Last Modified on Feb 26, 2014What is Colic?
Colic is a condition seen in babies where the infant shows signs of distress often and sometimes for quite a long time, but without any noticeable cause. Symptoms of colic: pain, crying, moaning, finicky behavior, and cramping; "Red Flag" symptoms are frequent vomiting, change in stool, unstable temperatures, poor weight gain, and fatigue. Studies have varied and found differing conclusion as to the causes of newborn colic ranging from migraines, stimulant foods affecting breast milk, or even not being breast-fed enough. But we do see our babies suffering, and do anything in our power to soothe any pain they have.
Natural Remedies to Treat Newborn Colic
Few things demand our attention as much as crying babies, and colic certainly is distressing or even confusing to any new or experience parent. Our colic page is still growing, but right now Earth Clinic has received positive reviews of aloe juice, probiotics, yellow onions, fennel, gripe water, and even drinking cold water out of a metal spoon. Have a home remedy for colic that you'd like to share, don't hesitate to share!
[YEA] 02/19/2007: Selena : "I have had two "colicky" babies. I swear by the use of Aloe Vera juice. My daughter cried for 4 months before I stumbled on this and it helped immensely. I kept her on it for over a year. I just added it to her bottles. Now my son is 2 months old. I put him on Aloe Vera after the first two weeks, as he started with the crying in pain, diaper rash (I call it acid burn) etc. He now sleeps through the night and is very happy. I also had him sleep in his carseat so he didn't get the acid/heartburn that occured when lying him down to sleep. The aloe vera juice also helps relieve any constipation that occurs from the formula. Be sure to strain the juice so you don't get little bits plugging up your bottles. I hope this helps out some tired, stressed moms. It was a lifesaver for my family."Replies
08/04/2011: Karen from Cedar Springs, Michigan replies: "your post was very interesting to us.... But you never mentioned how much to give or how often"
Baking Soda, Sugar
11/05/2010: Joy B from Detroit, Michigan: "I'm Trying baking soda and sugar for my 2 1/2 month old daughter who has colic and been crying every night for a week straight ill give you guys my update in the next day or two."
[YEA] 05/27/2007: Nancy from Mt.Airy, NC: "Catnip has long been used by the old mountain people for years to cure colic in babies. I was sceptical until I tried it myself for my sisters colicky baby. The baby had colic for about 3 days with no relief in sight. It was late and no drug stores open so I asked my sister if she would like to give it a try. No one in the house had got any sleep for two consecutive nights, so we were ready to try anything. I had catnip growing wild outside my house, so I went out and broke some leaves off and boiled it to make a tea. Cooled it off and added a little sugar for taste and give it to my little neice and after only taking 2oz from her bottle, she burped so hard it blew my hair back. Seriously. She fell asleep like an angel and slept through the night. Wa lah no more colicky baby. It worked like a miracle. She is grown now with a baby of her own who has been colicky and I made some more tea. Same results and this time you could literally hear gas bubbles breaking in the babies stomach. Heres the way I make it. I use fresh catnip leaves but my neice used dried catnip. Yes the kind you find in the pet supplies. Just put 5 or 6 crushed leaves or 1 tsp. dried in about 3 cups of water and boil it until the water is lightly colored. Cool it off and add a little sugar for taste. I also hear that catnips close cousins, spearmint and peppermint also have the same results. Peppermint has long been regarded as a stomach aid. Try the tea it's wonderful and tasty."
Cold Tap Water, Spoon
[YEA] 08/30/2008: Terri from Prestonsburg, KY: "Colic was cured in my infant by letting her drink cold tap water out of a silver spoon. I did not have a silver spoon so I used a stainless steel spoon. She would cry for hours, it seemed, pulling her leg to her tummy, acting hungry, but refusing to eat. Her stomach was also rock hard. I would turn on the tap water and let it get cold and hold the spoon to her mouth while she was sitting up. She would suck the water out of the spoon and belch, get the hiccups and go to sleep. This remedy worked every time! I was on city water at this time, and would not recommend it for well water. It doesn't matter what size spoon, but I used a teaspoon."
[YEA] 02/26/2014: Pam from Texas: "For infant colic, the one and only thing that works is DIET!!!! Please don't let another baby suffer through the pain and misery of colic. I had two extremely colicky babies. with the first I agonized for four whole months and went delusional (literally) due in part to lack of sleep. My second child began with symptoms at the 2 week mark and progressed to horrible cries each night. I was not going through this again. This time I tried everything!! Swaddling was the first thing I tried and it helped but she would still cry, gripe water didn't work, simethicon drops worked a little then the crying would return, chamomile tea didnt work, colic calm was a $20 joke! In desperation I went on a diet that avoided all possible irritants and allergies. And guess what? Problem solved at 7 weeks! If only I had known!!!
