Joyce Miller BSc, DC; FACO, FEAC (Paeds) and Sue Weber BSc, DC, MSc, FEAC (Paeds)


Background: Despite enormous effort spent in determining a cause for infant colic, the source of the problem still eludes researchers.

Objective: To review the published evidence to establish whether infant colic is due to an allergic reaction to cow’s milk.

Method: A literature search was completed using Medline, Cochrane Clinical Review and a hand search from 1980 to March 2013, Publications were included if they were systematic reviews, RCT’s with a control group, or specifically related to dietary interventions.

Results: The majority of studies had faults due to non-randomization, non-blinding, too few participants, skewed populations and inadequate follow-ups. There appeared to be some relief of crying with change in diet in several studies, but crying time was still considered longer than normal.

Conclusions: There is no clear evidence that infant colic is a form of cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). Research trials have been contaminated with a subgroup of infants who have been diagnosed with colic who actually have CMPA. Future studies need to subgroup the irritable infant to better understand the etiology of colic.