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3 Natural Remedies to Soothe a Colicky Baby
Chronic crying, or colic, is more common in newborns than people might think, and can be very challenging for parents to treat. The reason for colic in babies can be hard to identify, according to Web MD, although physicians state that some of the leading causes include gas, acid reflux or allergic reactions to dairy. More serious causes include medical conditions or illnesses, such as an ear infection. Once a parent has eliminated one of the above mentioned causes, he or she may want to consider using natural approaches or supplements to treat the colic. Some of the following all-natural approaches offer healthy alternatives to pharmaceutical medications when soothing a colicky baby.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Physical Calming Techniques
According to doctors at Web MD, physical calming techniques can be very successful at settling a baby that will not stop crying. Swaddling (wrapping a baby snuggly in a blanket) is a true and tried method of comforting babies and helping them to sleep for longer periods of times. Be sure not to cover a baby’s face with a blanket when swaddling. Babies are also comforted by movement, so wearing a baby carrier that is strapped around the parent’s chest, using an infant swing or giving your baby a ride in a stroller or car may be calming. Experts at Web MD note that you should be sure not to drive when you are sleepy. White noise machines, classical music or a "heartbeat tape" placed next to the crib can also help babies fall and stay asleep longer.
Herbal supplements can temporarily calm infants who are otherwise inconsolable. Over-the-counter teething tablets that can be purchased at local drug stores have safe, low-dosage formulas of herbs that can be given to babies by mouth per the bottle’s instructions. Calming herbal tea such as chamomile, fennel or lemon balm can be added to formula to calm a crying baby, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Herbs that may also help calm a baby include linden (Tilia cordata), catnip (Nepeta cataria), peppermint (Mentha piperita), and dill (Anethum graveolens), although experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center state clearly that parents should check with their pediatricians before using any of these supplements.
Probiotics such as lactobacillus reuteri are often effective in treating colic that is caused by stomach discomfort, according to Dr. Sears, a pediatrician and expert on infant care. “We use lactobacillus GG for most intestinal upsets,” Dr. Sears told Parenting magazine. “Probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal health by feeding the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, boosting immunity and enhancing digestion.” Klaire Labs Thera-Biotic Infant Formula and Ultimate Flora FloraBaby are two high quality, clinically-studied formulas of infant probotics.
Other Natural Approaches
Dr. Sears recommends being very careful if using homeopathy on newborns to treat colic because the side effects on infants are unknown. He encourages parents to first find the cause of the colic. If colic is attributed to physical discomfort, food allergies or a medical condition, it is important to treat the child’s health condition. Use natural remedies once other causes have been ruled out.
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