The rigorous testing process that infant formula must undergo before being sold in the US means parents can rest assured that their chosen formula is good.
But when your baby is suffering from colic, and finding feeding time stressful, you might wonder if your chosen formula is right.
Feeding can be a fussy time for any baby, but those suffering from colic can find it quite stressful.
Colic is characterized by painful cries that seem to have no clear cause, and is thought to be the result of feeding and digestion issues.
The baby formula you use might be making colic worse, without you even realizing.
The right formula can ease digestion, reducing colic symptoms, and making for a happier baby and a peaceful feeding time.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best formulas for colic, and how you can choose the right one for you and your baby.
OUR TOP PICK
The Gerber Good Start SoothePro Formula has been designed specifically to mimic the gentleness of breast milk.
This 6-in-1 formula offers complete nutrition to babies up to 12 months old, while remaining gentle on the stomach to prevent painful colic.
Gerber Good Start SoothePro is their closest formula to breast milk, featuring prebiotics, probiotics, and comfort proteins, All these proteins are broken down into tiny pieces, making them easier for baby tummies to digest.
This promotes softer stools, and less stomach aches.
As well as promoting healthy digestion, the Good Start SoothePro formula from Gerber offers complete nutrition for your little one.
Containing the probiotic L. reuteri and Human Milk Oligosaccharide (HMO), Good Start SoothePro contains the nutrients needed to support the developing immune system.
Gerber Good Start SoothePro was designed to comfort your baby’s tummy.
It can reduce gas and mild spit-ups, and help soothe away excess crying and fussiness.
And these aren’t empty claims.
This popular formula has shown results for many parents, effectively treating colic and making for happy feeding times.
Parents have found Gerber Good Start SoothePro to help even severe colic symptoms.
- Non-GMO - A GMO-free formula.
- Mixes easily - Minimal lumps and a smooth consistency.
- 6-in-1 formula - Treats several common complaints, including colic.
- Gas - Some parents have found this formula can increase gas.
Best For Gas
The all-in-one Enfamil Gentlease Baby Formula is our top choice for reducing gas in babies.
The complete nutrition in the formula supports healthy growth while reducing gas, to make for comfortable feeds.
Enfamil is a popular brand for parents of babies with colic, and the Gentlease formula is one of their top sellers.
Created using proteins and dual-prebiotics that have been broken down for easier digestion, Enfamil Gentlease is suitable for babies up to 12 months.
Non-GMO and gluten-free, Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease also contains one-fifth of the lactose found in standard milk-based formulas.
Lactose can be difficult for stomachs to digest, resulting in discomfort. With a lower lactose level, there’s less to put strain on young tummies.
As well as being good for the gut, Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease has been formulated to benefit the brain.
It contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid shown to assist in brain development.
It isn’t just us recommending Enfamil — it’s the number one recommended brand by pediatricians.
Enfamil also comes highly praised by parents, who have found that the formula reduces colic symptoms and makes for a happier meal time.
- Designed to reduce crying - Enfamil claims using their formula can reduce crying in just 24 hours.
- Immune system support - Contains broken down proteins to build the immune system.
- Good for weaning - Babies used to breastfeeding can adapt quickly to Enfamil.
- Leaves a slight grease residue.
Best For Sensitive Stomachs
Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic is an infant formula designed for babies whose sensitive tummies might be causing serious discomfort.
The lactose-free and hypoallergenic formula is designed to get to work quickly, reducing crying in just 24 hours.
It’s hard to know exactly what might be causing your little one’s upset stomach.
A formula like Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic tackles the issue from several angles.
The formula is lactose-free, so it’s suitable for infants struggling with lactose allergies.
The included proteins are broken down for easier digestion, helping babies with food allergies.
And it’s corn-free, for babies who suffer from corn sensitivity.
Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic formula supports brain and eye development, containing DHA and ARA nutrients.
These are common nutrients in breast milk, and their inclusion in the formula makes for a well-rounded feed.
By removing lactose and corn, Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic is suitable for infants struggling with sensitivities.
However, Similac has made sure to keep in the nutrients and proteins necessary for healthy development.
So, you can be sure your baby is getting everything that they need, and not the things that might cause colic.