So here's what I avoided: all citrus for starters, all dairy not even a little cheese or yogurt, all soy, all shellfish, peanuts, beans, absolutely no broccoli or cauliflower (learned this the hard way), all caffiene esp coffee and chocolate, all wheat and all corn. It was hard to remember at firstbut I carried a list on my phone and before each meal I would go back to the list and start checking stuff out. My baby was the calmest when I avoided everything then swaddled her at night hint: get the swaddle blanket. For those that think its hard consider your baby!!! Sacrifice just 3 to 4 months of this. By the 4th month they'll start getting better and you can start eating!!! Finally for those who choose formula, try the expensive one from enfa___. It's designed for allergy sufferees. That's the one that worked best when I had no time to feed which was rare. I really hope all mothers out there consider this advice and never let another baby suffer again!!!"Replies
02/26/2014: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa replies: "Dear Pam,
Thanks for sharing your story and good job finding the problem!
I, too, found that diet affected my babies. With most of my children I couldn't consume any dairy for 9-12 months. For some it was only 3 months or so. Nothing else seemed to bother mine. I also found that my child that was the most sensitive to dairy was the child with whom I consumed way too much ice cream when I was pregnant with him. I have heard that over consuming something when pregnant can increase sensitivity in the babies. Happily, all of my children outgrew that sensitivity.
With my last baby, a homemade colic tincture did help him and I didn't have to change my diet. However, I might not have been consuming much dairy by that time since we had goat's milk from our goats. Goats milk never did seem to bother mine, but it isn't always easy to come by.
just thought I would toss in my 2 cents.
~Mama to Many~"
[YEA] 02/10/2014: Shannon from San Antonio, Tx: "I tried everything to cure infant colic. I didn't want to treat it. I wanted to cure it. Probiotics showed no significant improvement in my baby so I finally listened to my mother and changed my diet. Turns out I was eating all the wrong foods. I omitted all cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream or anything wih Lacoste. Also eggs, wheat, soy, beans and cruciferous vegetables. Hard to do but it absolutely worked!!! My baby is almost 5 weeks now and the crying has decreased immensely. Also helps to keep them on a schedule."
[YEA] 08/13/2009: Hacinta from Lake Worth, Fl: "I lived through a colic baby too! What I did learn was to keep the child on a schedule, at least 3 hours before feeding again. The new formula set on the old partialy digested formula and fermented. Hence the distress, for baby and parents! Between feedings give the baby water and plenty of it. This will satisfy any hunger and keep the stomach from becoming upset. That was the best advice I got, and passed it onto a set of new parents who were doing the same, feeding too frequently."Replies
08/29/2009: E.Garvin from Haiku, Hawaii replies: "I'm glad the scheduling method worked for you. That wouldn't have worked for our child because he wanted to feed much more often than every three hours. If we had made him wait then he would have just cried until we fed him, which wouldn't have been a solution to his agony (nor to ours.) Also, the reason our baby was colicky was (my theory anyway) because his digestive system was put out of balance by the antibiotics. Restoring the natural balance to his digestive system was the answer. Putting him on a schedule would have only added hunger pain to his intestinal pain, in our case. However, we breast-fed our baby, so we weren't dealing with the same issues as a formula fed baby.
[YEA] 11/02/2007: Debbi from Avon Park, Florida: "My "baby" is 30 and we made her fennel seed tea for colic. We boiled and let it steeped, added some sugar to it and feed it to her, 4 0z. at a time. Worked great. I was wondering if it was still acceptable now for my grandson? He is 7 wks old and colicy as all get out."
[YEA] 05/04/2006: Sandra from Braxton, MS: "Use a small boiler full of water and put a small amount ( about the size of a 50 cent piece in the palm of your hand) of fennel seed and boil it till it turns a pale yellow. let the baby drink about 2-3 oz every day. it sure worked for my grandson."
[YEA] 01/08/2011: Kellie from Frisco, Tx: "My 3rd child was born in December. My other 2 had what come may call 'colic' from about 3 weeks to 3 months. Kicking feet, crying, hard tummy all at night. When my 3rd child started it at 2 weeks old I read the suggestions on EarthClinic.We went out and bought Gripe Water. It is made from Ginger and Fennel and costs about $9 at Walmart.,It was worth the test since we had been up every night for a week trying to sooth our screaming child.
