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Special Formulas Improve Colicky Babies

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Yacoob, who is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California-Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, reassures parents that colic, although nerve-racking, does no lasting damage to the baby.

Often children respond well to movement, such as riding in a car or even being placed on top of a washing machine. Nursing mothers might eliminate cow's milk or gassy foods from their diets, since compounds in these products may enter their milk.

Should these measures fail "we know that [these formulas] will work in a defined set of kids, but we recommend that people check with their pediatricians before trying them," says Kulczycki.

All of the products used in these studies are FDA-approved and contain all the nutrition growing babies need, he adds. However, they are expensive: the amino-acid formula, for example, costs approximately $50 for a 14-ounce can of powder, which lasts two to three days for an average infant. On the other hand, "What's the cost of a decent night's sleep and good interaction with your child for a few weeks?"

Alimentum and Nutramigen are available in selected grocery stores, pharmacies or can be ordered from their respective manufacturers. Neocate must be ordered from a pharmacist or directly the manufacturer.

Vital Information:

  • Two new studies suggest complete proteins given to babies can contribute to colic.
  • Colicky babies tolerated formulas of fragmented protein and improved, but feeding them cow's milk led to return of colic symptoms.
  • Observers interpret the studies differently, noting either that colic may be due to dietary factors or that the researchers simply treated a milk-protein intolerance.
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