In an effort to save you time, we came to the conclusion that the Gerber Good Start Soothe Formula was the best formula for babies with colic.
When I started my daughter on formula, the first brand I tried gave her seemed to give her several issues. She would become gassy, restless and would cry for hours on end. It was depressing to see her so uncomfortable and I would often end up crying myself.
That was when I decided to go on the hunt for formula that wouldn’t cause any negative side effects and still supply the essential nutrients for growth and development.
Baby formula should not be an alternative to breastmilk. It can be very helpful for babies with colic and other digestive issues. In this article, I review 5 baby formulas that are made to combat colic and similar conditions. I’ll give you some pointers to decide which is best for you and your baby.
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What Is Colic And What Causes It?
Colic is a condition in otherwise healthy babies characterized by constant crying that can go on for more than three hours in a day, more than three days in a week, and for more than three weeks. The exact causes of colic are not known but the following are suspected to play a part:
- A developing digestive system
- Developing nervous system
- Overstimulation by noise or light
- Food allergies
- Exposure to Tobacco
- Infant acid reflux
Signs Your Baby May Have Colic
Colic occurs in healthy infants so watch out for these symptoms.
Constant and intense crying: crying episodes for no apparent reason is the most common and sure sign of colic. The crying can happen almost the same time every day and the baby is inconsolable. It can last from a few minutes to extended hours in which they become red and flushed.
Changed posture: the baby might have tensed muscles, clenched fists, an arched back, and have their knees drawn up when having a crying episode. This can be used to deduce where the baby might be experiencing the pain that is causing the fit.
Wind: the baby might pass wind when crying. Especially when the cause of colic is indigestion or lactose intolerance. Watch for baby to pass feces around the time the crying stops. Knowing if diapers expire may be helpful as well.
Sleeping: colic is characterized by irregular sleeping patterns interrupted by crying.
Feeding: feeding essentially remains the same but can be irregular during the crying episodes.
Colic Remedies to try
The best remedy to reduce colic is to change your baby’s diet and try formula made specifically for babies with digestive issues. Gas is one main contributor to colic and is caused by the difficulty to digest lactose that is present in milk. Trouble digesting the proteins in cow’s milk can also cause colic. The best formula for colic breaks down these proteins to smaller parts that are easily digestible. For children with colic caused by lactose intolerance, a lactose-free or reduced-lactose formula should work well.
There are several things you can do in the meantime to help relieve the symptoms of colic. Some babies find relief when a little bit of pressure is placed on their abdomen. You can also try burping your baby or purchase some anti-gas drops that help break up gas bubbles. If breastfeeding, watch what you eat and avoid foods that can cause gas (cauliflower, dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, peanuts, fish, etc).
Colic however frustrating can be managed at home. It is critical to be able to differentiate colic crying and crying when the baby has an actual problem. If the habit change concerns you, see your pediatrician.
What to Look For When Choosing Formula for Colic
There are many different aspects to be aware of when looking at formula for colic. These include the ingredients, preparation required, feeding style, and any digestion or health concerns.
- Type of formula
There are different types of baby formula such as:
Ready to use liquid: this formula is pre-mixed and ready to drink from a bottle. It is packaged in a ready-to-eat bottle and is commonly used in hospitals. The only downside is that it is very expensive.
Concentrated liquid formula: this is a more concentrated formula that requires mixing with water in equal parts before feeding. It is easy to mix and dissolves very well. However, it is quite expensive and requires refrigeration.
Powdered infant formula: this requires to be dissolved in water before feeding. It is a more affordable option compared to the first two and is the most common type of baby formula in the market today.
Related Article: Similac vs Enfamil
- Milk or protein source
Cow’s milk: is most similar to breast milk in structure but children are typically intolerant to it. In formulas, the proteins in the milk are broken down to allow for easier digestion. It is the most commonly used milk in many baby formulas today.
Organic baby formula: this only contains organic ingredients so it’s a good option if your child has certain intolerances.
Lactose-free or reduce lactose formula: for babies with colic caused by indigestion or lactose intolerance, a lactose-free formula is an ideal choice. Corn syrup substitutes lactose in this formula.
Soy milk formula: this popular vegan alternative can be fed to babies who are allergic to cow milk. Plant proteins are altered for easier digestion.
When looking for a colic formula, one with additives that enhance growth should be a priority for you. Common additives found in formulas for colic include ARA, DHA, or iron.
Iron: this assists in strengthening bones and muscle growth.
DHA/ARA: these are the synthesized fatty acids that are found in breast milk. They are important for eye and brain development.
- Ease of digestion
Baby formula is made to be easy to digest in two ways. These are; a good whey-casein ratio and hydrolyzation. Hydrolyzed formulas are broken down into smaller particles so that the stomach has an easier time breaking down smaller parts. For colicky babies, these are the ideal choice.
Infant formulas contain both prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics which are galacto-oligosaccharides, strengthen your baby’s immune system. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote healthy digestion. Probiotics help with stomach trouble and prebiotics strengthen the baby’s stomach just like breast milk.
If your baby has allergies, it would be great to consider a hypoallergenic formula. There are many brands in the market that make baby formulas for colic that are hypoallergenic.
