Foods that make babies colicky

What Foods Help With Baby Colic? | Colic Blog | Babocush

When your baby seems perfectly healthy, has no obvious signs of distress and yet cries continually, they may be suffering from colic. Colic is prolonged bouts of excessive, frequent crying for no apparent reason, although some abdominal discomfort is thought to accompany it due to the way many babies draw their knees up when they cry which would indicate trapped wind. These episodes can be very distressing for both baby and parent, and can last for several weeks.

When are the typical signs of colic?

Normal crying typically starts when your little one is about 2 weeks old. When babies develop colic, it's usually between 2 and 4 weeks of age. About 1 in 5 babies end up suffering with colic. Other symptoms typically include:

  • Crying inconsolably for long periods of time.
  • Some babies with colic experience bloated tummies, however not always.
  • Babies with colic often pull their knees up to their chest and go red in the face
  • Although there may be other causes, babies with colic often have a distinctive, high-pitched cry.

Diet-related colic

One thing you might not have thought about is the foods you're putting into your body. Breastfeeding mothers can normally eat whatever they want, however some newborns are intolerant to certain foods. The essential criteria for a good post-natal diet is to eat foods that are soothing, comforting, and nutritious. Slow-cooked foods, such as soups and stews, are recommended, as is avoiding too much raw food and limiting meals consumed straight from the refrigerator or freezer. Anything too harsh that passes through 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, with potential irritants being:

Dairy products

Milk, cheese, yoghurt, and ice cream are examples of dairy products. Cow's milk is known to be a main source of diet-related colic. Cow's milk proteins quickly enter breast milk, which is usually a positive thing because it familiarises your baby with these proteins early on, setting them up for when they’re weaned. Colic can, however, be caused by a sensitivity to cow's milk.

If you feel this is the case, try avoiding dairy products for 7-10 days to see if you notice a difference. If your baby's behaviour hasn't improved, gradually reintroduce the food again. If you see a difference and are concerned about your calcium intake, consult a nutritionist about different ways to get calcium, such as through leafy greens, broccoli, edamame, sardines, figs, oranges and calcium-fortified products.


Soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some medicines all contain caffeine, and if you consume enough of it, your baby may develop colic. Many mums find that giving up caffeine can produce instant positive changes to their baby’s behaviour.

Spicy foods

Theres a distinct taste in your breast milk after you’ve eaten a spicy dinner. This is  because traces of spice have found their way into your milk supply. This is fine for most babies and helps them get used to new tastes, but for others, even the tiniest amount of spice can be enough to make them uncomfortable. If you've ever had heartburn after eating spicy food, this is considerably more likely to be the case.

Grains and nuts

Fats from cereals, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives are essential for keeping your baby's skin healthy, although they can occasionally induce colic. Wheat, corn, peanuts, and soy are the most typical culprits.

Gassy foods

You've probably experienced the unpleasant side-effects of a meal high in gassy vegetables like broccoli, onions, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. Gas can cause a lot of discomfort in the stomach, and if your baby is particularly sensitive to it, eliminating gassy foods could be the answer.

Tracking down colic-causing foods

Determining whether the food you eat could be causing your baby’s colic is achieved with a simple three-step process:

Step 1. Keep a record

You can develop associations between food and discomfort by keeping track of what you eat and when and how long your baby experiences colic episodes. Keep track of any changes in your baby's behaviour, such as fussiness, weeping, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea, nocturnal wakings that aren't explained, or reddening around the anus.

Step 2. Eliminate foods

You can now rule out the suspect source after establishing a correlation between food and behaviour. Try to avoid this food for 10 to 14 days then check to see whether your baby's colic symptoms are lessening or disappearing. Return to step one if nothing has changed. Continue to step three if the symptoms improve.

Step 3. Challenge the result

If your baby's symptoms have gone away, cautiously reintroduce the source to test it. If the symptoms return within 24 hours, remove this meal from your diet temporarily. Continue to challenge the food supply at regular intervals until you've determined it's safe to eat again. Most babies are only temporarily intolerant of certain foods, so declaring a meal off-limits may unnecessarily deprive you and your baby of a vital source of nutrition.

