Colic: Baby is uncomfortable after feeds

I have a three-week-old daughter who is breastfed. After each feed she has symptoms of colic. I burp her both during and after the feed. What can be causing her to be so colicky?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Many babies around this age show symptoms of colic. We still do not know why some infants are more prone than others to colicky behavior. Dr. William Sears, in his book, "The Fussy Baby", states, "The colicky baby belongs to the whole spectrum of fussy or high-need babies. They come wired with the supersensitive, intense, disorganized and slow-to-adapt temperament ... "

Colic usually doesn't start until the second week of life, peaking aroundthe sixth to eighth week. About 50 percent of babies show no symptoms of colic after three months of age, and for the most part, colic is over by six months of age.

You describe your baby as being especially colicky following a feed. There has been a connection found between dairy products in a mother's diet and colicky behavior in the infant. If you want to see if dairy products are causing your baby difficulty, you will need to remove all dairy from your diet for at least one week. (Be sure to check labels.) If your babyexperiences less discomfort following feeds, I would recommend eliminatingdairy products from your diet. It would be wise to speak with a nutritionist or your health care provider when making these changes to insure an adequate diet.

Some babies are colicky following a feed from receiving an overabundance of foremilk. Allow your baby to come off the first breast offered, on her own, before offering the other breast. This allows your baby to access your rich hindmilk, which will help to keep her satisfied for longer periods of time, and may reduce the amount of gas and irritability she experiences. If your baby wants to nurse quite often in the evenings, when colicky symptoms often become more severe, it may help to offer the same breast during a three-hour period. Your breasts are never empty. Milk is produced even as your baby nurses. If your other breast becomes at all uncomfortable during this period of time, express just enough milk for comfort.

Colicky behavior in a baby can be exhausting for parents. Colic is more common in the evenings when parents may already be frazzled. It's important to prioritize your life (for the time being) so you can more easily cope. It is so important to rest when your baby rests. We all know this, but most of the time, ignore this crucial piece of advice. An afternoon nap with your baby can serve to recharge your batteries. Your baby may also stay more relaxed after a late nap, and experience less colicky symptoms. Hope your baby is soon colic-free!

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