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Baby colic: causes and solutions

If your baby cries for a long time with a red face, clenched fists and hard belly, he probably suffers from colic.

Here are a few causes and solutions

Colic is the reflection of a baby’s sensitivity as he adapts to his new environment, Depending on their level of tolerance, children will react to colic in different ways and in different intensities.

Colic can occur as early as 2 to 3 weeks of life and carry on until your baby reaches his third or fourth month. The most critical period occurs around his 6th week. And even breastfed babies can suffer from colic.

Every problem has a solution!

1- Powerful milk ejection reflex
If he receives too much milk, the baby drinks too fast, chokes sometimes and starts crying, which makes him swallow air bubbles that can eventually disturb him.


  • Offer only one breast per feeding. Do not wait until your child is hungry to breastfeed him.
  • Lie down to breastfeed.
  • Express a little bit of milk before breastfeeding your baby.
  • If your baby is still choking, stop feeding him and make him burp before resuming.

2- Baby’s reaction to specific foods eaten by his mom (breastfed babies)

Solution 1

  • Avoid eating dairy products for a while and observe your baby. If he is getting better, he could be intolerant or allergic cow’s milk protein.
  • If you notice no difference, return to a normal diet.

Solution 2

  • Avoid products that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, cola and chocolate and tobacco products for a while and observe the condition of your baby. If your baby’s condition improves, it may well be that these substances are the cause of your child's colic.
  • If you notice no difference, return to a normal diet.

3- Iron supplements taken by the mother


Ask your doctor or pharmacist to reduce, if possible, the dose you take. You can also consult a nutritionist who will advise you on foods rich in iron.

4- Commercial infant formulas can be poorly tolerated
The best solution is to consult a health professional who is specialised in the matter because changing the type of milk too often would cause disturbances in your child’s diet.

Extenso tips

Among the possible causes, try to notice the one that corresponds the most to what could disturb your child. Try one thing at a time to find what causes your child’s colic.


1. Doré, N., Le Hénaff, D., From Tiny Tot to Toddler, Institut national de santé publique, 2005, pp.294-308.


Extenso is the nutrition web reference from the University of Montreal’s NutriUM Centre universitaire de nutrition préventive. Extenso’s mission is to raise public awareness on better nutritional health through an objective interpretation and effective circulation of current scientific knowledge about nutrition.