Maintaining an anti-colic diet

To help reduce any chance of colic, there are a number of foods that you can limit or avoid during the six weeks leading up to birth and the 2-3 months that follow. These include berries, grapes, stone fruit, strawberries, mangoes, cabbage, tomatoes, lentils, garlic, pineapple, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumber, radish, cauliflower, raw onion, strong herbs and spices, powdered yeast and stimulants (tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol).

There are also some foods that will encourage a healthy gut and can help prevent symptoms of colic. These include apples, pears, asparagus, carrot, celery, kale, corn, bananas, papaya, celery, beetroot, pumpkin, zucchini, mushrooms, teas (chamomile, dandelion, fennel and cardamom), bone broths and apple cider vinegar.

There is no recognised “cure” for colic, although you may see some reduction in symptoms if you use a trial-and-error strategy. You may find that one thing works or that it is the consequence of a combination of circumstances, but be prepared to wait it out. Your baby will grow out of it eventually, and having a baby with colic has nothing to do with your parenting. Colic can affect any infant at any moment, and although it's natural to feel frustrated and upset, you should never feel responsible for your child's suffering. 

Related Blogs:

  • Do Breastfed Babies Get Colic?
  • How Can I Tell My Baby Has Colic?

Foods to Avoid to Prevent Colic – Lola&Lykke

An expecting or new mother fears a lot of possible future scenarios, but one of the more common and everyday issues that she is, unfortunately, more likely to face is also one of the most mysterious, baffling, and frustrating: colic, which one in five infants are said to have. In this article, we’ll go over the definition of colic as well as the link it has to diet - namely, the mother’s. We’ll offer tips for how you can modify your diet, including foods to avoid during breastfeeding, to prevent colic.

What is Colic? 

Colic is one of the more challenging problems a new parent can face. It’s when your new baby cries in a prolonged, intense, and frequent way despite being otherwise healthy. Colicky babies most often have their episodes in the evening, making it even tougher on already-tired parents who desperately want peace and quiet. Naturally, it’s heartbreaking to watch your baby suffer and not know why, and colic is all the more frustrating because it doesn’t seem to have any particular cause and no amount of soothing seems to help. 

Does Your Baby Have Colic? 

Defined as an infant crying intensely for three or more hours a day, three or more days a week, for three or more weeks, colic usually peaks when an infant is about six weeks old and declines after they reach three or four months of age. It can happen to any baby: breastfed or formula-fed, male or female, premature or full-term.   

Symptoms of colic include: 

- Intense, often high-pitched crying that resembles screaming or an expression of pain 

- Crying that doesn’t seem to be tied to any particular reason such as needing to be fed or get a diaper change 

- Intense fussiness that continues even after the crying stops or declines 

- Predictable timing of crying episodes that occur especially in the late afternoon or early evening 

- Facial discoloration such as a reddened face or pale mouth 

- Body tension in the legs, arms, fists, back, or abdomen 

- Colic episodes followed by a bowel movement or passing of gas that may bring temporary relief 

- The baby closing their eyes tight or opening them wide, furrowing their brow, or even holding their breath 

- Crying that disrupts eating and sleeping patterns  

It’s important to note that colic is a condition that occurs in otherwise healthy babies. If your baby is intensely crying on a regular basis, it’s important to rule out the possibility of a non-colic cause that is leading to pain or discomfort in your baby, such as illness. If your infant experiences excessive crying, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to see if an underlying cause can be found instead of assuming that it must be colic. Together, you will be able to determine if your baby does indeed have colic. 

Can Your Diet Really Upset Your Breastfed Baby? 

While the causes of colic are unknown, there is much speculation about what may lead to this condition. Theories for potential reasons include an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria, childhood migraine, overstimulated senses, acid reflux, an undeveloped digestive system, food allergy, and tobacco exposure.  

