Is my Breastmilk causing my baby to have Colic?

NBB question from Amy: Hi there, FTM here and 7 week old baby girl seems to have colic (reflux) She screams out for hours in pain every night and throws up a lot. I am exclusively breastfeeding and my partner wants her on formula because he thinks my milk is the problem and formula will help. Just wondering if anyone has found formula to help and it was in fact their breastmilk hurting their baby. Very distressed Mum here who just wants her baby to feel better.

So glad you have said something Amy because so many mothers wean to formula and their baby has the exact same problems!

Before you go the formula direction, is your baby putting on weight okay? If so, sometimes they fill and overfill and it causes them to have an upset tummy.

For other babies sometimes they are struggling to put on weight and they might be vomiting more than they digest, in those situations there are a range of things that can be discussed, but in all honesty, we always ask about your personal dairy intake first.  Often we think we need to drink milk to make milk, but in fact our bodies can make milk without drinking any milk at all, as long as we have enough water, that’s what counts. Rest is something else we need to make milk, so try and get some rest when you can.

The first thing your Maternal Health Nurse nurse would probably talk to you about would be stopping all dairy for a week or two and seeing if there is any difference in your baby’s behaviour. Just use one of the many non dairy substitutes for now. See here for what you can eat when breastfeeding.

We would also ask if you have any intolerances or allergies in the extended family, or even yourself, and if so, just keep in mind that your baby drinks small portions of whatever you eat, so that would be a consideration before swapping to formula feeding.

Get yourself, your partner and your baby to a doctor or nurse who can weigh your baby, talk about exciting things like what the poo looks like! and then together you can consider if formula is the way to go.  Nobody would ever criticise parents electing to offer formula if it is needed, but let’s be sure it is needed first.

Yes, there are also things to consider like reflux and colic, but starting with known intolerances is a good starting point. None of us can imagine your personal experience but I have worked with many families going though similar struggles and we want to be sure you are well supported and if there is an intolerance, then you can sleep knowing you tried everything and will be much kinder on yourself.

I can’t suggest strongly enough to have professionals help you because we are designed to be mothers, and we are often fantastic, but when a baby is unsettled, we tend to feel like we are not good enough, when in fact we are, and we just need the right support to bring it all together.  Good on you Amy for reaching out because I think you will be surprised to know that many families struggle around this time, and there is help and support out there. It’s a matter of finding the right person for your family.

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