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Is There a Link Between Colic and Food Allergies? How Long Does Colic Last?

My daughter is 9 months old and has been "Colic" from the day we brought her home. I was nursing and the pediatrician just kept blaming it on things I was eating. I wente through a lot of different diet changes but no improvement. We went to a lot of doctor visits and out of desparation, we had an upper GI done that turned out to be negative. At 6 months old, I went ahead and switched to Enfamil Nutramigen (It was DIFFICULT to give up nursing). She still cries at least four hours a day and we can't figure out why! The pediatricians (yes, we've been to two already) just keep saying that some children are more "fussy" than others. It is so hard to watch our little girl seem so unhappy and uncomfortable. I have a hard time believing she is just "Colic". Does anyone have any advice? Thank You :)

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I recently posted with a question about colic and food allergies. We visited our doctor and he said it is not colic anymore. At her age it is more likely reactions to food allergies in combination with some learned behavior (crying). She is allergic to dairy, soy, wheat, and at this point who knows what else. I've found some good recipes off the websites suggested to the mom asking about making homemade baby food. Thank you to everyone!

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Best wishes!

Hi S.-
My son was colicky from the time we brought him home. He would fuss all day and wouldn't be quiet until he went to sleep. He also was a projectile spitter. It was so hard. I found out he was actually suffering from reflux. I thickened his feedings with rice cereal which helped a lot with the spitting up, but he would still get pretty fussy. Finally he was put on Zantac to help the reflux and I switched him to Good Start Supreme. This formula is made so it is easy for babies to digest. I no longer had to thicken his feedings and he was a completely different baby. It seemed like it would never end - and I would just cry with him sometimes because I felt so helpless. I hope this helps :)

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My older son had colic. It was terrible and really stressful. The doctors (and everything I could get my hands on to read about it) told me he would grow out of it at 3 months. When the doctor told me this at 8 weeks, I got in my car and cried...FOUR MORE WEEKS OF THIS?! Well, at 12 weeks, he was a new baby.

At 2.5 yrs old, he doesn't have any food allergies that I know about except he can't eat some fruits as they go right through him. But, even with the colic, we never had an issue with food allergies. I exclusively BF until about 6 months and did 50/50 with formula until 8 months when I switched to all formula.

So, I really don't think your issue is "colic" to be honest. I don't think it should have gone on this long if it was just colic (and I say that lightly, trust me).

I'm not sure what could be the issue, though. Does she eat well. How are her BM's? Is she constipated or maybe the opposite? Does she spit-up a lot? Is she fussy after eating?

What about her schedule with naps? Is she a good napper and sleeper at night? Was there ever a break in the crying? The tough part is that even if colic ends at 3 months, teeth aren't TOO far behind and then you have a whole new issue to deal with.

I'm sorry your little one is fussy. Our older son was much better after 3 months, but was always sensitive to certain situations and would be fussy.

I'd talk to your doctor again, or change again. I can't see how a child crying for four hours a day doesn't have an underlying issue.

Good luck. I hope you can figure something out for her.


EDITED because 12 weeks = 3 months, not 4 as I kept saying...DUH.

1 mom found this helpful


Welcome! This is a fantastic group of Mom's and I am sure that you will enjoy being a part of this group.

First. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I too had two babies who were "colicky" and so I know how hard it can be. But, I urge you not to give up. With my first baby, we had every test and eventually after 3 months, he was put on medicine for Reflux. While this helped, he wasn't totally better. We then went on a mission to find a formula that worked for him. After trying about 5 different ones, we eventually found Enfamil A/R. Ahhh, the happy baby that we had hoped for. Although, he still wasn't as happy as a lot of babies but much better.

My second (and last) baby struggled too. Given her brother's history, we had her checked for Reflux pretty soon after she exhibited symptoms. Although, she didn't start showing signs until she was about 5 weeks old. My son started showing signs with his very first feeding as he projectile vomitted right away.

Anyway, she didn't register as reflux on any of the tests but the Doctor decided to try medicine anyway. Her symptoms got better but she still struggled. We literally tried 10 different formulas before finding the right one and I took her to what I call a quack but he helped me figure out that she was indeed allergic to some foods.