- Lactose-free - Difficult to digest lactose can cause pain and discomfort in young children.
- Pediatrician approved - Similac is a trusted brand, supported by healthcare workers and parents alike.
- Contains 2’-FL HMO - Supports the immune system.
- Price - Similac is an expensive brand.
Best For Toddlers
Baby’s Only Sensitive Toddler Formula is one of the best organic infant formulas available.
As well as being certified non-GMO, this organic and US-made formula is ideal for growing toddlers who are still struggling with delicate stomachs.
The sensitive formula is gentle on the stomach, easing digestion, so you can be sure to satisfy larger appetites.
Baby’s Only Organic Sensitive Toddler Formula is milk based, but with a reduced lactose level for easier digestion.
This is designed for parents who want to avoid soy in their child's diet, while still meeting the needs of lactose sensitive stomachs.
Baby’s Only strives to use only the highest quality of organic ingredients in their formula.
By creating all their formulas in small batches, Baby’s Only can be sure that all the necessary nutrients are included.
There’s no harsh chemical processing needed to produce this high quality and easy to use formula.
For parents who like to know all the details of every ingredient their baby digests, Baby’s Only is perfect.
By understanding the formula properly, you can better get to the root of digestive issues and colic.
And with USDA Organic certification, you’ll know your baby is only getting the very best quality.
- Clean Label Project Purity Award - Recognized for containing properly sourced and safe ingredients.
- Iron fortified - Improves development.
- Hexane free DHA and ARA - Natural sources of DHA and ARA ensure they’re hexane free.
- Can lead to constipation in some infants.
Also available for purchase at NaturesOne.
Best Plant-Based Formula
Plant-based formulas aren’t right for all babies, but they can be beneficial for those suffering from stomach issues.
These formulas are made without the lactose and cow’s milk proteins that are common in most milk formulas, but which can be difficult to digest.
By replacing the cow’s milk base with a plant formula, it is softer on developing stomachs.
Our favorite plant-based infant formula is Earth’s Best Non-GMO Soy Plant Based Infant Powder.
This formula is made with everything you need to support the healthy development of your child, but doesn’t contain any hard to break down lactose.
It does have proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, DHA and ARA.
This supports the immune system, and helps the healthy development of the brain and eyes.
It’s nourishing and supportive, and easy to eat. Suitable for children from 0 to 12 months, this formula provides nutrition at those key developmental stages.
Soy-based formulas aren’t suitable for all children, so be sure to speak to your pediatrician before starting on a plant-based formula.
But if you do decide it’s the right choice, Earth’s Best is the way to go.
- Non-GMO - All ingredients are made without genetic engineering.
- Iron fortified - Supports the development of red blood cells.
- Easy digestion - Without the tough lactose proteins, Earth’s Best formula can be broken down quicker.
- Not always suitable - Soy-based formulas aren’t right for all children, so make sure to speak to a pediatrician before using.
Also available for purchase at EarthsBest.
Formula For Colic Buyer’s Guide
There are a lot of baby formulas available.
The choice can seem overwhelming at times, especially as they all boast about what they can do for your little ones.
Which is why we’ve created this buyer’s guide, so you can make the right choice for you and your baby.
Before we begin, there are two things to cover. First, all baby formulas sold in the USA have to be approved for sale by the FDA.
So, no matter which brand you choose, it has been checked and declared safe.
Second, you may have to undergo some trial and error to find exactly what’s right for your baby.
The causes of colic still aren’t fully known, and, unfortunately, your baby can’t simply tell you what’s wrong.
The type of bottle may also play a role in colic. Dr Brown's Bottles are specifically designed to reduce the amount of air that is swallowed by your little one, bringing relief to them.
Our review of Dr Browns Bottles can be found here.
Back on the topic of formula, here are our tips for choosing the right formula.
Type Of Formula
Formula is most commonly sold in powder form. The powder then has to be mixed with water, to create a drink for your little one to enjoy.
Powder is often the most affordable type of baby formula, and the easiest to find for sale.
The downside of powder formula is that it can be messy to make up, and sometimes has a lumpy consistency.
Ready to use liquid formulas are also available.
These are pre-mixed and can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Although these liquid formulas are convenient, they are a little more pricey.
