Ah the joys of having a newborn with colic! Crying, colicky, cranky, cantankerous, complaining critters! (can you tell that my kids are studying alliteration in school at the moment?). Colic is, by far, the most talked about baby ailment out there and one that drives poor newbie parents practically insane. Actually, it probably drives not-so-newbie parents insane as well.
What is it?
Merriam-Webster defines infant colic rather unhelpfully as "a physical condition in which a baby is very uncomfortable and cries for long periods of time". Gee, thanks. That's very useful information. Add to that the equally unhelpful input from pediatricians saying that the cause is "unknown" and you've got very frustrated parents & an even more frustrated baby on your hands
What can I do about it?
Fear not, newbie & non-newbie parents for there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel! Here are some tips for helping you & baby get through those seemingly endless periods of continued crying (I'm overdoing the alliteration):
#1 (and my most favourite) Catnip & Fennel Extract
This was a lifesaver for me when baby K was born. Even though he thankfully didn't cry for very long periods of time, he did give us a hard time before sleeping and was very difficult to calm down at bedtime. Just a drop of this wonderful extract in some water/breast milk/formula and he would stop crying instantly and nap for longer periods of time. Catnip, a herb, is known for its calming properties as well for promoting digestion and relaxation so it's a perfect remedy to have on hand for a baby. Fennel, which I've mentioned in previous posts, is also a wonderful carminative and helps expel gas. You can take the extract yourself if you are hesitant to give to baby although in my experience, colicky periods were, for me, the one exception to the exclusive breastfeeding rule.
# 2 I Love You Massage
Promoted by Dr.Sears, this neat little trick also helps babies expel gas (& poop, so beware!) and can help relax their tummies. The premise is basically outlining the letters I, L & U (get it?!) on baby's stomach in a clockwise direction. Warm up a little bit of olive/almond oil and for an extra oomph, add in a drop of lavender essential oil in between your hands and start below the navel right above the diaper. Trace the letter I upwards from below the navel and then again, but this time moving across the top of the baby's tummy after to form a letter L. Lastly, you trace an upside down U, starting again from below the navel going up to the top of the tummy and coming back down again. Do this a few times and be amazed at the explosion that follows!
Homeopathy can be tricky because remedy selection is key and with babies, it's often hard to discern one symptom from another. However, find the right remedy and the results are fantastically quick! Here are a few of the more common colic remedies but it's always best to buy yourself a Homeopathic Materia Medica/Repertory and look up all your child's symptoms to identify the right remedy. I always give my kids their remedies in water and if after a couple of doses there is no difference, then select another remedy.
- Chamomilla - keynotes are anger/throwing things, one cheek red & the other pale, unbearable pain, grass green stool and better when carried but only temporarily.
- Colocynthis - baby is doubled over with pain and draws legs up. Firm pressure on the stomach helps as does passing a stool.
- Dioscorea - this is the opposite of Colocynthis since babies who need this remedy arch back like a banana with the pain. They are better upright and from stretching out.