Long story short, my daughter did best on Enfamil GentleEase. This "quack" did a bunch of tests where he held potential allergens above her belly and watched her muscles respond. If I hadn't seen her reactions with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. But, because of him, we were able to find the best formula for her. And at 12 months, she is doing great.

Although to your other point. At around 9 months of age, my daughter started showing signs of food allergies. She developed patches of ezema (sp?), seemed congested all of the time, a horrible diaper rash (as my friend called it "the flesh eating diaper rash" and finally, developed dark circles under eyes after eating. Individually these symptoms are normal for babies but together, they told me that she had food allergies. With the "quacks" observation and the symptoms, I decided to take her to an allergist. She was diagnosed with 12 of the 16 initial allergens that they checked for. As a side note, there are like 150 allergens that they could be allergic to so we haven't even begun the process of exploring this crazy world.

So, to answer your questions more directly. I, as a Mom of two, believe with all of my heart and research that the term colic is a band-aid to other issues. I believe that most kids with colic have tummy issues and that you need to get to the bottom of what it is and not just accept this term. Your baby's life disposition depends on it. I also believe that tummy issues can be a pre-cursor and/or an indicator to allergies and that it is worth investigating.

Please feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I would be happy to answer any questions that you might have further. Also, do not waste your money on the colic calm. I ordered it and could not get past the look and smell much less put it in my baby's belly. It honestly looks like ink. Natural or not, I wasn't going to have my baby ingest it.

Hope this helps. Good luck to you. If you stick with it, you and your baby will be happier soon.

1 mom found this helpful

i vote reflux or allergies. I think colic is a word they use when they don't really know the reason. My son had "colic" which was food allergy related and when i was VERY strict and diligent figured it out he was a new kid. Though i've had several friends w/kids w/reflux and that's no picnic either (except after meds that helped).
Nutramigin also has soy in the ingrediants even though they say its not soy... unless they've changed it the last yr and 1/2. Get those ear plugs or i pod out and just hold em and rock... i remember doing that for 4-5 hrs at a time before we figured it all out. good luck


Hi S.,
You may want to check out the above website or another one that explains sensory processing/integration. My daughter was the same way. It got better around 7 months old, but there still were some difficult times. She is now 6 yrs. old and I now wonder if it was a bad case of colic or was it/is it a sensory processing disorder. She cannot tolerate many types of clothes due to the texture. Seams in clothes drive her crazy and tags. Now I think back and wonder if that's why she cried a lot when she was young. Now she definitely lets me know when clothes are not comfortable on her. Some people with sensory issues do not like being touch. However, my daughter has always loved getting massages. It used to relax her so much when she was a baby

Yes.. we had tests done when she was an infant too, and everything came back fine. My son has a somewhat difficult time dealing with noisy environments. Well.... I am not a doctor, but I just wanted to add my comment for you to see what you think. Good luck. I am glad at least I can manage my daughter's level of sensory issues. From what I've heard, some families have such severe cases of sensory issues.

While I do not have specific advice, I just wanted to say as one mother of a formerly colicky baby to another...

I feel for you and wish you all the luck in the world! Colic is the toughest thing I (and my baby) have ever endured, and my heart goes out to you.

Hang in there - it does get better, I promise! I never thought ours would and then one day just turned off like a switch. Our baby turns 1 tomorrow (2/14!) and you would never know he screamed his head off for the first 3 months of his life.

A million hugs for you - this is tough, I know!

Hi S.,

Welcome to the site. I've been using it for almost 3 years now and have found lots of great ideas/support/help from other members. You're in a good place.

I konw nothing about colic or any of the other issues mentioned as possibilities but wanted to suggest you swaddle your daughter if you're not doing so already. It might help calm her while she's feeling so miserable. My first didn't sleep for what seemed like forever (I think it was a couple weeks in realitiy) and cried every minute I wasn't holding her - as soon as I swaddled her she calmed and slept like a champ. It might help ease some of her (and your) stress if nothing else.

Good luck!

I don't know about a link between colic and food allergies, but babies with sensitive stomachs often have lots of gas and are therefore more fussy because of the discomfort.

Outside of food issues, I can affirm that my son was just one of those more fussy babies. From the night he was born, he would just cry all the time- morning, daytime, nighttime, ALL the time. Our doctors said he was just fussy and that some kids normally are. It was hell. I completely understand what you're going through, but it only eased up when he became a toddler and could talk about how he feels and express himself better.