Shockingly as soon as he swallowed the last of the dose he got quiet and looked at me. Then feel asleep. I thought this was just a coincidence. Now after two weeks, it still works great! Our only challenge is that it is hard to give to a newborn because they are used to sucking, not having something put into their mouth and swallowing. Finally we gave him a nipple from a bottle and once he started to suck on it, we put the Gripe Water into the nipple. Also, at one month of age, we did need to increase the dosage a bit. It is easy to tell when it works because he stops crying less than one minute after receiving the right amount. Thanks everyone for the suggestion! "
[YEA] 08/05/2009: Deloris from Des Moines, Iowa: "My grandaugher screemed almost constantly from the moment we brought her home from the hospital. NOTHING we could do helped her. She was diagnosed with colic, but alas no relief was known, sorry. The situation was so bad I was beginning to question whether my daughter was going to have a breakdown. The fathers answer to the problem was to shut the door to the nursery and let her screem herself to sleep. One desperate day I called my health food store to ask if there was anything they could recommend. She said "yes" customers have had much luck with a product called "gripe water". I nearly ran (Im 79) to the store and purchased one she recommended. I drove to my daughters and we gave it to her in her formula. Almost instantly she stopped crying. She ate, she went to sleep and we all stood around in amazement. I went with my daughter to her 1st check up for the baby. She told the Dr how she was treating the colic because she wanted to know what his thoughts were about using gripe water. His reply almost got him aquainted with the toe of my boot. "Oh yes, many of my parents use gripe water, the only side effect is most of the babies grow up loving licorice." I wanted to slap him into oblivion. HE KNEW OF THIS TREATMENT, BUT OFFERED NOTHING, MOST LIKELY BECAUSE THERE WASN'T A PRESCRIPTION TO BE SOLD'. I think the fennel tea that others have been writing about is the same thing."
EC: More about Gripe Water on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gripe_water
[YEA] 01/16/2010: Katherine from Atlanta, Ga replies: "Gripe Water has worked for us each and every time!"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 08/09/2012: Emily from Miami, Florida: "I bought probiotic drops, which contain Lactobacillus reuteri, and it was the only thing I found to work for my colicy, preterm daughter. It helped within a few days to alleviate her gas. While it didn't eradicate the colic completely, it did help profoundly. It also helped clear up diarrhea from a milk allergy. I am now using it again on my new preemie baby to help with her gas. I HIGHLY recommend despite the high price tag. It's worth it!"
[YEA] 08/08/2012: John M. from Minniapolis, Mn: "After spending two months with an infant who started screaming like clockwork every evening, our pediatrician gave us the recommendation to try L. Reuteri drops. I can't say enough good things about them. From the first day we started using them, my son's entire attitude changed. Now he is a happy smiling 4 month old who takes them every morning and hasn't had a single episode since."
[YEA] 08/13/2009: E.garvin from Haiku, Hi: "To all the parents out there with colicky babies, I know what you are going through and you have my deepest sympathies. No one can fully understand what you are going through unless they have experienced it in one of their own children... Just remember that even good parents get extremely frustrated in this situation. Learn to step away from the baby if you are going to lose it, and come back when you are calmer. I used to fantasize about throwing my beautiful son out the window when he would not stop shrieking his incredibly loud, grating, piercing shriek throughout the day. Luckily the colic will end one day and your child will be a sweet, happy, thoughtful and caring little angel.
Okay, now I'll tell you what worked for us: Lactobaccilus Reuteri. L. Reuteri is a strain of bacteria that is found naturally in the intestines of healthy mammals, and it is now being recognized as a powerful medicine in fighting colic. In clinical studies it has been shown to have a 95% effectiveness rating in helping colicky babies. I heard about if from a friend of a friend. Evidently it helped her colicky baby, when nothing else would. We were willing to try anything, having already tried gripe water, homeopathics, and everything else that everyone told us to do (don't you get a TON of advice?!) We were also trying an infant-formula acidophilus blend, but none of that stuff did anything to help our boy. So, after hearing about L. Reuteri, we located it at a local health food store, and gave it to our son. From what I had read, improvement was supposed to be evident in a week, but we saw improvement within days. Within a couple of days I noticed he was no longer doing his usual inconsolable writhing and screaming with rock-hard abdominal muscles. He still cried plenty. Infants cry a lot, but his crying changed, he was no longer in agony and it showed. Where before he was either asleep, feeding, or shrieking, now he was spending plenty of time awake and content, looking wide-eyed at the world around him. He became a normal baby, the colic was gone, and my wife and I stopped hating each other all the time!
My theory is that the antibiotics my child recieved at birth disrupted the balance of his intestinal flora. Evidently the infant blend of acidophilus just didn't have the strain that he needed. L. Reuteri turned out to be the right thing.
I'm making a special effort to post this for all the parents who are suffering that special agony of having a colicky baby. Please, for your sake and for your child's sake, try L. Reuteri. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. I really hope it works for you. If it doesn't, hang in there! The colic will end sooner or later. Good luck to you all!!!
with love and sympathy,
[YEA] 11/20/2007: Tricia from Cambridge, Massachusetts: "I tried out the yellow onion remedy for colic. It works, I recommend this remedy to anyone with a baby suffering from colic."