Colic in breast-milk-fed infants: Treatment by temporary substitution of Neocate infant formula

D. C. Estep, Jr Kulczycki A.

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Infant colic is a common problem characterized by excessive crying and fussing. We examined whether colic symptoms of exclusively breast-milk-fed infants would be improved by temporary substitution of Neocate, an amino acid-based infant formula, for breast milk. Six infants with colic were studied using Barr-type infant behavior diaries for a 3-5 d baseline period while they continued exclusive breast-milk-feeding, followed by a 4-8 d intervention period of exclusive Neocate feeding. All infants showed improvement in distressed behavior during intervention; five of the six improved within 1-2 d. For the period after 1 d of Neocate feeding, the total recorded crying and fussing time was reduced by an average of 42%, representing a decrease of 1.0 to 3.1 h daily. A significant difference was found between cry and fuss time at baseline versus during exclusive Neocate use. Concurrent with Neocate intervention, mothers strictly avoided all milk and dairy products. After colic symptoms improved, infants were reintroduced to breast milk, which was reasonably well tolerated in four of the six infants. Two infants had rapid recurrences of crying and fussing upon return to breastfeeding and required an additional period of Neocate feedings before subsequent reintroduction to breastfeeding. All infants exhibited colic symptoms when directly or indirectly challenged with bovine IgG (BGG), suggesting that BGG may play an etiologic role in colic. We propose that a brief intervention with Neocate, coupled with strict maternal avoidance of milk and dairy products under direct supervision of a lactation consultant, may be an effective treatment for colic in some breast-milk-fed infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-802
Number of pages8
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000


  • Amino acid-based formula
  • Breast milk
  • Infant colic


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