The only thing that worked for me was to hold our son and talk in a calm, soothing whisper. I used to keep him in a bjorn baby front carrier all around the house and when we'd go out grocery shopping or walking or to get-togethers. That definitely helped to soothe him.

Hang in there! Things will eventually get better.

I feel for you. I'm going through the same with my daughter but she's getting better as she gets older (16 months). It's not easy. I didn't think she was colicky since she didn't follow the nighttime pattern; she cried morning noon and night! I even wrote to Dr. Mike of Pediacast asking his opinion of when do you know your baby has colic or is simply fussy/high-needs. Let me ask, do you think it's tied to feeding: is it consistently the same before, immediately after, and later afer feedings? Have you ruled out reflux and GERD? Could she be allergic to a particular fabric (if you're not using 100% cotton sheets and clothing) or cleaning product (detergent on her or your clothes)? Does light or sound (nature, white noise, or classical) have positive or negative effects? Is she napping enough? You literally have to track when and how she cries and if it changes to all sorts of stimulus, nutrition, sleep, everything. Then, trust your gut. If you think this is not "colic" but there is something wrong with your baby, that she isn't right somewhere and you just don't know how or where, keep advocating for her and get her tested. It could be a simple allergy or something else. Brushing you off with "it's just colic" is a lazy cop out by your doctor.

Hi S.-
My son was colicky from the time we brought him home. He would fuss all day and wouldn't be quiet until he went to sleep. He also was a projectile spitter. It was so hard. I found out he was actually suffering from reflux. I thickened his feedings with rice cereal which helped a lot with the spitting up, but he would still get pretty fussy. Finally he was put on Zantac to help the reflux and I switched him to Good Start Supreme. This formula is made so it is easy for babies to digest. I no longer had to thicken his feedings and he was a completely different baby. It seemed like it would never end - and I would just cry with him sometimes because I felt so helpless. I hope this helps :)

I do not believe there's any link between colic and food allergies. My daughter who was colic has no food allergies but my other daughter who was not colic is allergic to milk and corn. She's outgrowing her allergies though. I am glad you wrote this because my daughter who was colic as a baby has had stomach problems her whole life. She is now 18 and it seems to be getting worse and I have never put 2 and 2 together but now it has me wondering.
I know it is hard but the crying will pass. Have you tried powder formula or soy? I know it did help my daughter. Also putting her in her chair on top of the running dryer helped sometimes. I would just bring a book to read while she slept on top of the dryer. I also was able to get laundry done.

My middle child appeared to have colic symptoms for almost a year & a half. I basically cried along with him & my hubby developed an ulcer! I kept thinking to myself did I bring this poor child into the world to suffer? My hubby is an only child & my MIL claims he was horribly colicky & thats the reason she only had one child. I believe his system was very sensitive, to cold & sugar. I nursed for 6 months like I did for the other 2 & thought I was being careful with what I ate. Turns out I was eating peanut butter regularly not knowing peanuts could have worsened the problem. I avoided onions, garlic, broccoli & spicy food. At about a year I was describing him to my accupuncturist when she recognized 'sugar blues' symptoms. It was challenging-you have to read every label-but I removed all sugars from his diet. The worse offender is high fructose corn syrup. He even had sugar free birthday cakes for several years. Without sugar he was a totally different child. I hope you have someone who can spell you for an hour or 2 a day. Having different family members help out was the key to holding on to my sanity.

My husband has a lot of food allergies and we were worried as well about her colic the first few months. Our pediatrician told us to switch to Enfimil "Gentlease" for colic/fussy babies. She changed within a week of the change over and has been smiling ever since.

Colic usually only lasts until they are a little over 3 months old. Now, it is not unlikely that your daughter could be allergic to something, but if you have tried cutting out various foods and nothing seemed to help, I doubt it would be that. Now that you have switched to formula you have added another possibility to the mix because now you have cow's milk in the equation and it is very likely she could be allergic to that. I am sorry they encouraged you to stop nursing, it really would have been better if you had continued.

