Am I causing my baby’s Colic?

Colic. Oh isn’t it fun? Watching your baby scream in pain while trying desperately to soothe them and calm them down. Depending on where you read it, approx 20-30% of babies have Colic. Yet both of my babies seem to be affected by it. I wrote a post a while back called Coping with Colic, and that is all well and good but when you’re going through it you can’t help but wonder if it is somehow your fault. Is there anything you can do to stop it? Or at least I do anyway.

Now Colic in itself isn’t preventable or caused by anything other than an immature digestive system causing spasms and pain. But the term Colic is often broadly used to cover anything with similar symptoms. The arching of the back, scrunching of fists, raising of legs, screaming in pain. It isn’t always necessarily Colic but the overuse of the term can be why some parents struggle to have their baby correctly diagnosed with conditions such as reflux.

I even read an article on babycentre recently which suggested that in many cases it isn’t Colic and that its just a stage of crying that babies go through. That though they look like they are in pain, they aren’t. I am no Dr or Scientist but I am a Mother who has now watched two babies screaming in pain, and watched their obvious relief when eventually pooing or passing wind. I cannot believe that their pain is not real.

I have wondered if something I am doing is causing the Colic like symptoms. It may be that there is nothing I can do beyond cope with it for the next few months, as we did with Monkey. But I do like to find a solution to a problem and I guess for my own sanity I have to try.

I have thought about whether something I am eating is affecting Little Miss. I have read that milk proteins in dairy can be difficult for babies to digest so I have stopped my morning bowl of cereal. But how far do I go? Do I cut out all forms of dairy? Including chocolate?? I’m not sure I can!! Plus it takes a few weeks for the proteins to fully leave my system apparently so it would be difficult to see any affect on her. I have also read that gassy foods (beans, eggs, broccoli etc.) can cause baby to be gassy, do I cut those out? What about spicy food? Could that be affecting her? As one article I read put it, you have to be careful otherwise you find you are eating a diet of plain boiled rice. Not particularly nutritious for either of us!

Further reading and thought led me to consider my milk supply. I seem to have a slightly crazy and forceful supply of milk. In the early days of feeding Monkey I had to express and I wondered if that had some how amped up my supply. But I haven’t expressed at all yet with Little Miss so it can’t just be that. I mentioned it to my Mum yesterday and it turns out she had the same problems and all 3 of us (my brothers and I) were Colicky. So maybe there is something in this.

What do I mean about a crazy supply? Well, I have heard let down being described as a tingly feeling or like pins and needles, but for me its more of a searing pain. Then the actual let down of milk is very forceful, and actually sprays out of my nipple. If I am lying back I literally have a small fountain of milk and I’m not exaggerating. When I am sat up it shoots out and if baby is near it often spurts her in the face. I have to tuck towels, Muslins, bibs, anything really into the bottom of my bra during feeds to catch the excess milk, and even then I very often end up soaking my bra and clothes.

The problem with this is that it sort of drowns Little Miss. She pulls back coughing and spluttering a few times each feed and she swallows a lot of air the rest of the time. This could be causing the wind problems and colicky symptoms. It’s horrible to think that my milk supply could be causing these problems. Causing Little Miss pain, and stopping her sleep. Causing worry and stress for hubs and I and adding to our sleep deprivation. Giving Monkey tired and unhappy parents, making him stressed or anxious.

So what do I do about it? Do I give up breastfeeding and move to formula? Do I try to express my milk and feed Little Miss breast milk from a bottle? Maybe. I don’t know yet. I am trying some of the other suggestions first, but if things don’t improve I may try to express, though I know how exhausting that can be. Although I don’t want to move to formula yet, I am preparing myself that this may be the best thing for the whole family in this situation…. but though I know it isn’t rational, I can’t help feeling I will be failing her if we go down that route. I don’t think there is anything wrong with formula but I can’t help I how I feel.

First though there are other things I can try. I need to feed lying down to see if gravity can help prevent Little Miss from being drowned by the flow. I need to take her off the breast at the initial letdown and let the flow slow down a little ( not that she is a fan of waiting at that point) and I am trying to reduce my supply. I have been feeding from one breast at a time to try and make sure she gets to the fatty hind-milk, as I remember from last time that fore-milk can make Colic worse, but now I need to go one step further.

