The Secret to All Natural Colic Cures
With the multitude of colic articles and advice you receive while you are pregnant, how do you know which is the safest for your baby? There are old wives tales and a shelf full of medicine at the pharmacy but the safest and most effective tricks start right at home are cheap or free. Understanding what colic is and what colic causes are your first steps in discovering homemade and all natural remedies.
What is Colic?
Colic is a term used to describe uncontrollable crying or fussiness in babies typically between 2 weeks and 3-4 months of life. The cause of colic is unknown. Researchers are looking at several possibilities including digestive issues, lactose intolerance, the diet of the nursing mother, anxiety in the home and the way an infant is fed among others. Colic is generally diagnosed by a medical professional when there is no other known symptom of discomfort. Up to 25% of infants are diagnosed with colic.
What are the Symptoms of Colic?
Physicians look to the Rule of 3 when diagnosing colic. Symptoms are uncontrollable crying from an otherwise healthy baby for 3 hours a day, 3 times a week, for 3 weeks or more. It is not uncommon for a baby without colic to cry for 2-3 hours per day although this is usually spread out throughout the day. A baby with colic usually cries around the same time each day, typically in the evenings, and the cry is loud and continuous. Babies may arch their back, clench their fists and bring their knees up to their chest in distress. Your baby’s face may get flushed and their belly may appear prominent and hard. Trouble breathing, diarrhea, vomiting and mucus in the stool are not symptoms of colic and are cause for a doctor’s visit.
What to Try First
First of all, remember you are not alone and this can be a very frustrating time with your little one. Your traditional comforting techniques may not work during these periods but there are other steps you can take.
- Get moving. Babies are comforted by motion whether it is a walk around the house, swaying back and forth, dancing, or a trip in the car around the block.
- Wrap him/her up. Firmly swaddle with a blanket or other swaddle product to help imitate the secure feeling of being inside the womb ( See how to swaddle your baby).
- Turn up the volume. Many babies enjoy the sound of your voice, constant humming or white noise. You can achieve this by shushing or singing to your baby, running the vacuum or dryer, and playing a noise maker or free apps from your phone or tablet.
- Resist the urge to overfeed. Stick to your baby’s normal feeding regime either by ounces or minutes on the breast.
- Baby massage. Massing their abdomen can help relieve gas and soothe colic. La Leche League has a great tutorial. http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbjanfeb98p13.html
Help By Changing Their Diet
Changes to a nursing mom’s diet or baby’s formula could help relieve gas pains and colic. Studies have also shown that switching to a formula containing whey hydrolysate (such as Good Start by Gerber) or a low-allergy formula (such as Enfamil Nutramigen) can decrease the number of colic episodes and duration. Diets that are high in fiber and cause gas can lead to worse colic episodes and gas in breastfeeding babies. Try either of these switches for one to two weeks for results
Foods to avoid while nursing: eggs, beans, cabbage, beans, caffeine, chocolate, wheat, soy products and dairy products.
Try eliminating one at a time or simply reducing your consumption. Fussiness and gastrointestinal distress can be a result of a cow’s milk protein or other food allergy and can show like colic in babies.
Probiotics: New Baby Miracle Drops
Probiotics are naturally occurring microorganisms that are beneficial to the consumer and can help reduce colic caused by gastrointestinal distress. There is considerable evidence that colic can be related to an imbalance of stomach flora and introducing probiotics can help restore the natural balance and enzymes in the gastric tract. Additionally, probiotics have been shown to improve other conditions associated with colic, such as lactose intolerance, necrotizing enterocolitis, and gastric inflammation. Probiotics are best discussed with your pediatrician and can be prescribed such as BioGaia ProTectis Baby.
Homemade Gripe Water
There are several solutions targeted at reducing gas and aiding colic in babies in the market. Problem is that some of these include sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. Baking soda is an antacid and can help reduce acid in the stomach however this acid is necessary for absorbing many vitamins including B12. Below is a recipe for gripe water with ingredients that can be found organic and at any health food store.
1 tbsp. Ginger Root
1 tbsp. Crushed Fennel Seeds
2 tbsp. Chamomile
Place all ingredients in tea ball. Place tea ball with 3 cups of water into a teapot or small pot on oven. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer 10-20 minutes. Let cool.
Give infants 5-10 milliliter doses 30 minutes apart. Don’t exceed 6 doses in 24 hours. Keep gripe water in a tightly sealed container and dispose of after 24 hours when mixture loses potency.
As with all medical advice ask your pediatrician or health care advisor before changing baby’s diet or trying new remedies for colic or if you suspect your baby may have colic. Most important take time for yourself to relax and if the crying tries to get the best of you don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Devin Fullilove is a guest health writer.