Colief is a lactase enzyme that you put into baby's milk (it works with breast milk and formula) to reduce the level of lactose in the milk. It works on the belief that colic is caused by a baby's inability to digest lactose when they are tiny - until they are about three months old and their gut 'matures'. (Nice). Up until then, they get bloating and IBS like symptoms thanks to not being able to digest lactose, and it's this pain that makes them cry. Now, I don't quite now how Colief works for breastfeeding mums, but for us, we simply warmed Daphne's milk and put in four drops of this stuff half an hour before she needed to be fed. The warmth and the half an hour are required in order for the enzyme to do its job. Suffice to say, it was a bit of a faff.
We started using Colief when she was about six weeks old, I think. And we did see a big improvement in her wind - she definitely farted less and was much less 'burpy' after we started using it. We were quite pleased - it seemed to be helping and although she was still crying a lot at night, it was clear she was in much less pain than before.
However, Colief has one big downside - it costs a bloody fortune. It's about £12 for a tiny bottle that lasted just over a week. We asked the GP if she would prescribe it for Daphne, but she refused. I think you can get it on prescription but it depends where you live whether your Primary Care Trust reckons it's a medicine or not.
The other problem with Colief is sometimes we didn't have half an hour's warning before Daph wanted to be fed - and so it was all a bit hit and miss with whether the enzyme actually had time to work. After the occasional bottle left her crying and windy like before, we decided it would be easier and more consistent to move onto Comfort milk.
Comfort milk ostensibly does the same as Colief - it's already had much of the lactose removed, and it's also slightly thicker so it makes it harder for babies to gulp it, which means less wind. It says on the packet that it should only be used under medical advice, but I'm not sure anyone takes much notice of that.
I'd been putting off using Comfort milk, as I said before, because it only comes as a powder, not in ready-made bottles. So we had to start the whole palaver of sterilising the bottles and the powder and making it up with boiling water and leaving it to cool. Hence the acquisition of the wondrous Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine - which has done away with all this aggro and made it super easy to use.
The first time we gave Daphne Comfort milk, it was like some kind of magic drug - she fell asleep while drinking it, completely content and with no farting or burping or wriggling about. Sadly, this magic effect wore off after a couple of days, as she got used to the milk, but there's been a 100% improvement in her digestion since we put her on it. In that sense, it's been a bit of a miracle cure for us.
There are some downsides however. It makes Daphne's poo avocado green, which is somewhat alarming, but more upsettingly, her poos now absolutely STINK. To the point that when we change a nappy, we pretty much have to fumigate the room afterwards. But it's a small price to pay for a happier baby.
They say that when a baby reaches 3-4 months, their guts should have matured enough to be able to process lactose more easily, but I'm reluctant to change Daphne's milk again, so we're keeping her on the Comfort milk at least until she's weaned.
Next week, in my final thrilling post about colic, I'll talk about our experience with cranial osteopathy! Something to look forward to folks. The excitement! ;)