Can Diet Trigger Colic in Your Breastfed Baby?



Can Diet Trigger Colic in Your Breastfed Baby?

Mothers who breastfeed their babies face a common issue found in one fifth of infants. Colic is mysterious, baffling, and frustrating and it might be linked to the mother's diet.

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss 




Mothers play a huge role in their children's lives. A mother's prime directive is to see her children receive nurturing care. This care ensures a child's environment is focused on their needs, health, nutrition, safety, emotional support, and social interaction.




Breastfeeding mothers can generally eat whatever they want. However, some newborns are intolerant to certain foods. Therefore, your post-natal diet should include soothing, comforting, and nutritious foods.

Harsh foods that pass through to the mother's milk could harm a baby's developing gut. Colic-causing foods can enter your breast milk and upset your baby as early as two hours after you eat. 


What is Colic in Babies?

Colic in infants shows up as regular fits of violent crying, often along with other features such as furrowing of the brow, clenching of the fists, or pulling up of the legs towards the belly.

A colicky baby is usually unable to be consoled but may quickly calm down in response to being taken for a ride in the car.

Your baby will appear happy and peaceful just before the colicky symptoms start. There are often no other signs of physical illness. But, because your baby continues to put on weight, that makes the cause of the baby's distress so mysterious.

Concerned over the baby's violent crying, parents often seek professional medical advice, typically during the first three months of their child's life.



Your role as mother is born the day your first child enters the world and you find yourself immediately forever changed. Your heart expands beyond measure, and you transform into who you were meant to be.



Signs and Symptoms of Colic

Crying in a colicky baby may be accompanied by the following:


  • Violently cries and has flushing of the face

  • Loud uncontrolled crying that lasts for at least 3 hours

  • Grimaces or angry frowns

  • Clenches the fists

  • Arches its back or pulls up the legs, which points to a bellyache

  • Distinct rumblings in the baby's intestines

  • Failure to console the baby

  • Passes abdominal gas or feces

  • Baby recovers suddenly, and nurses quietly 

  • Baby goes to sleep peacefully





What causes Colic?

The following theories might explain Colic in your baby:


  • Hunger

  • Indigestion

  • Abdominal gas and pain

  • Overfeeding may lead to feelings of uncomfortable fullness

  • Intolerance of specific proteins in milk or formula leads to bowel irritability or indigestion

  • Substances in the mother's diet, such as cabbage or broccoli, onions, chocolate, or cow's milk

  • Maternal smoking or caffeine drinking both of which can stimulate the infant, causing over-excitement, fear, or frustration

  • Infant's emotional and mental processing of the unfamiliar environment outside the womb 



Colic and the Role of the Mother's Diet

A new mother might not have thought about the foods she is putting into her body. Both breastfed, and formula-fed infants suffer equally from Colic.

There is no hard evidence to implicate any specific factor in the causation of Colic. However, studies have suggested that modifying the mother's diet may prevent or mitigate Colic in some infants. 


Remove Dairy Products derived from Cow's Milk

Studies showed when breastfeeding mothers stopped consuming milk and other dairy products, the incidence of Colic in their babies dropped sharply.

Confirmation was demonstrated after dairy foods were reintroduced into the mother's diet. The Colic reappeared in many of these babies.


Removing Allergens from the Diet

Other studies have focused on eliminating allergens from the mother's food. These included soy, peanuts, wheat, milk and milk products, tree nuts, eggs, and fish.

An absolute reduction of 37% in the risk of Colic was observed in these breastfed infants. 


Avoid these Foods while Breastfeeding


  • Eggs

  • Wheat

  • Peanuts and tree nuts

  • Soy

  • Fish

  • Cow's milk is the most common infant allergy



Tips & Advice

It is recommended that women eat regularly and frequently, at least three meals a day, with occasional healthy snacks and plenty of water.

Caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and especially energy drinks may increase the irritability of the infant. Artificial sweeteners should get approval from a medical professional regarding how much the mother can take each day without risk to her baby.

Avoiding cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and legumes reduces the incidence of Colic in babies. Since these are sources of essential vitamins, fiber, and lean protein, mothers must substitute them with other nutritious foods. 





Summing Up Diet, Breastfeeding & Colic

Colic is a challenging problem, and a new parent might not be equipped to face it. Colic is frustrating because it doesn't seem to have any cause, and no amount of soothing appears to help.

Colic is found to occur equally in bottle-fed and breastfed infants, in babies between 2 and 16 weeks of age.

Prolonged, intense, and frequent crying despite being otherwise healthy are signs that your baby is colic. Episodes of Colic often occur in the evening, causing parents undue stress. 



Mothers want and need to see their children receive nurturing care. They want their children to feel satisfied with their individualism and feelings of self-respect. To develop intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically, and to be well-rounded.

Becoming a mother is profoundly life-altering and offers a new perspective on the world and her role in it.








© 2005 – 2023 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing, LLC | The web property Garden of Healing dot com is wholly owned and operated by Garden of Healing, LLC. All rights reserved.

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