Natural Remedies for Colic in Infants

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on


baby with colic

Colic is a frustrating and exhausting condition for both infants and parents. The time spent raising a colicky child is fraught with sleepless nights and nearly endless screaming. You may think it will never end, but here are some colic remedies that may help.

The exact causes of colic in infants is controversial and the condition is thought to be aggravated by a variety of things, including:

  • Food allergies (especially to dairy and soy formulas)
  • Underdeveloped gastrointestinal tract
  • Emotional stress
  • General fussiness
  • Vaccinations

The best way to figure out if your child’s discomfort is caused by a food allergy is to use an elimination diet.

If the baby is switching to solid food for the first time this can be rather simple, if you are breastfeeding it may take some more effort. In order to use the elimination diet you have to remove all dairy and wheat products, some vegetables (legumes) and fruits, and all sugars. Once you have removed all of these foods for 30 days you can slowly start adding foods back in to see if the symptoms come back.

Of course if you believe that the colic is being caused by an inability to digest lactose or other particular group, then the obvious solution is to reduce your infant’s intake of foods in that group (or yours, if you are breastfeeding). The elimination diet is inconvenient and can be expensive, if you end up throwing out 90% of your pantry, but it is the most effective way of eliminating discomfort that comes from a food allergy. Luckily, this is only one of many colic remedies you can try for your infant or toddler.

Infants that display symptoms of colic often have difficulties feeding, including painful reflux and lack of “zest” for feeding (PubMed PDF) [1]. While the exact cause of colic in any case is likely specific to the child in question, the tried and true ways to calm the symptoms are the same. Comforting your child by bouncing, holding, cuddling and reducing your own stress levels can reduce the symptoms of colic because the baby can sense your tension and will respond to it.

Relieving Colic With Massage and Aromatherapy

If your child’s discomfort is followed by a bowel movement, then help your child process the stool when he starts to get uncomfortable. Lay your baby flat on their back on a firm but soft surface and begin to slowly and gently massage the belly in a clockwise circular motion. Before you do this make sure that your hands are warm and soft by rubbing some organic olive oil quickly between your palms.

For extra comfort use a calming aromatherapy oil such as chamomile and lavender (5 drops of chamomile combined with 10 drops of lavender). You can also try acupressure, which targets particular parts of the body to receive pressure. Gently pulling or tugging the earlobes is said to help relieve infant colic, or you can look for professional accupressurists in your area and find out if they treat infants.

Note that this is different from acupuncture, which uses needles to treat conditions. Another great solution is to find a pediatric chiropractor who can gently adjust your baby’s bones.

There are also other natural ways of controlling colic. Calm and comfort your child by adding 1 drop of lavender and chamomile oil to a humidifier in the child’s room.

Relieving colic with gripe water

ColicCalm gripe water is a homeopathic remedy containing herbs that help re-balance baby’s digestive system. ColicCalm is the first homeopathic treatment for infant colic, which is important because it does not introduce chemicals or parasites into your baby’s body like some non-homeopathic gripe water can. This is what I use when my children complain of stomach cramps. The herbs in ColicCalm gripe water are

  • Chamomile which calms the baby down and helps ease nervous tension
  • Fennel to relieve cramping and intestinal spasms
  • Caraway to help treat symptoms like heartburn, reflux and indigestion
  • Peppermint to aid in digestion
  • Ginger which treats nausea, muscle spasms and encourages smooth digestion
  • Aloe to relieve bloating related to gas
  • Lemon Balm which soothes, relaxes, encourages sleep and helps relieve gas pains
  • Blackthorn to encourage regularity and ease cramps
  • Vegetable Charcoal to help eliminate body toxins and absorb gas

Addressing Colic with Probiotics

Probiotics may also be an option for relieving colic in infants. The composition of gut flora in babies that exhibit colicky symptoms is different than in non-colicky babies. Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics, which kill bacteria.

Probiotics actually add beneficial bacteria back into the digestive system and can help return the digestive system to a normal state. I personally use a probiotic supplement called Latero-Flora. As a colic remedy, just empty a small amount into a bowl, mix it with breastmilk and use a dropper to administer it.

The famous American born psychic and holistic health guru Edgar Cayce gave “readings” for people with varying ailments, including 23 for infants with colic. Cayce’s answer was basically that the internal systems were out of sync, which is why probiotics are an effective way of treating colic.

References:

  1. Miller-Loncar C, Bigsby R, High P, Wallach M, Lester B. Infant colic and feeding difficulties. Arch Dis Child. 2004 Oct;89(10):908-12.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • http://theboldlife.com Tess The Bold Life

    I sure wish my brother had this when my niece Suzie was a baby. It’s so frustrating and even makes bonding difficult for mothers. This is a needed article.

  • Rin

    These are great colic remedies! My sisters son is having trouble with colic. I will have to send her a link to this list. Thanks!

  • natrummur

    My daughter has celiac disease. She’s 10 years old now and we discovered 2 years ago. When she was a baby she cried during all the afternoon and most of the night until she was 4 months old. I’ve recently asked me if celiac disease was the cause of her crying.
    Now I’ve got the answer! Probably the gluten I ate was passing through my breast milk and made her stomach aches!

  • Julia Edwards

    I am an aromatherapist. Slightly shocked to see the advice to use 5 drops of essential oil of Chamomile (nb ROMAN chamomile) with 10 drops of lavender, did not add that essential oils should NEVER be applied to the skin of young children in concentrations greater than 4 drops essential oil to 20ml base oil, such as almond oil. Essential oils are very strong and all different and they should ALWAYS be diluted in a base oil before being applied to the skin. Even in adults, the recommended ratio is 8 drops eo to 20ml base oil.

  • Caroline

    Great list of remedies for colic! My sister is currently having a really hard time with my niece. She never stops crying. They’ve gone to a few doctors, specialists and nobody has been able to tell her anything specific to do. I will have to send her a link to this and tell her to check it out.

  • jhon

    it is very exausting for parent if their baby get colic. Thanks for your sharing.

  • xandra

    Great information regarding colic. Hope parents are more aware on how they can relieve colic sickness on their babies.

  • gina

    I used chamomile tea for my kids…also the drug store has over the counter little tabs for infants. Thanks for lookin

  • Kay

    Thanks for this.

  • Amore

    Tummy Relief is the best for Colicky baby it’s a good price and your baby will love it. You can order it on Ebay and Amazon, also you can buy it in Aliston pharmacy in New York and Philadelphia. Also coming soon in Walgreens pharmacy.

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  • Jiji818

    My son is so colicky! I have tried several alternatives already including many listed above. What I found worked best was a combination of a Zipadee-Zip sleeping suit, a white noise background music, and rubbing some lavendar essential oil on his chest. This really soothed my son!

  • Cindy

    My pediatrician prescribed Babies’ Magic Tea for my colicky baby and to our surprise the crying and fussiness stopped from the first use
    Now we use it the magic tea every night because it helps our LO sleep through the night

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