There are times that try men’s souls and no one will agree with this statement more than the parents of an otherwise healthy infant suffering from colic. Colic in babies and infants can be a trying time for new parents; no matter what they do, their efforts just do not yield results. Infant colic was first described by doctors in the early 6th century. In those days, nursing mothers and wet nurses used home remedies like applying opium on their nipples to soothe colicky babies to sleep. Colic is a common condition affecting babies in the first 3 to 6 months. Symptoms of colic include excessive uncontrollable crying, pulling one’s legs towards their abdomen, flatulence and gas. The baby might, at one moment, scream hysterically, and then quiet down for a while only to start crying again.
In this article, we will discuss some natural home remedies for colic in babies that can give much needed relief to the sufferer and its parents.
1. Change the nursing mother’s diet
Check to see if the increased crying is accompanying the mother’s dietary changes in breastfed infants. Most pediatricians advise mothers to eat a healthy diet and avoid gassy foods like beans, dairy, as well as allergen causing foods such as shellfish, oysters, caffeine, spicy foods, peanuts etc. A simple change in the nursing mother’s diet can help alleviate colic in the baby.
2. Is the colic accompanied by changes in sleep patterns?
What might seem like colic symptoms may be something else. An obstruction of some kind in the esophagus or some other underlying health condition can also lead to excess crying in infants. Parents should bring inexplicable changes in their baby’s diet, sleep patterns and other behaviors to their doctor’s notice. Has the baby had a fall recently? Is the colic persisting beyond 9 months of age? All these signs may be pointing to some other health condition and not colic.
3. Give it time
Symptoms of colic just come on and disappear as mysteriously as they arrive. So try giving it some time. As trying as this may seem, allow the baby to cry a bit. If possible get some help from the spouse, grandparents or friends to rock the baby gently in case you are exhausted with these efforts.
4. Reflux disease in infants – use homeopathic remedies
If the colic is accompanied by the baby throwing up curdled milk, then it could be reflux. In this case, many homeopathic colic remedies can help. NatPhos6 X is one such remedy that can help turn a red, angry baby into a calmer one.
5. Is the baby getting adequate milk?
In many cases, colic symptoms may actually be a sign of intense hunger. Try and nurse the baby. If needed, get some advice from a lactation consultant or the baby’s pediatrician. The baby could have latched improperly which may be causing feeding issues.
6. Watch the baby’s poop
The baby’s poop color can give you an insight into its health. Green, frothy poop indicates excess of foremilk which is known to give rise to digestive distress. The baby should, instead be getting hindmilk which is higher in fat and increases satiety. So watch your diet as well as your baby’s poop and talk to the pediatrician about it.
7. Colic carry
Doctors and experienced parents swear by the colic carry position. In this position, the baby lies face down along your forearm so that its stomach is gently pressed by it. The baby’s face will be in your palms and its legs would be straddling your forearm. In this position, sit in a rocking chair and rock gently. This will help alleviate gas and give the baby instant relief from colic symptoms. This is one of the best known and time-tested home remedies for colic pain in infants and babies.
8. Use a poultice of garlic
Crush some garlic and apply it on the baby’s stomach. The garlic is absorbed by the skin which helps alleviate stomach pain. Nursing mother can also chew on raw or roasted crushed garlic and then murse the baby. This will help reduce gastric indigestion and gas and relive colic pain instantly.
9. Change the baby’s formula
In case of colic in toddlers or babies on formula, changing to Hydrolysate formula can help relieve symptoms of colic. This is because; the milk proteins are already broken down here which simplify digestion.
10. Use proper bottle feeding position
Colic pain is extremely common in bottle fed babies. The air gets inside the baby’s stomach easily causing gas and bloating. A simple change in the nursing position can help reduce these colic symptoms. Make sure the baby is upright when it feeds with the bottle. Also burp the baby gently several times to remove all the trapped air bubbles and reduce gastric irritation.
11. Use white noise
This is another of the natural home remedies for colic in infants. Playing some white noise of a vacuum cleaner or a radio station which plays only static can help the baby sleep better.
12. Swaddle the baby
Sometimes, simply swaddling the baby in a tight cloth can help recreate womb like structure enabling it to sleep snugly. If you live in cold countries, try this home remedy can help stop the colicky baby from crying.
13. Use Gripe water
Gripe water is an age old home remedy known to calm down colicky and fussy babies. However, some pediatricians are against it as it contains sugar and alcohol apart from natural ingredients like baking soda, chamomile, fennel, dill and ginger. These help the baby pass off excess gas and give relief from pain.
14. Use herbal remedies for colic
Some herbalists prescribe a gentle herbal tea for babies consisting of licorice, vervain chamomile, fennel and lemon balm. These herbs are known to reduce crying time in colic babies by nearly 2/3rds.
15. Give the baby a warm bath
Many babies are known to love water and soaking with them in a tub or warm hated pool can help divert their attention from the colicky pain.
16. Get some fresh air
If the baby is old enough to be taken outdoors for a stroll, do so. Place the baby in a baby carrier attached to your body and go for a walk. Alternatively, take the baby for a stroll in a pram or a baby carrier seat. You can also take it for a drive in a car. Swings, recliners and rockers can also become your best friends when you have a colicky baby on hands.
Colic in babies can drive a parent to frustration and despair. No matter what, do not shake the baby or throw it down. This can cause serious damage to the child’s brain. Take a break if the constant crying is overwhelming you. Get a family member or friend to help out. Never give alcohol or knockout drops to crying babies. Some parents let the baby cry itself to sleep, but this is a harmful approach which needs to be discussed with one’s pediatrician. We hope these 16 home remedies for colic help. Good luck!