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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best formula for colic is, I’d recommend the Enfamil’s Nutramigen.
Colic was no fun for me, my husband, or my children. It led to sleepless nights and traumatic days consumed by a very unhappy baby.
If your little one is suffering, it doesn’t have to be this way much longer. Finding the best formula for colic and making the switch should help immensely.
Here are the formulas for colic I will be reviewing:
- Enfamil Nutramigen Hypoallergenic
- Gerber Good Start Soothe Non-GMO
- Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic
- Nutramigen PurAmino Hypoallergenic
- Earth’s Best Organic Low Lactose Sensitivity
- Love & Care Sensitivity
- Similac Sensitive
Signs Your Baby May Have Colic
Colic is described as unusual and persistent bouts of intense, loud, and unstoppable crying. It can be an unbelievable nightmare for all of the family, as there just seems to be no immediate cure. If you’re not sure, here are some symptoms of colic:
- Excessive crying for over two to three hours on a regular basis.
- Burping and passing a lot of gas, due to gulping a lot of air when crying.
- A bright red face from the aggressive and persistent crying.
- Arching the back when crying.
- Flailing the arms and legs while crying, due to discomfort.
Causes of Colic
Although the signs of colic do seem fairly simple, the causes are not always so easy to determine. This is because not every baby experiences the same cause of colic, yet they demonstrate the same symptoms. Some believe it to be caused by overstimulation, hormones, or an immature digestive or nervous system.
Some of the other known causes are as follows:
With hungry babies, it’s common for them to gulp their milk quickly. But drinking their formula or breast milk too fast can lead to reflux-like symptoms.
Sit them up while feeding, and aim to hold your baby at a 30-degree angle afterward to allow their food to go down slowly and safely. This can prevent too much from entering their stomach at one time.
With gulping formula or breast milk quickly, indigestion is a given. Yet another problem that can occur is trapped gas. This can be very painful for your small baby.
As a baby feeds, they may gulp some air too. This results in too much trapped gas inside the digestive tract. To prevent this from happening, there are ways to help your baby feed a little slower.
First, try a different bottle with a smaller hole in the nipple. This smaller opening will prevent air coming out of the bottle and being gulped by your baby, alongside the formula. Secondly, it would be beneficial to try a different formula as this may be the reason behind excessive gassiness.
Remember to burp your baby often, between and after feeding, to release some of this gas.
Cow’s Milk Allergy
Around three percent of babies have a cow’s milk allergy, and their body will trigger an allergic response. One of the signs of an allergy, alongside a skin rash and vomiting, is colic.
The component within milk that usually causes the allergy is lactose, a sugar molecule. Lactose intolerance means that the body is unable to digest this sugar within the milk. As a result, symptoms of colic, such as excessive crying, arise.
To solve this concern and discomfort for your baby, the best formula for colic may be the solution. Simply changing formula can alleviate a very happy amount of colic symptoms and prevent you from ever dealing with it again!
Why Would a Special Formula Help?
Although the exact causes of all cases of colic are not known, a popular and proven idea is a problem or an allergy to certain ingredients. If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, this is particularly likely.
So, a specially designed formula for a fussy baby can be a huge help. Here are some reasons why.
Lactose allergy or sensitivity can be a cause of colic and excessive crying due to discomfort. Many of the best formulas for colic have lower percentages of lactose.
Although it sounds strange to only reduce the percentage of lactose, it’s often also broken down further into smaller components. In doing so, allergies are often eased.
As difficulty digesting fully-formed proteins can be problematic for your baby, easier proteins may be the cure. Many of the included formulas below have pre-digested or partially-digested proteins to reduce the stress on your baby’s digestive tract.
Amino acids are the basic blocks of proteins. These link together to form long protein chains, which build up to bigger protein molecules found in non-digested proteins, like the ones we eat. As you can imagine, it’s much harder for a baby to digest this size of protein than for adults.
Due to this, your colicky baby could benefit from smaller protein molecules that allow for easier digestion and, hopefully, less fussiness!
