Does your baby suffer from ongoing colic and wish you could find some natural baby colic remedies? I’ve put together some tried and tested treatments I regularly use in my clinic.
The official medical diagnosis for baby colic is made when a baby cries for at least three consecutive hours in the day, for at least three days a week over a period of at least three weeks.
In reality, your baby may not cry for such extended periods of time and still be colicky and in pain.
Signs of baby colic include inconsolable crying, bending the knees towards the tummy, coming on and off the breast or bottle, arching their back away from you, scrunching their little face in pain and general fussiness, diarrhoea or constipation.
Most babies will experience some colicky phases, especially around growth spurt times at 3-4 weeks, 5-7 weeks and monthly thereafter. This is because their digestive system is quite immature and the extra milk taken in causes extra gas in their intestines.
I would say that the most overlooked cause of colic in babies is feeding issues. By this I mean poor latching and positioning when it comes to breastfeeding. I have seen many cases of colic and reflux resolved once I referred mum and baby to an experienced lactation consultant. Just having a midwife assessing your feeding isn’t enough – if your baby is regularly in pain, it is time to call an expert. A simple change in feeding techniques and timings can make the world of difference.
The second most common cause of colic in babies I see in clinic is poor gut microbiota in the mum. If the mum has a history of digestive issues, autoimmunity, allergies and mental health problems, it is highly likely that she had a dysbiotic (poor gut microbial balance) gut at birth and this poor microbial composition was passed on to the baby, who then starts overproducing gad when mum eats specific kinds of fibre in her diet. Also, if the baby was born via c-section this will also have a strong
The low FODMAP diet is now often recommended as a first port of call for mothers of colicky babies. I would strongly urge you to follow this diet only under the guidance of an experienced naturopath who understands the long term dangers of this diet. A low FODMAP diet can induce even more dysbiosis in the baby’s gut in the long term – it needs to be followed carefully and with the parallel use of FODMAP-friendly prebiotic fibres and specific probiotic strains to help prevent a further reduction in beneficial bacteria.
Top 15 Natural Baby Colic Remedies
- Breastfeed, breastfeed and breastfeed some more. Breastmilk contains a unique cocktail of pre and probiotics designed to increase beneficial bacteria in the baby.
- Wind baby for up to 10-15 mins after each feed. Do this religiously as trapped air will accumulate throughout the day and you’ll end up with a screaming baby by late afternoon.
- Mum should take a strain-specific probiotic – Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis has some strong research evidence in terms of reducing crying in babies. This is found in Australia in the Blacmores Digestive BioBalance probiotic. This can also be directly administered to the baby although I would recommend waiting until the baby is 4 months old before doing this.
- Try individual homeopathics for baby. The most common ones for colic are colocynthys, mag phos, chamomilla, bryonia, nux vomica and dioscorea. I’d recommend seeing a homeopath for specifci prescribing.
- Drink some chamomile and fennel tea daily as these herbs are soothing for digestive spasms. The herbs will pass onto your breastmilk. Avoid fennel if you have problems with engorgement as it increases milk production.
- Give your baby some Iberogast drops. This is a safe and gentle herbal mix – I would wait until the baby is 4 months old. In australia it is available from larger pharmacies.
- Give baby a tummy massage. Look up some baby massage techniques on the Internet.
- Help expel gas by ‘bicycling’ baby’s legs.
- Avoid all sugar and ‘white flour’ in your diet as well as sodas and junk food.
- Give your baby a warm bath as this can help soothe colic spasms and bring up burps.
- Swaddle baby.
- Carry baby in sling.
- Eliminating dairy, wheat and coffee from your diet for ten days. Supplement with calcium if you go dairy free. Calcium hydroxyapatite or citrate in combination with vit d and magnesium is the best absorbed form.
- Seek help for you. Often babies are colicky if mum is very stressed.
There is no doubt that having a colicky baby is heart breaking and exhausting to say the least. You may feel guilty at the thought you’re not enjoying motherhood as much as you’re supposed to, your relationship with your partner may suffer due to exhaustion, frustration and short tempers and you may feel alone and alienated as socialising with a screaming baby is very difficult.
It is essential that you find some ‘me’ time to recharge your batteries and regain some perspective. Don’t be proud; enrol the help of family and friends to give you a couple of hours’ respite on a daily basis and if this is not possible, at least several times a week. If you can afford it, hire paid help to come and help with the baby so you can go for a walk, a massage or catch-up with friends.
Above all, if your feelings are starting to take a turn for the worse, you’re crying most of the time, you’ve lost enjoyment of life, have feelings of depression, self harm or apathy towards your baby, go and see your GP, maternal health nurse or, in Australia, contact www.beyondblue.org.