Another popular theory is that colic may be tied to the diet of the breastfed baby’s mother. According to WebMD, “A study published in the [November 2005] issue of Pediatrics suggests that excluding highly allergenic foods from a nursing mother's diet could reduce crying and fussiness in her newborn's first six weeks of life. ”  

There are several reasons to believe this may be the case. First, it’s known that the diet of a breastfeeding mother does affect the infant. If the mother consumes something that upsets the stomach of the newborn, this can lead to discomfort and crying. There also seems to be a link between colic and gastrointestinal distress; colicky infants are often gassy and passing gas is often followed by relief.  

There are, in fact, several studies that have shown that a change in the mother’s diet can lead to a significant diminishment of colic symptoms, namely in how long the babies cried each day. Other studies have found a link between the consumption of certain foods by the breastfeeding mother and colic in breastfed infants. Ultimately, research suggests that an elimination diet may help ease symptoms of colic.  

Learn more: What to eat while breastfeeding

Foods to Avoid 

Common Allergens 

One category of colic foods to avoid while nursing is those that many people have an allergy to, such as: 

- Cow’s milk 

- Eggs 

- Wheat 

- Peanuts, tree nuts 

- Soy 

- Fish 

With cow’s milk being the most common infant allergy. In one 2005 study, 74% of breastfed babies whose mothers ate a low-allergen diet eliminating all of the above ingredients showed significant improvement in colic.  

Cruciferous Foods 

Another type of colic baby breastfeeding food to avoid is the category of foods that often creates a lot of intestinal gas, namely cruciferous vegetables. This includes cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. One 1996 study found that mothers who ate diets high in cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli were more likely to have colicky babies. As these foods are high in fructans, which are difficult to digest, they can cause gas and bloating.  

Unhealthy Foods 

It is often assumed that foods that are unhealthy for adults will also be unhealthy if they make it into a breastfed baby’s diet, which is why many sources recommend that breastfeeding mothers looking to reduce colic should avoid unhealthy foods such as highly-processed foods and foods high in saturated or trans fats.   

While it is debatable whether chocolate is healthy for you or not, with dark chocolate in particular often being cited as a healthy food, the same 1996 study that linked certain cruciferous vegetables with colic also found that mothers who ate a lot of chocolate were more likely to have colicky babies. However, it isn’t specified which type of chocolate, and it very well may be that milk chocolate may have this effect due to containing cow’s milk. It’s also thought that the problem may be the acidity of chocolate, which can cause acid reflux. 

Breastfeeding Diet for a Colic-Free Baby 

While various sources may name a list of foods to eat while breastfeeding to avoid colic, there isn’t any scientific evidence pointing to the possibility that including certain particular foods in your diet can help colic. That being said, it is reasonable to conclude that a generally healthy lifestyle and diet with a variety of nutritious foods is what will be best for the mother and, in turn, the baby.   

As such, a healthy diet for breastfeeding mothers to avoid colic may include: 

- Plenty of water to stay hydrated 

- Fruits and non-cruciferous vegetables 

- Whole grains 

- Lean proteins 

- Mushrooms 

- Tea 

- Apple cider vinegar  

It’s particularly worth noting that there have been studies that have shown that probiotics can help colic by helping infants form a protective barrier against harmful bacteria and stimulating the immune system. One 2007 study found that “colic improved in a dramatic 95% of babies given Lactobacillus reuteri once per day for 1 month.” While it is not wise to begin a course of probiotics on your own, it may be something worth speaking to your doctor about.  

If you want to go the more natural route, foods high in probiotics include: 

- Yogurt 

- Kefir 

- Kombucha 

- Sauerkraut 

- Pickles 

- Miso 

- Tempeh 

- Kimchi 

- Sourdough bread 

- Some cheeses 

However, because many of these contain common allergens like dairy, wheat, and soy, kombucha has alcohol in it, and sauerkraut and kimchi are based on the cruciferous vegetable cabbage, you may not want to take the risk of eating them. For that reason, a doctor-approved probiotic dietary supplement might be the best route for mums who are considering probiotics as a solution to colic.   