I can imagine it must be frustrating....it is true that some babies are more fussy/sensitive than others but if it is to this point and she is 6 months old already, it is not colic. It could just be her temperament, or it could be that something is wrong with her. Have any of the doctors mentioned reflux? I know that seems to be a buzz word lately, but with fussiness like that (does she spit up alot too?) I can't help but wonder. I would try yet another opinion. It doesn't sound like these doctors are really listening to you or your concerns.

S. - have you tried Colic Calm? I've heard mostly good things about it, although, I've heard it can leave clothing stains. You can look it up on www.coliccalm.com. I have not personally tried this - had a couple of friends rave about it...just passing on so you can check it out. I believe it is 100% natural. Good luck to you - my 2nd was a fussy baby to 6 months and we never really could figure his issues out, either. I wish I had known about this product at that time- it would have definitely been worth the try! Hang in there! D.

I have worked for a Chiropractor for 11 years and can tell you that a lot of colic can be caused by spinal interference so you may want to visit a chiro... I know a great one in Frankfort if you need one. I can give you his number.

Sometime formula can cause problems in the intestines and have pain. Perhaps you can try a different one?? I'm sure you've done that already... but that is the only advice I have for you. I've seen many children with colic improve right away after adjustments, so give it a try.

Hi S.
My baby is now 13 months old. When he was born they told me he had colic. After 5 months of sleepless nights, he'd scream unless held upright to sleep and would basically cry all evening, I finally found a book by chance that called the "colic symptoms" my paedetrician had diagnosed, as acid reflux. The book was "Colic Solved" by Bryan Vartabedian M.D. I picked it up in Barnes and Noble and the minute I started reading, a lightbulb went off and I said that's my baby! I made an appointment that day to see our doctor and asked if we could do the upper GI test. Luckily he refluxed while doing the test. At this point I had eliminated so many foods from my diet, I was living on beans and vegetables because everything seemed to make him sick and uncomfortable. I took him to two allergists and one actually skin tested him and found he was positive for chicken, apples, bananas and a few other things! All the other mothers I know who have dealt with GERD have said they had food issues too and the book I mention alludes to a link saying that they know there's a definite relationship but they need more research to prove it. I know you said you had an upper GI done, but to be honest when we went ours was positive but they admitted that it's a really unreliable test because unless the baby refluxes there and then while having the test they can't always confirm Acid Reflux - you're only observing the baby for a very short time. So I would have a look at the book and if it sounds like your baby has the symptoms they mention, I would ask your doctor if you could try an antacid, they were happy to prescribe one for Gabe and the difference in him was amazing, after 3 days he was like a new baby. Unfortunately as he grew so did the doseage requirement so we ended up seeing a specialist who put us on a proton-pump inhibitor drug because Gabe was so big for his age. At least this way you can rule it out and if it brings relief for you and your daughter it's worth a try.
I hope it's not reflux for your little one, but like I said, a few days of an antacid will let you know. I hope this helps. It's so hard having a baby with "Colic". My heart goes out to you. Stay strong.

Sam Sikora

I can only tell you there are many reasons other than "colic" that a baby might have this behavior and I am far from an expert. My older daughter was just like yours and nothing was wrong with her. You should just try being patient and things will most likely pass as she matures and her body does as well. Another thing I would very much push you to do is go see a homeopathic practice. Our family has been very successful with certain things regular docs couldn't help with, esp. allergies using alternative medicine. It sounds like they would have the answers to your issues with your child. There are a lot of children who go to our doctor. If you would like his name I would be very happy to recommend him. He is excellent. You could tell him I sent you to him too. He is very familiar with me and my family. Just email me a message if you want the info.

Here are some articles that you might find to be helpful....

In this first one, type "colic" into the "Search" box...




Best wishes!

Many babies who are "colicky" actually have reflux. You can have normal testing done and your baby could still have reflux, its very painful. Does your baby cry when she eats or after eating? Does she re-swallow at all? Both of my kids had reflux and are still on Prevacid (oral suspension) for it at 3.5yr and 15 months. My son even had a ph probe study done to measure reflux and it showed "normal" amount of reflux, when in fact he would projectile vomit after every feed and scream after each meal and in the morning. I wish you lots of luck, dealing with a crabby baby isnt easy. Also, there is prescription formula that is easier to digest than Nutramigen, called Elecare. Also, we have had great success with the GI team at Childrens Memorial in Chicago if you want to try a new GI.

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