Prebiotics and Probiotics
These two similar sounding compounds play different roles in the digestive system, including the stomach. Prebiotics help the development of good bacteria in our digestive system. While probiotics help prevent constipation and promote the movement of food through the digestive system.
My Reviews Of The Best Formulas For Colic
I’ve done some detailed research on the best formula for colic. Here’s a list of the top seven on the market to make life easier for you and your little one.
This Enfamil formula has been specially designed to help ease persistent symptoms of colic. As gassiness and fussiness are often related to lactose sensitivity, this specific formula is lactose-free. With this feature, colic caused by a cow’s milk allergy can be eased.
Babies experiencing symptoms of colic, more often than not, are likely to have more sensitive systems. This formula is designed to reduce future allergy flare-ups by up to 50 percent in infants. This is a dream for both babies and their parents and can help to reduce the possibility of health problems as a result of allergies.
Research shows that prebiotics and probiotics can help with symptoms of colic. This is why a formula with these components included can be a great choice for colicky babies. Enfamil Nutramigen contains LGG baby probiotics to help with microbiota diversity in the digestive tract.
Of course, easing the symptoms of colic is our main focus when choosing this formula; however, there are a few extra benefits of Enfamil Nutramigen. It includes DHA, ARA, and choline. This powerful trio promotes healthy growth and development in babies.
Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is known for its importance in the structural development of the brain as well as cognitive development. Meanwhile, arachidonic acid (ARA) is known for its role in eye development.
Studies have shown that babies fed DHA and ARA supplemented formula showed improved mental development and visual sharpness.
Lastly, while hypoallergenic formulas are excellent for babies with sensitivities, some babies will be opposed to the strange taste of this formula compared to traditional ones. It’s worth trying the formula, but if you experience your baby refusing it, this may be why.
- Hypoallergenic, lactose and sucrose-free
- Relieves colic due to cow’s milk allergy
- Fast results in as little as 48 hours, for 90 percent of infants
- Reduces future allergy flare-ups by 50 percent for most babies
- Includes LGG baby probiotics
- Helps the transition back to a traditional milk-based formula without an allergic response
- Includes DHA, ARA, and choline
- Hypoallergenic formulas may taste strange, and many babies refuse to drink it
- Contains corn syrup which some parents may be opposed to
Thankfully this formula encases the key points to look out for when choosing a formula for fussy baby as it’s specially designed for babies experiencing colic. It includes a number of features to combat these uncomfortable symptoms.
Firstly, we now know the importance of prebiotics and probiotics, and this Gerber formula includes these key ingredients. Both combined aid the microbiota in the digestive tract. When a baby experiences the symptoms of colic it’s often due to difficulty digesting food, so the inclusion of prebiotic and probiotic compounds can help by encouraging good bacteria.
On top of prebiotics and probiotics, Gerber’s formula goes one step further by including Comfort Proteins. These are partially digested proteins that allow for easier digestion for your baby. Easing digestion can help alleviate difficulties digesting tough ingredients.
As we saw earlier, colic symptoms such as gassiness and excessive crying can be due to lactose sensitivity. This specific formula is created with just 30 percent lactose, reducing the likelihood of problems induced by lactose.
Last but not least, Gerber created this formula to be as similar to breast milk as possible. Containing DHA and human milk oligosaccharide (HMO), it’s a powerhouse for healthy growth and development.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is only produced in small quantities within the body. This is why we must consume it from foods such as oily fish. DHA included in this formula is extremely beneficial for healthy brain development in infants.
- Specially designed for babies experiencing colic
- Includes prebiotics and probiotics
- Contains special Comfort Proteins for easier digestion
- Just 30 percent lactose blend, to help reduce fussiness and gas
- Contains DHA and HMO, just like breast milk
- Harder to dissolve in water than other formulas
- Some babies may refuse it due to the taste being less sweet than other formulas
Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic
The main boasting point of this formula is its “nutritionally complete” profile. For a baby already experiencing colic, it’s essential they pick up all the vital nutrients and vitamins within their food—just like this formula ensures.
