Almost a quarter of babies will suffer from colic. One minute your baby is a quiet bundle of joy, then from no where the crying starts and lasts for hours, days and weeks. Doctors don’t know what causes it, and treatments often given in the past have been shown to have little or no benefit in recent years. Common symptoms are crying for prolonged periods, reflux, hiccups, grunting, arching of the back, drawing up of the legs to the chest, and clenching of the fists. Babies often become colicky at the same time every day, usually in the evening. Parents of a colicky baby can find life very stressful and struggle to know what to do to help their little one. I’ve been through it, and I know how helpless it can make you feel. Thankfully colic usually passes by the time a baby is 3 months old, or at least 6 months old. But in the meantime there are natural ways you can help to soothe your baby.
1. Breastfeed. The best thing you can do, to reduce the chance of your baby ever getting colic in the first place, is breastfeed. Formula fed babies are more likely to suffer from colic than breastfed babies. (1) If you do formula feed, there is some evidence that dairy-based formula can contribute to colic, so try switching to a soya-based formula. If you breastfeed, eliminating dairy from your diet may help. (2) Also, try eliminating certain foods from your diet such as spicy foods or caffeine.
2. Motion. Some babies are soothed by motion. The best solution would be to place your baby in a sling and walk about with them. This has the benefit of having them close to your skin, being soothed by your presense. But swings, crib vibrators, walks in the pram (stroller) and car rides can all help.
3. Position. Feed your baby in an upright position. When my baby had colic the only way she would feed for months was laying on her front on my belly, or sitting on my lap. I also found rubbing or patting her stomach to be helpful.
4. Herbal remedies. There is some evidence that herbal teas, either given to the baby diluted or drank by a nursing mother, can relieve colic. Their antispasmodic properties may help relieve cramping in the baby’s immature digestive system. Try adding 1 teaspoon of chamomile flowers, mint leaves or basil leaves to boiling water; stand for 10 minutes, cool, and then place in a bottle for baby to drink. 34
5. Soothe. Finally, the very best thing you can do to help your colicky baby is to soothe them. Give them a calming bath, wrap them up against your skin and cuddle them. If you’re breastfeeding, nurse them as frequently as you can. Give them a pacifier, carry them in a sling, try a hot water bottle held against the back of stomach in a towel (warm not hot!). Try making repetitive sounds to them. Sing lullabies or play soft music. Anything to soothe your colicky baby into calming sleep.
Article by Lindsey Wilson
Lindsey is an attachment parenting, unschooling mummy to a beautiful baby girl. She lives in the north of England, and works part-time as a psychiatric nurse. Her hobbies are reading, cooking and baking, knitting and seeing bands.
Lindsey has written 25 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.