic bottle to see if it makes a difference. These bottles are designed to keep your baby from taking too much air whilst feeding, which should help reduce the amount of gas in their tiny tummies.
- Check the flow rate on the teats you’re using. Too large an opening will allow the milk to come out too quickly, and one that’s too small might make your baby feel frustrated when feeding and gulp for the milk.
- Try sitting your baby a bit more upright when feeding to reduce the amount of air that gets swallowed during a feed. (Holding your baby in a less ‘scrunched-up’ position can also help avoid trapping air inside.)
We tried and tested two bottles and this is what we thought:
Nûby Natural Touch 360˚, a revolutionary bottle designed for babies with reflux and colic symptoms | Available at selected retailers | £6.99 (reduced from £12.99)
- Reduces Reflux – as the weighted straw allows baby to feed in the upright position until the last drops of the feed.
- Combats Colic – with three advanced anti-colic valves which help prevent vacuum build up inside the bottle and avoids baby swallowing air.
- Allows 360˚ Any Angle Feeding – baby can latch-on at any angle around the teat and parents can feed in any position or hold that feels right.
These are a bit of a pain in the arse to use. Granted they look pretty, are BPA-free, the breast-size teat flexes and extends like a real nipple, helping your baby to latch on easily but there’s a lot of faffing with the assembly, it’s really not worth the half price tag. Sorry Nûby.
- Measurements are hard to read.
- Compared to a lot of other feeding bottles, the design is very bulky.
- They’re super fiddly.
- Milk flow is slow.
- Measurements of formula and water makes the air pressure in the bottle go a little stir crazy.
- Assembly is irritating, you need patience!
Chicco NaturalFit® | Available at selected retailers | £10 (was £15 in Boots)
The Chicco NaturalFit® 0m+ Slow Flow Bottles have a unique angled nipple that promotes ideal positioning for a perfect latch. With a nipple that bio-mimics the breast in form, feel and function, the transition from mom to bottle is natural.
FORM: The angle of the nipple makes the natural cuddle-cradle hold of breastfeeding the most comfortable way to use the bottle, setting you and baby up for success in a position that is both ideal for newborns and feels natural and comfortable for parents.
FEEL: Once you’re in position, the supple, satin-textured silicone nipple and the soft, rounded, breast-like base feel familiar to baby for an intuitive latch.
FUNCTION: A slow flow rate along with dual anti-colic valves, which allow the air inside the bottle to escape out the sides of the nipple, help prevent air ingestion so that baby swallows only the good stuff.
Feeding your baby should be a time of bonding and relaxation for both you and your child, that’s why Chicco designed the NaturalFit® Bottles, to make bottle feeding as simple, relaxing and natural as breastfeeding. With an easy transition between breast and bottle, feeding time is always that special moment it was meant to be. Get a set of three so that you’ll always have one on hand!
• Angled nipple promotes ideal positioning for a first latch and every latch
• Breast-shaped, rounded base feels familiar for an easy transition from breast to bottle
• Extra-soft, satin-textured, nipple with active flexors to support baby’s natural feeding motion
• Dual anti-colic valves and ideal slow flow help prevent air ingestion, gas and spit-up
• Ergonomic wide-mouth bottles are easy to fill, easy to clean and comfortable to hold
• BONUS straight nipple offers a mom and baby a choice in feeding positions with the same rounded base, slow flow and feel
• Clinically tested
I bought the starter kit for £10 in Boots and thought I’d try out after the unsuccessful use of the Nûby. I love the angled nipple and the shape of the bottle. It has clear measurements and Emily enjoys drinking from the bottle. The feel of the silicone teat is similar to a breast and supports her natural feeding motions. As Emily was breastfed before we went to bottle, she has found latching on a lot easier than any of the other bottles we use.
Adding drops to breast or bottle milk to aid digestion and release any bubbles of trapped air in your baby’s digestive system can be bought in most supermarkets and are cheap to buy.
Infacol |Available at selected retailers | £2.50
Infacol is a baby colic treatment that helps to bring up wind or air trapped in your baby’s tummy and can relieve griping pain. It’s specially formulated to relieve, comfort and soothe.
- Infacol has been specially formulated to relieve wind, infant colic and griping pain
- Can be used from birth onwards
- Natural orange flavour
- Sugar, alcohol and colourant free
- Comes with a convenient integrated dropper – making it easy to give to your baby
- Each bottle contains enough liquid for up to 100 doses
- It’s easy to use.
- For Emily she enjoyed this more for comfort. It didn’t seem to help relieve the actual colic, she just liked the taste, even though it took a couple of attempts to swallow in the beginning.
- It’s only temporary relief, we had to use a lot of it to see any form of comfort.
- We used a little drop of it on her dummy when she needed extra comforting.
Dentinox Colic Drops | Available at selected supermarkets and pharmacies | £2.50
- Suitable from birth
- Gently disperses trapped air
- Pleasant tasting & alcohol free
- Add to baby’s bottle or use the handy syringe
This was a recommendation from a bloke that works with Sam and we love it – it works so well for Emily. You can give it to your baby through their bottle or directly into their mouth. We add it straight to her formula (every feed) and the results have been great. Emily has been on the drops for nearly 2 weeks now and has only had 1 really bad night with her colic.
- The bottles should be bigger – Emily is having a bit of a growth spurt at the moment therefore is hungry all the time. If you use this on every feed, it’s easy to use up a bottle in a few days.
- It shifts the wind pretty quickly.
- Emily finds this comforting and is a happier baby.
- Emily has been sleeping better at night.
Every baby is different and what we’ve used that’s worked (or not) may be different to your baby. Colic remedies requires a bit of experimentation but eventually colic will cease normally by the time they are 3 months.
A baby with colic can be extremely tiresome for any parent, if you want some support you might want to ring CRY-SIS, a support group for families of colicky babies. Their Helpline is open every day from 9am to 10pm (08451 228 669), or you can get lots of good advice on their website, cry-sis.org.uk.