Colic for babies

Mirna Sabbagh an adult and child dietitian, nutritionist, and lactation consultant sees patients physically in Dubai. In addition, she also has several digital courses: breastfeeding course, starting solids 6-12 months course, child nutrition for all children including picky eaters, and also a pregnancy course that you can sign up for from the comfort of your home.

If you would like to book a consultation in person or via Zoom with Mirna El Sabbagh - Licensed Dietitian in Dubai - Contact her on 


Most babies complain of colic. Most of it is normal and often times goes away on its own. However, sometimes there are a few things we can do to improve colic. I will split this up between "if the baby is breastfeeding or if the baby is formula feeding"and a section for all babies.


If the baby is breastfeeding and has colic

Reason 1, medical reasons such as Cows Milk Protein Allergy or Reflux:

It is very possible that the baby has either reflux or cow's milk protein allergy or perhaps both. Try removing cows milk completely from your diet for a full 10 days and see if your baby's colic improves or not. I discuss this in my : breastfeeding course and I provide a diet plan. In addition, I discuss my own experience with my son having cows milk protein allergy in this video

If your baby possible has reflux, please discuss it with your pediatrician. If you are not convinced, take a second opinion from another pediatrician. Your baby may simply need an adjustment on positioning so he can sleep more comfortably or may need medications. Either way only your pediatrician can help you. I discuss reflux in details with Dr Rania on this video

Reason 2, oversupply:

Very often, oversupply or the mother having too much milk can cause the baby to have colic. This baby will often be gulping often and looks a little bit uncomfortable while feeding. The best way to prevent that is to make sure that:

1. The baby is in the right breastfeeding position, I discuss some of it's aspects in a free breastfeeding positions video but also I discuss it in more details in breastfeeding course.

2. It is very important that the baby is in control of breastfeeding and can move their head away from the milk easily

3. Breastfeeding laid back is ESSENTIAL for the mother with oversupply so the baby can be in control of the amount of milk going in. This is a great article that discusses this issue in details

4. Please make sure you are not making your oversupply worse by pumping randomly and without a schedule as this will increase your milk supply.


If the baby is formula feeding or bottle feeding and has colic

Reason 1: The baby is having the wrong formula:

This is very likely. You may have to switch formula a few times before deciding on one formula for your baby. What kind of formulas are there?

1. Standard cows milk formula. Most brands have similar ingredients inside them. They all must follow the same protein, carbohydrate, fat ratio. Some babies manage well on regular formula but others do not. If your baby does not handle regular formula well you have other options. The differences between most formulas are the type of probiotics added and perhaps the structure of some of the fats but it should not make a huge difference. Always choose one with added probiotics.

2. Standard goats milk formula. Some babies may have less colic on goats formula because the proteins are easier to digest and there's natural pre and probiotics in them. This may not be easily digested either, you can then for for other formulas

3. Hypoallergenic formulas (HA) this may or may not be semi-hydrolyzed which means the proteins are broken down and usually suits many babies with colic or possible allergy symptoms.

4. Fully hydrolyzed formulas are formulas that are completely broken down and can be easily digested for children with extreme allergies including cows milk protein allergy. Please note the taste may differ and your baby may not like it.

Reason 2: The wrong bottle nipple and positioning.

If your baby has colic, It may be the bottle nipple is too big or unsuitable. Try changing it to a different nipple. Please check this video and also this one about herbs and colic

You may also be giving the bottle in a vertical uncomfortable position. If this is the case please try giving it in an upright horizontal position. 

Mirna Sabbagh adult and child nutritionist in Dubai

Solutions for all babies

Please do not give herbal supplements for babies unless you know the risks involved

Herbal supplements may do more harm than good. They may be contaminated with pesticides or other toxic herbs. Please be careful when giving your baby herbs especially since they have an immature neurological system. Please view this video There has been cases of seizures in the U.S for babies who have been given herbs such as star anise for colic.


Please carry your baby or baby-wear them.

Babies have been carried and rocked in your womb for 9 months, why would we think they want to be sitting in a bassinet with tied hands now? Please carry them, love them, kiss them. Research shows African babies who are carried around have less colic and cry less! Don't worry about "they'll get used to it" they won't. I have never seen an adult want to be rocked! Ask every mom who loved and carried her baby and she will tell you they cried less and they are independent now.


Let them do tummy time supervised by you

Sleeping or laying on their tummy while supervised by you can decrease colic. try it for 30 minutes a day. ONLY under supervision.

Baby massages

Baby massages, soothing music, and dark lights can all help soothe the baby. 

Make sure they are sleeping well during the day and night

You may be mistaking crying because of colic to crying because they are overtired! Did you know babies can only stay awake for 45 minutes? If you put them to sleep in intervals you'll notice they cry so much less! If you are not sure what to do discuss it with a gentle sleep expert. Watch this video with Layal Fayad where she discusses gentle sleep tips.