On this note, let’s take a look at the nutrients it includes. DHA, one of the key compounds for healthy brain development, is included within Similac Alimentum. The omega-3 fatty acid must be included in the diet due to the small quantities that the human body produces.
ARA is a critical component of cell membranes, as well as being found in high quantities within the retina (a part of the eye). As it’s naturally found in breast milk, it’s important to look for this in the formula you choose.
Colic can be caused by a protein sensitivity, and this results in symptoms such as excessive gassiness and fussiness. Similac Alimentum is designed with protein sensitivity in mind. The formula includes pre-digested proteins, rather than whole protein molecules that your baby’s small stomach can have trouble digesting.
Prebiotics and probiotics are essential in any baby’s diet, especially those suffering from colic due to digestive issues. With that in mind, note that this particular formula does not include either of these components. This is important to remember, especially if your pediatrician mentioned using a formula with prebiotics and probiotics for colic.
However, another positive of this formula is its lack of any artificial growth hormone. This can be found in a lot of cow’s milk, which, as you can imagine, is not ideal for babies.
- Includes DHA and ARA for supported development
- Pre-digested milk proteins ease symptoms of colic due to protein sensitivity
- Reduces symptoms of colic fast, and reports to do so within 24 hours
- No artificial growth hormone keeps this formula nasties-free
- No prebiotics or probiotics
- Could cause acid reflux in some babies
Another one of the best formulas for colic is the PurAmino blend with some unique qualities. First, this formula is hypoallergenic, meaning it has little likelihood of causing an allergic response. This is excellent for babies with colic, as the last thing they need is more discomfort due to an allergic reaction.
PurAmino formula is an amino acid-based substance. This is especially beneficial for babies experiencing colic due to a severe cow’s milk allergy or soy-based allergy from formula. Nutramigen explains that the smaller the protein particles, the lower the likelihood of an allergic response from food.
These small protein particles also make this formula suitable for babies with conditions such as malabsorption, maldigestion, and eosinophilic esophagitis. Of course, always seek advice from your pediatrician for specific nutritional requirements for these conditions.
The basis of this formula also includes essential compounds for healthy growth and development. These are important for babies with or without colic. Docosahexaenoic acid is a crucial omega-3 fatty acid for brain development. Meanwhile, ARA is known for aiding eye development.
PurAmino is a nutritionally complete food source for up to six months of age. After this time, it’s a beneficial nutritional supplement. This formula is also certified halal and kosher, making it appropriate for a number of cultures.
- Amino acid-based
- Manages severe allergies from cow’s milk and other food allergies
- Suitable for other conditions including malabsorption, maldigestion, and eosinophilic esophagitis
- Includes DHA and ARA
- Suitable as the only nutritional source up to six months of age
- Hypoallergenic formulas can taste weird, and your baby might refuse to drink it
- Higher price point
Some parents choose to go down a more natural and organic path when choosing a formula for fussy baby. This is a great approach as reducing artificial and allergy-including ingredients can prevent further problems with colic.
Earth’s Best Organic formula is certified as organic by the US Food and Drug Administration. This assures parents that it lives up to its name. In terms of the key points, this formula holds a reduced lactose ingredients list.
Formulated with a blend of carbohydrates that are gentle on your baby’s still-developing tummy, it’s also iron-fortified for healthy growth and brain development.
In reducing the concentration of lactose within the formula, your little one should show fewer symptoms of colic. Over time, this can completely eliminate fussiness and excessive crying when their lactose sensitivity has been treated.
The formula includes three ingredients to aid optimum development and health for your baby. Firstly, it includes probiotics that help your baby’s digestive tract to digest food, particularly proteins, properly. This can prevent any discomfort and crying from constipation by encouraging good digestive bacteria growth.
Next, we have the powerful duo that most formulas now include. These are DHA, the omega-3 fatty acid, and ARA, the acid known for its role in eye development.
