Colic. The word sends shivers down the spine of even the most strong-hearted.
According to the dictionary:
col·ic [kol-ik] noun
- paroxysmal pain in the abdomen or bowels
- colic, fussy, irritable, colicky, sleepless infant or baby
According to the pediatrician:
“Well, uhhhhh, to be honest, we don’t really know what colic is.”
According to me:
If your baby cries inconsolably most nights, is in obvious discomfort, and cannot be calmed, there is a strong chance that she has colic. There is also a chance that you are going just a leeeeetle bit crazy and your heart is breaking over your baby’s agony and your own helplessness. The following 10 natural tips on how to soothe a colicky baby might help.
I am not, never was, and never will be a doctor. Get a diagnosis from a good pediatrician and ask about these treatments before administering them.
10 Natural Tips for How to Soothe a Colicky Baby
Give up dairy if you are nursing. Dairy sensitivities in infants often present as colic. Don’t give it up for a day and say it didn’t work. It generally takes a couple weeks for it to get out of your system, and even longer for baby to heal if she had any intestinal inflammation from the dairy.
Give up sugar if you are nursing. Sugar aggravates intestinal problems in anybody. Please, please, please don’t ever give a baby sugar water.
Rub the baby’s stomach with a little warm olive oil. The heat, oil, and massage work together to soothe the stomach.
Put a warm towel on the baby’s tummy. Alternatively, lay the baby down with her tummy on a warm water bottle, a blanket between baby and the water bottle. Test the temperature with the most sensitive part of your inner arm, and supervise the baby the entire time. Never use a heating pad, since the risk of burning the baby is too high.
Lay the baby down on your stomach, chest, or lap and rub her back gently. Optionally, carry her so her stomach is across your arm. Sometimes pressure on the stomach helps, but other times it makes it worse, so follow the baby’s cues.
Drink chamomile tea if you are nursing. If you are not nursing, give baby an ounce or two of weakened tea. Others have tried catnip tea. Ask your doctor before administering tea to a baby.
Pour boiling water over anise, fennel, or cumin seeds or a couple peppermint leaves. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain, cool, and give some to baby in a bottle. Consult a pediatrician.
Give up foods that often cause digestive problems, such as spicy food, caffeine, soy, and chocolate. You may need to get more extreme down the road if this does not help, giving up common allergens such as gluten, eggs, corn, citrus, and nuts.
Add dairy-free probiotics, foods high in probiotics, and foods that help with digestion to your own diet if you are nursing. The baby will reap the benefits. Some people say to give baby a small bit of powdered probiotics, but you should discuss any supplement with your baby’s pediatrician.
Boil an onion in water. Cool. Give the baby about a teaspoon in a bottle if your doctor says it’s okay.
During my research on how to soothe a colicky baby, I met a beautiful lady in her 80s out in California with a great colic anecdote (and antidote). Her doctor told her to insert a thermometer into the baby’s bottom (obviously not the forehead scanning type) and move it gently to one side. The gas will shoot out like a bat out of a colicky baby’s bottom and the baby will feel relief. (Ask your doctor!) I haven’t tried it.
What I liked best about meeting this lady were these words: “My daughter’s 60 now and we both survived the colic just fine.”
Music to a mama’s heart.
(By the way, while the screaming baby in the pictures did have colic, these tears were from her favorite team losing the championship game. Heartbreaker.)
What are your natural tips for how to soothe a colicky baby?
Have I mentioned that I am not a doctor and that you should talk to someone who is? Well, I’m not, and you should.
Just a reminder, you can get a FREE nursing cover-up here.