Home Remedies for Colic

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When it comes to caring for a bundle of joy, you already knew that crying was part of the package deal of parenting – until that is…you notice that nothing seems to comfort your little one. If it seems that your baby soars into a crying fit around the same time each day despite any attempts to relieve his or her discomfort – you may have an infant with colic. There’s no need to worry, plenty of home remedies have helped rescue the sanity of parents with colicky babies.


What is Colic?

Baby colic (also referred to as infant colic, three-month colic, and infantile colic) is a condition that generally emerges within the first three weeks of life [1]. In most babies, the condition fades before the child reaches three to four months old. Parents are often alarmed by colic because it sends healthy babies into crying and screaming fits that last for lengthy periods of time. Unable to uncover the reason behind their tears, parents are sent into a panic. While some babies enter a colic episode that lasts a couple of minutes, others cry for three hours or more.

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Causes and Symptoms

The exact cause of colic is unknown, as research has touched upon a multitude of possibilities with no concrete conclusion. Doctors have suspected underdeveloped digestive systems and lactose intolerance to allergies and feeding methods. However, no one can say why some babies battle colic while others are lucky enough to skip this uncomfortable introduction to the world outside of the womb.

Parents sometimes have a hard time distinguishing a fussy baby from one that has colic. A healthy, well-fed infant with colic may experience [2]:

  • Predictable crying fits: Same time, every day – often times in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Bowel movement or passes gas: Usually occurs near the end of a crying fit.
  • Flushed skin: Since colic crying is intense, your baby may turn red in the face.
  • Physical responses: Clenched fists, curled up legs, and tense stomach muscles.

Colic Home Remedies

Colic has the potential to affect up to 25% of all newborns and can cause a great deal of stress for both parents and babies. However, the condition is not permanent – simply a nuisance for a couple of months. When looking for relief through these difficult times, consider the following home remedies that could make life much easier:

a) Create a Distraction:

For some children, the low-level humming of some appliances, such as dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, can help calm colic symptoms. Sounds funny, but resting your baby on top of the spin cycle of your washer is also comforting.

b) Cuddle Time:

Hold your baby closely to you, preferably swaddled in a lightweight blanket. When you need to have your arms free, use a baby sling or carrier.

c) Infant Swing:

The rocking motion of an infant swing can calm a colicky baby. The same motion can be achieved by settling into a rocking chair with your little one.

d) Sing:

Don’t worry if you weren’t born with the voice of an angel, as a simple soft tune can soothe your baby. Recorded music also has the same effect as a lullaby.

e) Warm Bath:

Delivering gentle heat or the warmth of your touch to your baby can settle his or her discomfort. Consider a warm bath accompanied by a soft massage to the stomach region.

f) Your Diet:

Sometimes, breastfeeding mothers can reduce colic symptoms in their babies by changing what they eat. Cut down on drinks that contain caffeine. Decrease the amount of spicy foods that you consume. Avoid the acid found in citrus fruits. Limit your intake of dairy products.

g) Ginger:

Mix ¼ level teaspoon of powdered ginger with ½ cup of water and give to an infant over the age of six months for about one to two times per day [3].

h) Fish Tank:

Invest in a fish tank for your colicky child, as the sound of bubbles released from an aquarium filter can help put them at ease.

i) Pacifier:

Anything that soothes your baby can ease the discomfort of colic. Offer a pacifier to encourage sucking, which often helps to calm a baby down.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_colic
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colic/DS00058/DSECTION=symptoms
[3] The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier; pg 318.