If you do decide to change your diet in response to colic, especially if you want to start probiotics or try an elimination diet, it’s important to consult a medical professional such as a dietitian, who can monitor you and your baby’s nutrition and health and make personalised recommendations.  

At the end of the day, the unfortunate truth is that there is no “cure” for colic. However, you can be reassured by the fact that - diet change or no diet change - colic doesn’t last forever; there is an end in sight. Colic is not your fault and while you can do your best to treat it, you should never feel guilty that it is happening. Do your best, take care of yourself and your baby to the best of your ability, and - sooner or later - the colic will pass. 

Have questions about breastfeeding, pregnancy, or postpartum? Ask Lola&Lykke Experts, completely free of charge.


by Lola&Lykke Team

  • breastfeeding
  • Diet & Nutrition

Colic in a newborn - causes and symptoms. Foods that cause colic in a child

Colic is pain in the abdomen caused by the accumulation of gas in the intestines. Unfortunately, babies are familiar with these unpleasant sensations firsthand.

Dry initial milk formula adapted by Valio Baby 1 NutriValio for feeding children from birth to 6 months More

Follow-up dry milk formula adapted by Valio Baby 2 NutriValio for feeding children from 6 to 12 months Read more

Dry milk drink "Baby milk" Valio Baby 3 NutriValio for feeding children over 12 months Read more

The body of a newborn is only adapting to the new conditions of extrauterine life, and normal microflora has not yet formed in its intestines. That is why in the first months of a child's life, his parents often have to deal with uncontrollable crying, which seems to never end. Colic begins in newborns at the age of 2-4 weeks. The good news is that they usually run out by 3 months of age.

How to understand that a baby has colic:

  • Sudden and piercing crying. If your baby usually calms down when you take him in your arms, rock him, talk affectionately, stroke his back - this does not help here. The only thing that will alleviate the condition of the baby is the passage of gases.
  • The baby arches its back and presses its legs to the stomach. Colic is always a cutting, sharp pain.
  • The child may turn pale.
  • Sometimes the baby releases gases.

All of these symptoms usually begin shortly after feeding.

Common causes of colic in children:

  • Incorrect feeding technique (breast or bottle). Together with mother's milk or formula, a child can swallow a lot of air, which causes bloating.
  • Excited state of the baby. A child can catch air not only during feeding, but also with a long cry. This is characteristic of children "with character", demanding, loud.
  • Incorrectly selected formula for babies on artificial nutrition.
  • feeding mode. Sometimes, in order to find the most suitable mode for your baby, you need to experiment. Of course, it is better to do this after consulting with your doctor.
  • Mom's food. Colic during breastfeeding can very often be caused by the fact that the mother does not eat properly. There are a number of foods that cause colic in babies, and to make life easier for both the baby and the parents, it is enough to exclude them from the mother's diet.

Foods that cause colic while breastfeeding:

1. Spicy, smoked and salty dishes

2. Black yeast bread

3. Whole milk

4. Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard

5. Legumes

6. Raw vegetables and fruits

7. Carbonated drinks

8. Coffee and chocolate

9. Alcohol

How to help a baby with colic

First of all, calm down yourself. When the baby is torn from screaming and nothing can calm him down, the mother, of course, also “turns on”. Be patient and convey to the baby your calmness and confidence that everything will pass soon. The main thing is that you are there when he needs it and help him.

  • Place your baby on your stomach, in your arms, or in the crib more often.
  • Put something warm under your baby's belly.
  • After at least 15 minutes have passed after feeding, massage the tummy. Do not forget to lubricate your hands with cream or cosmetic oil. Stroke the tummy in a clockwise circular motion.
  • Prepare a reasonably hot bath for your baby. This will help him relax.
  • Do gymnastics, pressing the child's legs, bent at the knees, to his tummy.

Often, problems with colic in newborns and older children can be solved if a nursing mother drinks teas with fennel, cumin, anise, lemon balm. They help a lot with excessive gas formation.


Be attentive to your baby and also check out our expert article on spitting up in newborns.

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Nutrition Care and development