So I am following suggestions for reducing the supply, which is feeding from one breast for a few hours then doing the same on the other side. To try and teach my body to produce less milk. I have to be careful I don’t end up with blocked ducts or mastitis, or that I reduce my supply too much. But I have to try. I ave to try and help Little Miss feed easier, which will hopefully reduce her colicky symptoms.

If it doesn’t work then expressing or formula may be the answer… we will just have to wait and see for a bit I guess!

Anyone else feel responisble for a colicky baby? What did you do about it?

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12 thoughts on “Am I causing my baby’s Colic?

  1. Isn’t it annoying when the media and even doctors, belittle this term and the obvious pain that our babies are in? I had one who suffered terribly from indigestion which I cannot claim as colic because it continued until she was about 18 months! My cousin has recently had a baby who suffers from colic and she has chosen to cut out all forms of dairy from her diet. Maybe worth a try? x

    • Thanks Suzanne and wow 18 mths, that must have been hard! Sorry to hear about your cousin’s baby, I hope cutting dairy out works for her. I’ve stopped having milk but can take a few weeks to get milk proteins out of your system I think and haven’t cut out all dairy, I may do yet though! Xx

  2. Great advice, my first suffered with it and I eliminated dairy, spicy food, pulses and beans to help but nothing really helped him. Dr’s are now taking it a lot more seriously, such a pain, I remember O crying for 6 hours and taking him to A & E as the dr wanted to rule out anything else. Hugs. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

  3. This must be very tough for you and the baby. I’ve heard of forceful let down, and one breastfeeding position that works best is sitting at an angle and having the baby on top of you. You could try seeing a lactation consultant. Take care x

  4. I’ve never had a colicky baby but I have had a reflux baby and to see them in pain like this is never nice. Luka ended up on medication at 13 weeks and he was almost 3 before he grew out of it. In fact he was weeks away from investigative surgery when we realised his symptoms were fading. Imagine my paranoia when Bella and Elsie were born! As Luka had symptoms from birth I do think we’re in the clear again now but I am wondering about my diet during breastfeeding. Elsie does struggle to get wind up. I’ve always looked at what I eat first so caffeine and dairy, sadly, are the first things to go. It’s hard work but for me breastfeeding is always easier than bottles. I hope you find a solution that works for you x x x

  5. Little 1 had colic, little 2 didn’t. I used to give her Infacol before each feed and it did help a lot, i knew the feeds where I had forgotten to give it to her as she would cry a lot after. i too had forceful let down and know what you men about soaking muslins and myself! She out grew it around 3 months and I can remember the tiredness so thinking of you there. I do hope this baby doesn’t suffer with it when he comes along!

  6. It’s so hard to work out the cause of colic, I remember reading up on it avidly when mine were babies. The crying is so wearing, I really feel for you. Giving up the joy of cheese when you’re feeling (I’m guessing) tired and rundown enough already is pretty miserable. I hope things start to improve. Take care of yourself in the meanwhile. x

  7. I’ve never had a colicky baby but I have had three babies who have all been very keen on spitting up milk and cutting out dairy does seem to make a huge difference – so yes, after nine months of no interesting cheese I’m now on no cheese, no chocolate, no anything interesting – but I know it’s only for another few months and it will ease as Pip gets older. Curiously Elma was the least spitty baby but the one that went on to develop eczema for a year that seemed to be largely triggered by dairy – it’s all a minefield isn’t it!

  8. Oh no! what a position to be in. Not breastfeeding I’d not even thought about these kind of problems. The forefront of my mind when I saw the title of this post was “try dr browns anti-colic bottles!”… I actually hope you don’t have to and this manages to sort itself out… somehow!
    #brillblogposts xx

  9. Pingback: Little Miss at 4 weeks old | Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

  10. I appreciate this was a while ago now, but I was wondering if you had any joy? My daughter was very similar (I had a crazy supply, she was prem, she screamed morning noon and night, I changed my diet continually, she cried more, it was awful etc etc). She is now two and we survived! But on considering if I am brave enough to do it all again, i guess I am starring Colic (potentially) in the face again, and am keen to know if you found anything helpful. Thanks x

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