Reducing the maternal dietary intake of indigestible and slowly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates is associated with improved infantile colic: a proof-of-concept study

J Hum Nutr Diet. 2018 Apr;31(2):256-265. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12488. Epub 2017 Jun 20.


Background: To investigate if a low fermentable oligo-, di- and mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet consumed by breastfeeding mothers may be associated with reduced symptoms of infantile colic.

Methods: Exclusively breastfeeding mothers and their typically-developing healthy infants who met the Wessel Criteria for infantile colic were recruited from the community, to this single-blind, open-label, interventional study. After a 3-day qualifying period, mothers were provided a low FODMAP 7-day diet. On days 5, 6 and 7 mothers completed a Baby Day Diary. At baseline and at the end of the 7-day dietary intervention, breast milk was analysed for FODMAP content and infant faecal samples for pH.

Results: Eighteen breastfeeding mothers (aged 27-40 years) adhered (100%) to the low FODMAP diet. Infants were of gestational age 37-40.3 weeks and aged 2-17 weeks. At entry, crying durations were a mean [95% CI] of 142 [106-61] min and fell by 52 [178-120] min (P = 0.005; ancova). Combined crying-fussing durations fell by 73 [301-223] min (n = 13; P = 0.007), as did crying episodes (P = 0.01) and fussing durations (P = 0.011). Infant sleeping, feeding, or awake-and-content durations did not change. Infant faecal pH did not change. Breast milk lactose content was stable and other known FODMAPs were not detected. At end of study, mothers reported their baby 'is much more content' and 'can be put down without crying'.

Conclusions: Maternal low FODMAP diet may be associated with a reduction in infant colic symptoms. A randomized controlled study is warranted to determine if a maternal low FODMAP diet is effective in reducing symptoms.

Keywords: breastfeeding; crying; diet; fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols; fussing; infant.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Colic / diet therapy*
  • Crying
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted*
  • Digestion
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Female
  • Fermentation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Mothers
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sugars / administration & dosage*


  • Sugars