52 answers

Colic? Not Getting Satisfied with Breastfeeding?

This is my second request about this topic because my baby just doesn’t seem to be settled. I'm now starting to wonder if he’s just a colic baby. He cries constantly and is always not satisfied how much he eats. I feel like I feed him sometimes up to 3 ounces every hour. I've expressed it to bottle-feed and constantly breast-feed him. I usually will breastfeed until I'm so exhausted then go to the stockpile that I've started because I'm so drained feeding him ALL the time. He arches his back constantly with gas, and throws his hands all over the place like has never ate before. I can never just lay him down when hes awake or sleeping he will wake up and start screaming. He constantly always has to be held and usually walked around. I can usually get him to calm down, but is a combo of walking and turning around a lot and eventually back to the breast to settle him to pass out, just to have him wake up again 10 minutes later screaming. Is this normal?? My other kids were formula fed and NEVER were like this.

I have read up on colic and evenings are worse with his crying. He sleeps terrible during the night and is up every hour and a half and feeds for a solid hour sometimes more. I’ve tried gas drops when its his fussy times, but honestly I can’t even tell what’s working anymore. I'm really tired of going this route if this is how breastfeeding goes, how in the world is this possible to manage when the baby is hungry THIS much and unhappy??? I really could use some sleep AND a happy baby!

Btw- We have talked about supplimenting formula or possibly switching to it sooner then expected if it helps this situation...BUT...With all of the scares with Melamine and the Cynacuric Acid found in the formulas, I just don't trust a powder anymore let alone the government to tell us whats ok.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My sister-in-law had the same problem with her third little boy, she eventually found out it was because she was eating and drinking dairy and it was upsetting his tummy. So that is something you could look into.

Sounds like reflux to me. Get you lo in to a pediatric gi. they will give help you out a ton. my dd has been on prevacid and some other things since two weeks. they really do make a difference!

J., it sounds more like to me that he is still feeling hungry than colic. They do have organic formula that is supposed to have different standards in preparations and you can get them at any health food store or they even have them at wal mart. Good luck

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J., you are doing great! Sometimes we mom's really need to hear that. I'm the mother of 4. You would think that #4 would be a breeze for me. Your discription of you son sounds just like my baby boy. I was at my whits end just like you. My baby's doctor recomended "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. It's a book and video. Look at your library for this. The movie is the first step. It shows you exactly what to do to calm your baby. The book then goes into detail explaining what is going on with your baby and how you can literally fix the problem. Please try this for you and your baby. Colic is in my opinion harder for the parents then it is for the baby. You can do this! E.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh, Honey, I know this is difficult.

My son did this, too, 13 years ago. Check out the website one of the other moms gave you (colicsolve--something like that) and call a lactation specialist--your local Le Leche League leader, or a local Doula.

Check his position and his suction. If he's not latched on properly he'll suck in air which will hurt.

Also, allowing him to cry will cause him to swallow air so be sure you're prompting the breastfeeding and not waiting for him to demand it. This also means that once he's started crying, he's on the cycle.

Remember breastmilk metabolizes better and quicker that formula, because your milk is specific to him and not general to a population. So he needs to be nursing every 2-3 hours from start to start at first...don't put him on a formula eating schedule--they are different because baby has to work harder to break down formula.

What you put in your body, he's putting into him. Try lowering your dairy intake for a few days to see if there's any difference.

Remember, there are many positions to breastfeed in. You don't have to sit up to breastfeed. You may want to lay down when you nurse him at night...or just as often as possible.

IMPORTANT: If you're baby is this young, try to give up on having too many expectations and setting a schedule for him. TUNE into HIM. If he's one that needs to be worn, get something to wear him with--a WRAP, SLING, or POUCH, not a back pack type--and wear him throughout the day so you can get things done and your baby can feel secure.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK, TOO. Right now your job is to heal and bond with your baby. The dishes and vacuuming just have to wait. ANYONE can do those things, a neighbor, your mother, your husband, a teen in the area, but NO ONE can heal you, NO ONE can build your relationship with your baby, NO ONE can foster your intuition...that's all on YOU.

Now you MUST remember, that your milk is dependant upon your availability to nurse. It's all supply and demand.

You're baby will have growth spurts around two weeks of age--where he's going to be wanting to nurse 24-7 in order to build a bigger supply--DO NOT try to minimize your feedings, this is IMPORTANT!!! This doesn't last forever, only 2-3 days, unless you're trying to do everything the exact same way as a formula baby...they eat differently. This will also happen at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months, 9 months, and pretty much every 3 months...in order to signal to your body that baby needs more, and a different combination of nutrients and larger amounts of protein, and several different things. So the whole "supplementing" thing is really only going to work against you. Just submit to the demand feeding and let him guide you. (I'm thinking it's possible you're trying to do things the same way you have with the other children you bottle fed, which I could see would be frustrating)

Also, remember, babies breastfeed for MORE than hunger. They like the feel of your skin, the way you hold them (which is VERY IMPORTANT to development), the sound of your heart beat (which is why many prefer the left breast, and looking into your eyes.

You cannot prop your breast and leave a baby alone to do other things, so there's much more Mama involvement required--these things encourage a relationship with your baby and also kinda force you to sit your butt down so your body can rest and heal.

OH, and you might want to take him to a CHIROPRACTOR. Sometimes the doctor yanks and pulls so much on a baby's head at birth that they put the bones in the neck into a painful position causing a baby not to nurse well. Find a Chiropractic doctor who commonly works with infants and you MAY have your problem fixed in minutes!!

