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If your baby cries for more than three hours for three consecutive days, she may have colic. Babies suffering from colic arch their back, clench their fists, tighten the stomach muscles, and bend their arms and knees towards the belly while crying. Their abdominal muscles are usually tense, and they pass a lot of wind. Colic starts at about 3 weeks and goes away by the time the baby is 4 to 6 months old. The exact cause of colic is unknown, although gas or indigestion are common triggers. It may also happen due to intolerance toward substances in breast milk. Here are some natural remedies you can use to treat colic in your infant.
23 Effective Natural Remedies to Treat Colic in Infants
Colic can cause immense pain and discomfort in your baby. These natural remedies guarantee relief from colic.
1. Give a Warm Bath
Giving a warm bath is a natural remedy for colic in babies, that has been practised for centuries. Warm water relieves the pain. You can also gently massage your baby’s abdomen while bathing her.
2. Apply a Warm Compress
A warm compress provides relief from gas. Dip a towel in warm water and squeeze it. Place the cloth on your baby’s tummy or gently rub her tummy with it.
3. Massage Your Baby
Massages not only soothe babies but also aid digestion. Take olive oil or coconut oil on your palms, and massage your little one’s tummy in a clockwise direction.
4. Try the Pedalling Exercise
This is a simple but effective exercise. Place your baby on her back. Hold her ankles carefully together and gently push one leg at a time towards her tummy. Hold each leg near the tummy for a few seconds. Repeat the pedalling exercise for a few minutes. However, if your baby resists this exercise, stop it immediately.
5. Burp Your Baby
You should always burp your baby after feeding. This helps to relieve gas and prevents the trapping of air in the baby’s belly. After you feed your baby, put her on your shoulder. Supporting her neck and shoulders, gently rub or pat her back till you hear a burp.
6. Use Hing
Hing (asafoetida) relieves flatulence and gas, and aids digestion. It is a popular Indian home remedy for colic in infants. Add a pinch of hing to one teaspoon of water, and boil it. Apply this concoction around your baby’s navel. For babies who have started solid foods, mix some asafoetida in their water or food.
7. Feed a Little Longer on Each Breast
Ensure that your baby feeds longer on each breast rather than alternating between each breast. The hindmilk that comes out after the baby has sucked on a breast for a while is more nutritious than the foremilk that comes out at the beginning. Hindmilk contains more fat, which promotes digestion and soothes the stomach. Too much foremilk can cause digestive distress.
8. Place Her in a Rocking Chair
Rocking the baby in your arms or a rocking chair, and carrying her around in a sling so that you can rock her while standing up can calm and soothe an upset baby.
9. Make a Concoction of Tulsi Leaves
Tulsi (basil) leaves have antispasmodic properties. Therefore, they can help your infant deal with gastrointestinal problems. Add a few basil leaves to water, and bring to a boil. After it cools down, give it to your baby to drink.
10. Use Fennel Seeds
Add a teaspoon of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water. Let it sit for 10 minutes and strain the seeds out. Give this water to your baby.
11. Feed Probiotics
Colic can be caused by gas, a sluggish digestive tract or acid reflux. A particular strain of probiotics called Lactobacillus reuteri has been found to be effective in dealing with colic. It helps to reduce gut inflammation, kills bacteria and inhibits E. coli bacteria that is present more in babies with colic than in babies without colic. Also, many infants with colic get better within 3 weeks. It is better to introduce probiotics after 6 months, as it is not required until the baby is exclusively breastfed. Seek a doctor’s advice in deciding the probiotic to be given to your baby.
12. Try Peppermint
Peppermint has calming and antispasmodic properties. Add a drop of the oil in a teaspoon of baby massage oil and rub it between your palms to warm it up. Then, gently massage the baby’s tummy with the oil.
13. Watch What You Eat
Your diet affects breast milk. So, pay attention to what you eat. Avoid dairy products, foods that contain gluten, citrus fruits, caffeine and spicy foods if your baby suffers from colic.
14. Cut the Chaos
Don’t soothe your baby by talking or singing loudly to her. Create an environment that is calm and quiet.
15. Change the Feeding Bottle
Not changing the feeding bottle may be a cause of colic too. Changing the feeding bottle alters the amount of air that your baby swallows while feeding. This, in turn, affects digestion. So make sure you change your little one’s feeding bottle.
16. Use Gripe Water
100% natural gripe water is known to be effective in treating colic. The water is usually a blend of chamomile, fennel, ginger and lemon balm. While buying the water, make sure it is completely natural and does not contain any preservatives. Also, ask your doctor for preservative-free gripe water recommendations.
17. Change the Formula Milk Brand
If your baby is colicky all the time, changing the formula milk brand may help. Sometimes, the ingredients of a particular formula milk brand may be the cause of colic. If you have started giving formula milk to your baby along with breastfeeding or otherwise, and he suffers from colicky, try changing formula milk.
18. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider helps reduce heartburn and fights yeast infections. Therefore, trying out apple cider might solve your baby’s colic. Apple cider vinegar can be introduced once the baby turns 6 months old. Also, ensure you choose pasteurized and filtered apple cider vinegar for babies. Undiluted form of apple cider vinegar can cause a burning sensation as it has 5% acidity; therefore, diluting it is recommended. You may do so by adding 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 4 oz of water. You may increase the quantity of apple cider vinegar to 1 tablespoon in 4 oz of water for older babies.
19. Mint Tea
Mint provides relief from intestinal cramping; however, it can be given only to babies older than 6 months. Add a teaspoon of mint into a cup of hot water and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, strain it and feed a few teaspoons of this tea to your baby.
20. Ask for Help
Colic is a health condition that does not have any specific cause or treatment. If the situation becomes unmanageable, take the help of your partner or a grandparent.
21. Initiate Tummy Time
Place your baby on her tummy, across your lap. Rubbing the back also helps to pass gas. Remember to initiate tummy time only when your baby is awake but not immediately post-feeding. There should be a gap of 30 minutes minimum between feeding and tummy time.
22. Hold Your Baby Upright After Breastfeeding
If you put your baby to sleep immediately after breastfeeding, the milk may flow back into the oesophagus and cause heartburn. Hold your baby upright to prevent the symptoms of acid reflux.
23. Try Antigas Drops
Antigas drops break up the gas into bubbles and relieve colic. Ask your paediatrician before giving this to your infant.
Colic is not a condition that needs to cause any sort of worry in the parents. The constant crying can be hard to deal with, but it rarely lasts longer than the initial six months. If you feel that the situation is out of control, always seek your doctor’s advice.
Also Read: Home Remedies for Constipation in Babies