The phrase “breast is best” may come back to haunt mothers that are formula feeding their infants and experiencing colic. Rest assured, breast fed babies suffer from colic as well. Some babies just suffer, and they would probably suffer no matter what you did, so don't question how you are feeding your child as much as you question what you are feeding your baby.
When you got pregnant you probably decided you would be bottle-feeding and didn't put a whole lot of thought into what type of formula you would actually feed your child. Well, even if you did, you might not realize that the choice that you spent time researching wouldn't work out for your baby. You probably never really thought about colic, and you're not alone, you are like the majority of mothers who are dealing with colic and wondering what formula might make their baby feel better, as well as help everyone in the household sleep better!
You might need to change formula if your baby is consistently having stomach pains after eating. Remember though, it might take up to a week for your baby to really improve. You should not quickly change from one formula to another as a rapid change from one type of formula to another can actually make things worse. It's also worth noting that most parents report that the colic gets worse before it gets better with a new formula, so be prepared for a couple of really bad days.
One type of formula that many babies with colic do better on is Carnation Good Start. This formula has what the company calls “comfort proteins” which are broken down into smaller pieces so that the baby has an easier time digesting it. Carnation Good Start will only work with babies that are suffering for reasons not related to cow's milk proteins, as that is what this formula contains. Unfortunately, you may not know that your child has an allergy or sensitivity to these proteins until you try a different brand and things get much worse instead of better.
If Carnation Good Start doesn't work for your baby you might want to consider moving to soy based formula. If your baby is allergic to the cow's milk, keep in mind that about 50% of those babies also have a reaction to the soy protein. Unfortunately, the only way to know if your baby will react adversely to the soy proteins is to give the formula a try. There are a few different types of soy formula to try; you might want to get with your doctor to discuss which would be the best brand for your child.
If soy formulas do not work there is a third option for you to try, which are the hypoallergenic formulas. There are two hypoallergenic formulas, Nutramigen and Alimentum and they often help babies with very sensitive systems to get some relief from the painful symptoms associated with colic. While these formulas are usually very effective, you should expect a hefty price tag to come with them.
Colic can be a painful experience for both baby and mom. But, hopefully through some experimentation you can find a formula that your baby will be able to digest well and start to really enjoy life. So, get with your doctor and decide what you can do to make your life and that of your baby more comfortable.