I hope that you find this helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

Even though it has been almost 10 years, I remember what this was like! My first daughter was sooo fussy and colicky and nursed constantly and didn't sleep for long stretches, and it was exhausting. First of all, please believe me that it will get better. Second, it has nothing to do with breastfeeding, and I''m sure that if you were formula feeding, your baby would probably be even more fussy! Your baby's temperament is simply different than that of your other babies.

As for books, the best book we found was by Dr. Sears called "Parenting the Fussy Baby and High Need Child." (I have since passed it on to my best friend for her fussy one.) The new edition is called "The Fussy Baby Book.' Also, I strongly advise you NOT to follow the "Babywise" method. I read it when it was given to us by well-meaning friends, but it just seemed wrong, and I know it would not have worked for my fussy, high-need baby (nor would I have tried it with any of my other babies).

I hope you will hang in there with breastfeeding. Most likely your little guy is not simply nursing for food but for comfort as well during this difficult time. If you need support, find your local La Leche League. They usually have a wealth of resources! I hope you will check in and let us know how things are going, at least after you get through the first 3-4 months (usually colic gets better after that).

1 mom found this helpful

I second most (if not all) what Regina said.. try different hings, you never know what will do the trick (and lastly if it is true colic, it will pass in another couple montsh).

but don't give up on breastfeeding yet...if your baby has a sensitive stomach, breastmilk is best... (not dogging formula.. just saying, try changing your diet first)... plus growth spurts are just plain awful! but his constant demand for food is increasing your production, it should get better in a day or two).

also, if you are wondering how much he is getting, go get him weighed! most hospitals have a lactation consultation center (with nurses to help and scales to weigh your baby). (or call the la leche league, they'll help you find a place to go). you go when you know he'll want to eat. plus a fresh diaper on him, weigh him.. feed him and then weigh him again. you can do this daily if you need to.. it really helps ease your mind, when you know how much he's drinking. I think formul feeding gets your mind set on ounces and quantity too much, don't get hung up on the numbers... he's getting more from your breast than you know.

good luck!


My second baby was like this. I don't think this is due to breastfeeding (though I could be wrong). My first was breastfed and she was happy as a clam. I just had my third baby and he's also happy as a clam. As far as I know, formula may worsen the problems with gas. It's usually harder to digest than breastmilk, so chances are he's actually doing better with your milk than he would with formula.

Here is a link to a website by Dr. Sears.
I tried to copy the link directly to the "fussy babies" section, but if it didn't work, go to that link. The thing he points out is that we often chalk fussiness up to colic, but sometimes the fussiness is something else like reflux, food sensitivities, or some other problem. He also gives advice on multiple ways to soothe your baby. I found this site very helpful.

I'll share my own story with my fussy baby. Maybe it will help. My daughter didn't seem satisfied with feeding, she had LOTS of gas, she spit up constantly, she arched her back regularly, and when she wasn't sleeping she was usually crying. She also wasn't gaining adequate weight (she dropped to the 2nd percentile), but her height and head circumference were always in the 50th to 70th percentil. She would fall asleep totally exhausted from crying. Fortunately her exhaustion would help her sleep about 3 hours at a time. I talked to the pediatrician about it and until she was 4 mos old he kept telling me it was colic. Then he saw her arching her back and crying when I tried to nurse her after her vaccinations and he prescribed medication for gastroesophegeal reflux. For some babies it really helps and within a few months they can go off. Our daughter continued to spit up until she was 9 mos old. She still spit up sometimes after that. She still had lots of gas, and developed problems with diarrhea. The doctor kept saying that some babies with reflux take longer to heal than others, and some just have to take meds their whole life. My husband and I did't feel settled, but we're not doctors, so we figured he knew what he was talking about. We tried to trust our doctor, but we really should have trusted our instincts. We finally took our daugther to another doctor and discovered her food allergies. We didn't think we had food allergies in our family trees, but once she was diagnosed we heard tons of family stories about food problems and about people with diagnosed food allergies. She is doing great now.

Hope this is helpful. It's hard enough to get used to taking care of three (at least it is for me), but when the baby doesn't seem well I'm sure it's even harder.

I wish you the best,

Hello. You have had lots of great advice. Just wanted you to know that you are not alone! My second did the same thing. She has reflux and now with meds. she is 100% better! She is a very happy baby now! I would call your Dr.'s office Monday. The sooner the better for you and your baby! Good Luck and Happy Holidays!


I would strongly recommend you learning more about reflux. This sounds like silent reflux to me. Both of my twins had it and they were miserable for months. They were new babies when I got their issues figured out.

Also, intolerance to something in your diet could be making the reflux issue worse and thus you may benefit from trying a total elimination diet, though that could be extreme for now. When I was learning about this, I found the forum on www.infantreflux.org to be exceptionally helpful. Those moms seem to know everything. Lots of good information there about all sorts of things.

Ultimately, my babies went on the www.marci-kids.com recommended dose of Zegerid for their reflux and on Neocate for their MSPI (because I couldn't breastfeed). Good luck in your search for your answer to your baby boy's problems and helping him feel better. Please let us what you end up doing and how he does!

We had a smiliar situation when our twins were very young. Our pediatrician put them on Zantac and it really worked well. Both calmed down (our daughter was worse than our son, but he had it pretty good too). I would ask your pediatrician about it and see what they say, don't try going this alone, get some help!!
Good Luck....D.

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