As with the organic title, Earth’s Best is free from artificial colors and flavors, plus synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Every parent would want to keep their precious baby away from those nasties! This formula is also kosher.
- FDA organic certified
- Reduced lactose
- Includes DHA and ARA
- Fortified with Iron
- Prebiotics to ease digestion
- Free from artificial colors and flavors, as well as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides
- Can cause constipation
- Ingredients include corn syrup and palm oil, which some parents may like to avoid
Although a lesser-known brand, this formula compares to the top, market-dominating competitors like Similac. It’s formulated with crucial nutrients for healthy development, as well as an important compound to bridge the gap between formula and breastmilk.
2’FL-HMO, also known as human milk oligosaccharide, is a probiotic found within breast milk. It’s a vitally important component in breast milk that can now luckily be synthesized to use in formula. It plays a huge role in the development of good health and immunity for infants. As this formula includes this essential ingredient, just like breast milk, you can rest assured that your baby’s health is taken care of.
Secondly, this caring formula has your baby’s health and development in mind. As colic can be difficult for both you and your baby, you’ll want a formula that ensures the other areas of their health are optimal. It includes DHA, lutein, and vitamin E.
DHA, as we’ve seen with previous formulas, is excellent for healthy brain development. The carotenoid nutrient, lutein, is known to contribute to healthy eye development. It also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. As your baby is young and their immune system is still developing, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory additions within their diet can help to keep them in good health.
Lastly, this formula is also free from genetically modified ingredients. This is something all parents should try to avoid in a formula!
While this formula has plenty of positives, it does include corn syrup and sucrose, which some parents may prefer to keep away from their babies. It can also smell a little strange after being mixed with water.
- Includes 2’FL-HMO found in breast milk to reduce the gap between formula-fed babies and breastfed babies
- Ingredients include DHA, lutein, and vitamin E for healthy development
- Non genetically modified ingredients keep this formula natural
- Compares to Similac Pro Sensitive, a leading brand
- Includes corn syrup and sucrose which many parents would choose to avoid
- Smells strange after being mixed
Last but not least, we have the well-known Similac Sensitive formula. This leading infant formula brand has, not surprisingly, created its own best formula for colic and fussiness.
We know all too well now that symptoms of colic can be a result of lactose intolerance, so this formula has reduced lactose to help with gas and fussiness.
Similac Sensitive includes its own branded “OptiGRO” component. This is a supportive blend of DHA, lutein, and vitamin E. These are designed to work together to support your baby’s brain, eye, and overall healthy development.
Formulas are a healthy choice for feeding your baby, and long gone are the days of only “breast is best.” However, there is still a divide between the ingredients of breast milk versus the ingredients of formula. Similac Sensitive has been designed to banish this divide.
This formula includes 2’FL-HMO, also referred to as human milk oligosaccharide. HMO is said to promote good bacteria in the gut as well as improve cognitive function, among many other benefits.
Usually, this compound has only been found in breast milk and minimal quantities in cow’s milk. However, modern technology has allowed this compound to be synthesized and added to formulas. Similac Sensitive brings itself closer to the nutritional profile of breast milk.
The formula has a huge range of positives; however, some parents find this formula to cause a bit of constipation, which is not ideal for babies experiencing colic. The powder also has a tendency to clump together when stored in the container for extended periods of time.
- From a leading infant formula brand
- Free from artificial growth hormones
- Specially designed for symptoms of colic due to lactose allergy
- Ingredients include DHA, lutein, and vitamin E
- Includes 2’FL-HMO, just like breast milk
- Can cause constipation
- Powder can clump in the packaging
The Final Verdict
After much consideration, it’s clear that the best formula for colic is Enfamil’s Nutramigen. It holds all the key requirements for a colic-friendly formula, from reduced lactose to other benefits such as included DHA, ARA, and both prebiotics and probiotics.
Enfamil’s formula really takes care of your baby’s overall health, while cutting out triggers of colic.
This formula should prevent your baby’s unhappy crying, and allow you a few more peaceful nights as it has done for me, oh so often!