It’s also possible to buy concentrated liquid formula. This will need to be mixed with water before using.
These tend to have a better consistency than powder formulas, and are easier to use.
Baby formula is commonly made from cow’s milk, and this forms the main protein source.
Cow’s milk has a similar structure to breast milk, which is why it’s used as a substitute.
However, cow’s milk contains lactose, which is difficult to break down and digest, particularly for young children.
Because of this, many formulas designed to relieve colic break down the proteins in cow’s milk to make them easier for sensitive tummies.
Other brands will use a reduced amount of lactose, typically substituting a certain amount for corn syrup.
But cow’s milk isn’t the only potential protein base for infant formula. Some brands have created plant-based formulas, typically with a soy milk base.
This can be good for particularly sensitive stomachs.
Goat’s milk is also becoming a popular base for formulas. Goat’s milk also contains lactose, but some stomachs find it easier to digest.
Digestion and colic are thought to be linked, and sensitive baby stomachs can struggle to digest certain foods.
Formulas designed to reduce colic should contain easy to digest prebiotics and probiotics. These are broken down already, so the stomach has less work to do.
What Else Is In It?
Created to mimic breast milk as closely as possible, formulas often contain additives designed to assist in your baby’s development.
Iron is a common additive, and it supports the development of red blood cells, and can strengthen bones and muscles.
Many formulas also contain DHA and ARA.
These are fatty acids that are beneficial to the development of the brain and eye.
These additives might not do much to reduce colic, but it’s important that your chosen formula contains all your baby might need for healthy growth.
Children have different nutritional needs through development, so it’s important that the formula is for the right age range.
Formulas tend to have pretty broad age ranges, such as 0 to 12 months, but certain brands create formulas for older toddlers.
Colic tends to pass at about four months old, but some children will experience issues for longer.
Can You Buy It Easily?
Babies need a lot of food to support their growth, which means you can go through formula quicker than you realize.
Which is why one of the key concerns should be how easily can you buy it?
If you’re an avid online shopper, you may prefer a formula that you can have delivered and redelivered with minimal effort.
On the other hand, you may prefer a brand that you can often see on shop shelves, so you can pick up whenever you’re out and about.
Of course, it won’t always be an option to get the formula you want.
However, by considering this factor now, you’re more likely to pick a formula you have frequent access to.
Formula can be expensive, and some formulas aimed at helping colic contain organic and specialized ingredients that increase the price.
Not all colic problems can be fixed with a change in formula, so be careful when buying particularly expensive brands: they might not do any good.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Colic?
Colic is a condition some babies suffer from that’s characterized by crying and fussing with no clear cause.
It’s thought that colic might be caused by digestion problems, although research is still ongoing.
Can Formula Cause Colic?
It’s thought that the wrong formula may at times be responsible for colic.
Some babies will struggle with certain types of formula, which contain ingredients their stomach is sensitive towards.
However, it’s worth noting that both breastfed and formula-fed babies can develop colic.
And while we think colic is primarily a result of digestive issues, it isn’t a clear-cut subject.
There are all sorts of potential causes for colic, and food might be just one small part of the issue.
What Formulas Are Good For Colic?
Formulas contain low levels of lactose and easy to digest proteins are thought to be best for babies with colic.
These can potentially prevent upset stomachs, acid reflux, and gas, leading to a more comfortable feeding.
Colic is complex, and formulas that have worked for others might not benefit your child.
If your child is struggling with colic, consult your pediatrician.
Can Switching Formulas Help Colic?
Switching formulas can potentially relieve colic, particularly if you switch from a standard formula to an easy to digest formula.
Consult with your pediatrician before making serious changes to your child’s diet.
Although switching formulas can help, don’t change formulas after every fussy feed.
Formula needs time to work, so try to stick it out for a week or two (unless, of course, your child really doesn’t like it).
Colic is a nightmare to deal with, but the right formula can make things easier.
Our top picks are designed to be easy on the sensitive stomachs of babies, so they can digest their food with less fuss.
These options are particularly good for those with allergies, although always speak to your pediatrician if you have dietary concerns.
We hope this guide has helped you find the right colic-fighting formula for your family.