Another theory on the cause of infant colic is that the baby's distress occurs as a result of an exaggerated gastro-colic reflex action, which causes intense, painful spasms of the intestinal wall. It is believed that these spasms can continue for hours, during which time the baby is distressed. The baby's pain is believed to be relieved when she poops or passes gas.
Constipation is often blamed for a baby's distressed behavior. However, constipation is not a reason for infant colic (as colic occurs at predictable times in the evenings, for weeks on end). Constipated stools are hard, dry and pebbly. Treatment of constipation will relieve any discomfort. (See our article on for more.)
Many people believe that immaturity of newborn babies' digestive system is the reason some babies suffer from gastrointestinal discomfort. A baby's digestive system does not produce sufficient quantities of digestive enzymes needed for breaking down foods other than breast milk or infant formula until around 4 months of age. However, if an immature digestive system was the cause of infant colic, then 100% of newborn babies would become distressed because they all have immature digestive systems.
Another theory relating to a mother's diet is that too much coffee, tea, chocolate or sodas containing caffeine (such as colas, Mountain Dew and energy drinks) can cause infant colic. Caffeine is easily transferred in breast milk and when consumed in large amounts by nursing mothers has been shown to cause agitation and irritability in babies. If you limit coffee to 3 cups or less per day (or an equivalent amount of caffeine from other sources) the amount of caffeine transferred in your breastmilk is unlikely to cause a problem for your baby.