When choosing the best baby formulas for colic, it is critical to know if it approved or not. All baby formulas have FDA approval luckily, but there are things to look out for. For example, you can watch out not to get a formula with GMO for your baby. Given the potential risks that come with even fewer amounts of pesticide and herbicide residues, a zero GMO formula can be a priority for you. If you are having problems finding one you consider safe, a pediatrician can help you choose a safe option.
Reviews For The Best Baby Formulas For Colic
Featuring a blend of MFGM fat protein and DHA that is only found in breastmilk, this formula supports development and soothes colicky babies. It promotes cognitive development just like regular breast milk as proven by a clinical study on the formula. It contains natural prebiotics for immunity and easy to digest proteins best for babies with colic.Aside from that, it can be used as a complete nutrition formula for children up to 12 months of age. The Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease formula contains a blend of nutrients that are important for the growth and development of your baby. These include omega 3 DHA, vitamins, and minerals that are important for immunity and growth.
If you’re familiar with Enfamil, you’ll know that Similac is commonly agreed to be of similar quality. We discuss the topic of Enfamil vs Similac if you’re interested in our breakdown and comparison.
- It is rich in vitamins and nutrients
- Available in various formats
- Babies who are breastfeeding adapt to it quickly
- Does not contain GMOs
- Quite expensive
- It causes gas in some babies
This is undoubtedly one of the best-formulated baby formulas for colic and supplements. It is a great alternative to breast milk in addition to its ability to help soothe a colicky baby. Its formulation is friendly to the developing digestive system. The proteins in the powder have been broken down into very small parts for easy digestion.Colic can develop from a lack of probiotics from the baby’ digestive system. The Gerber Good Start powder contains probiotics which are found in breast milk. Probiotics are good bacteria that help in digestion. The powder contains probiotic L. Reuteri that has been shown by research to reduce the crying episodes in colicky babies by half.
In addition to all these, the powder contains comfort proteins which are easily digestible. They promote soft stool and reduce gas when the proteins, carbohydrates, and lactose blend. Rich in DHA, this Gerber powder promotes eye and brain development in your baby. The formula contains zero GMOs and is safe.
- Mixes evenly
- Has comfort proteins that are easily digested
- Soothes colicky babies
- Very affordable
- Does not contain GMOs
- Can cause constipation once in a while
- It can cause gas
This hypoallergenic formula is best for babies with allergic reactions as well as for calming colicky babies. It is highly hydrolyzed for easy digestion. The proteins in this cow’s milk formula are broken down into very small parts that are easily digestible and which cannot cause an allergic reaction in the gut. This is why it is recommended for babies with allergies to several things even problems like eczema rashes.The formula contains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus CG or Enflora LLG which is a specialized bacteria that allows babies who have had allergic reactions to cow milk to have toleration. The formula enables babies to take cow milk which is the closest to breastmilk in composition. The formula can be used in toddlers to help them maintain a consistent diet.
DHA and ARA are also present in this formula and are beneficial for brain and eye development. These are omega 3/6 fatty acids which promote healthy growth. In addition to these is iron that promotes strong and healthy bones in your baby. Last but not least, it is lactose and sucrose-free.
- Calms colic fast
- Good for allergies like eczema
- You do not need gripe water
- Has a strong smell
- It is quite expensive
What stands out for this formula is its organic formulation. It contains zero GMO and no hexane processed DHA which makes it more available for eye and brain development. The formula combines proteins, carbohydrates, essential fats, and vitamins that are required for growth. It is made from natural ingredients with no corn syrup and no palm oil added and is gluten-free.After testing by CleanLabelProjet.org, Baby’s only organic formula was declared the best in the Purity and Nutrition Superiority class. It was ranked the best among over 500 baby foods and formulas. It is manufactured in the USA and the packaging is BPA free.
- Fast colic relief
- Has ARA and DHA that are essential for development
- Organic formulation
- Quite expensive
If your baby is suffering from allergies to multiple foods, the PurAmino is a formula you should consider checking out. It can be used as a substitute for milk when your baby is experiencing allergic reactions. Your baby can feed on this formula alone for up to 6 months and can be used as a supplement for up to 2 years of age.PurAmino is an amino-based hydrolyzed formula for infants that is fortified with iron and other nutrients. It contains DHA and ARA, which are nutrients that support eye and brain development. It has been proven to effectively manage children with allergies to cow milk as a complete substitute. It is nutritionally complete for use for toddler and infants.
- Works well for protein allergy in different foods
- Best for infants and toddlers with an allergy to cow’s milk proteins
- Added nutrients for growth and development
- Does not smell very nice
- Quite expensive
To reduce crying episodes from colic, you need a good formula. The right formula reduces the symptoms as well as gives your baby additional nutrients for growth and development. It will also lead to the development of a healthy digestive system. There are very many infant formula brands in the market right now. Based on our review, hands down the Gerber Good Start Gentle Powder infant formula is our top pick as the best formula for colic.
It is budget friendly in addition to offering fast colic relief for your baby. Compared to other formulas for colic, its formulation contains probiotics that reduce colic episodes by up to a half. The powder contains comfort nutrients that do just that. Comfort your baby! Furthermore, it is fortified with DHA that promotes eye and brain development for your infant. Despite the limitation that it can sometimes cause gas, a happy baby is better than a crying baby.