Colic: Easy home cures to ease the pain
When your child has colic, what can you do to treat your child at home and when should you ask for help? Helen Foster finds out
Of course it's a worry if your baby is sick, but when it comes to minor ailments a little knowledge can go a long way to a calmer baby – and a calmer you. So who better to ask for advice than top children's health experts, who give their mum-friendly remedies for tackling colic.
All babies cry – but babies with colic cry a lot! Normally occurring between about two to six weeks old, crying fits can last for a few hours and tend to be worse in the evenings. Exactly what causes the condition – and what will soothe it – can vary from baby to baby, but the most common remedy is gripe water, available from chemists. If that doesn't work, try these ideas.
Wiggle their legs
Babies with colic will often draw their legs up towards their chest and, according to osteopath Kay Tomlinson from Surrey Physio, helping them to make this movement may release the gas that could be causing them pain. Her recommendation? Hold their feet and then gently bend one knee at a time towards their chest.'
Try a baby probiotic
'They help build up healthy bacteria in the gut which might reduce the formation of wind,' says Kay. In an Australian study, some breastfed babies with colic who were given the probiotic called lactobacillus reuteri did cry less – but it didn't work so well in formula-fed babies.
Try Bio Gaia probiotic drops
Look for patterns in your diet
'Sometimes it's something a breastfeeding mum is eating that triggers colic,' says London GP and Gurgle expert Dr Peter Ilves. 'One of the most common offenders is broccoli, which just seems to upset some babies.' Have a look at your diet and see if any foods correlate with the colic; if there is, try excluding them.
Turn their head
While most mums think colic originates in the gut, Kay says she also sees babies who have tension in other areas. 'Often mums will notice that their baby prefers looking to one side, and that can indicate there's a little tension in the neck. If you can encourage them to look the other way by attracting their attention from that side, it can stretch the area.' Kay also suggests giving a dummy. 'Sucking it helps release tension in the cranial bones which can also cause a baby to cry,' she tells us.
When to see a doctor
If they simply won't stop crying. If it is just colic, your doctor may prescribe antispasmodic remedies that settle the gut, says Dr Ilves. But there might be an underlying problem such as a hernia causing the issue.