Natural Treatments to Calm Infant Colic
Colic is unsettling for both infant and mother alike. It is most common in newborns during the first two weeks of life and tends to disappear when the baby is three to four months of age. Though it is more common for bottle-fed babies to get colic, breast-fed newborns can also be stricken with this malady. If your newborn is suffering with colic and you’re suffering from lack of sleep, learn how to cure baby’s colic tonight using natural treatments.
Homemade Gripe Water
Gripe water is a great natural remedy for infant colic. It is made from a combination of herbs that are naturally designed to ease digestive distress. Common herbs used are: dill seed, fennel seed, cinnamon bark, ginger, chamomile, peppermint and lemon balm. These herbs can be used in various combinations and not all the herbs have to be used for it to be effective. Here is one recipe for homemade gripe water:
3 cups water
1 teaspoon crushed dill or fennel seeds
2 teaspoons chamomile
½ teaspoon of peppermint
2 teaspoons of ginger
2 teaspoons of sugar
Both dill and fennel are excellent natural digestive aids that stimulate appetite, dispel gas and settle the stomach. Chamomile is a natural calming agent while peppermint and ginger are both effective herbal stomach-soothers.
Step 1: Crush the dill or fennel seeds. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, place the seeds into a sealable plastic baggie and crush with a rolling pin.
Step 2: Place all of the ingredients into a tin tea ball or muslin cloth. If using a muslin cloth, be sure to tie it off with string to avoid herbs leaking into the pan.
Step 3: Put 3 cups water in a small saucepan, add the tea ball or muslin cloth and bring to a boil on high heat.
Step 4: Boil for 2 minutes. Then, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Step 5: Remove from heat. Remove tea ball or muslin cloth.
Step 6: Stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Step 7: Place in glass jar with a tight lid and allow to cool to room temperature.
Give 5-10ml as needed before feedings. Do not exceed 7 times per day. Remember, the above recipe is just one idea. Experiment with the herbs until you’ve found the right combination for your baby.
Important Note: Each batch can only be used during a 24-hour period so it is important to brew a new batch each day.
Busy mothers may find it more convenient to use a pre-prepared gripe water such as Colic Calm.
Breast-fed babies might have an intolerance to lactose products and if mom is eating dairy, this could cause infant colic. Try eliminating dairy from mother’s diet to see if this improves the situation. If baby is bottle-fed, try switching formulas to see if this does the trick.
According to The Journal of Pediatrics, infants suffering from colic may find relief from the probiotic strain, lactobacillus reuteri. Probiotics are the good bacteria found naturally in yogurt, kefir and fermented soy. They help ease digestion, sooth the inflammatory response and improve immune system health.
Probiotics also help prevent the occurrence of food allergies, eczema and prevent more serious intestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
Mothers who breast-feed would benefit both themselves and their babies by taking a good, quality probiotic each day. Be sure to choose a brand that is either shelf-stable or requires refrigeration for maximum good bacteria colonization. Also, it is important to choose a brand that has no preservatives, allergens or other artificial ingredients that may negatively affect your health and that of the newborn.
Mothers who are bottle-feeding should purchase a natural probiotic designed for babies and include it in baby’s bottle during feedings.
Aromatherapy Bath and Massage
Lavender is an essential oil that is naturally calming and safe to use. Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to baby’s bath can help soothe infant’s nerves and help calm distress. Take care not to get the lavender oil directly on baby’s skin. Instead, add one to two drops into bathwater before adding baby. Follow up with a gentle tummy massage to help dispel trapped gas. See this informative video on massage techniques for infant colic for more ideas.
Slow Flow Nipples
For mothers who bottle-feed their babies, both mother and child may benefit from using slow flow nipples designed to release formula more slowly. Colic can sometimes be caused by trapped gas and a slow flow nipple can prevent excess air from being swallowed during feedings.
When baby is in the womb, he or she is used to hearing the steady thrumming of his or her mother’s heartbeat. Colicky babies often miss this familiar sound and become fussy. Using a white noise machine, CD or fan in baby’s room may help soothe and comfort an infant with colic.
Important Note: When using a fan, take care to turn it in the opposite direction of crib so baby does not catch a draft.
Newborn babies often miss the comforting feeling of being cradled snugly in the womb. Swaddling colicky baby in a warm receiving blanket may help quiet the fussing and ease the child off to sleep. Check out this easy video for swaddling your baby for instructions.
If your baby has colic, these steps should help cure colic and help both of you get the rest you both need.
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