Colic is usually defined as persistent crying (lasting for more than three hours for more than three days per week), thought to be caused by digestive discomfort. It is relatively common in both breastfed and formula fed babies, and does not typically result in long term problems. However, if parents are concerned it is advisable to seek medical help to rule out other possible causes. It does not usually persist beyond six months of age.
Colic can be distressing and exhausting for the whole family. However, there are homeopathic remedies which are safe and effective. The remedy choice is based on close observation of the way your infant experiences the colic, and some of the typical remedies are listed below. Choose the remedy that most closely matches your baby’s symptoms, and give in either a 12c or 30c potency. The remedy can be dissolved in a little plain water or expressed breastmilk, and dosed via syringe or teaspoon. Give a dose every 30 minutes until relief is obtained, then stop. Recommence dose upon return of symptoms. If the first choice remedy does not help after 3-4 doses, reconsider remedy choice and try again, or contact me here for further advice. There are many other possible remedies that may be needed, depending on the whole picture of the symptoms and your baby’s overall state of health – professional treatment is advisable if the self-administered remedies do not provide relief quickly.
Nux vomica is needed when the colic is characteristically crampy, and in this case he arches his back frequently, and screams. He is typically angry and irritable with the colic, and very tense and sensitive, starting easily and jumping from the slightest noise, for example. In breastfed babies, it may come on if mum eats rich or spicy food, or drinks coffee. Most typically symptoms are worse in the morning.
Chamomilla is another remedy for typically crampy colic, and in this case she screams from the pain and cannot be comforted, unless carried upright and rocked constantly. The pain makes her angry, wanting this or that but throwing things when they are offered. A Chamomilla type of colic is often associated with teething, and may in turn be accompanied by loose greenish stools.
Colocynthis is a typical and frequently prescribed remedy for colic. A Colocynthis type of colic is one where he draws his legs up spasmodically during the pain, which may be sudden and intense. Firm pressure on the abdomen seems to help – these are the babies who calm and relax when hanging over a parent’s arm. The symptoms tend to be worse 4-5pm.
Lycopodium is a major remedy for digestive symptoms in general, and in baby colic it will be needed when there is a lot of wind. She has a distended belly and passes wind frequently. The abdomen is also very sensitive to pressure in this case, and she feels better if nappies and clothing are kept loose. Symptoms are typically worse 4-8pm.
Dioscorea is a remedy which is is needed in colic which is relieved by arching the back. He will arch his back or stretch out frequently during the colic, and this seems to relieve the pain (the opposite response to Colocynthis). He does not want to lie down, and prefers to be carried upright. Babies needing Dioscorea will tend to be very windy, with a lot of audible rumbling in the abdomen. Symptoms are often at their worst in the morning.
Other practical measures are worth trying too. Baby massage can be really helpful and soothing for parent and baby. Gentle clockwise strokes on the abdomen, and also gently lifting the feet and knees towards the chest can be helpful. I recommend baby massage classes for this, so you can be sure your technique is right, and they are great for mutual support.
Try putting a warm towel on baby’s belly, or putting a spoonful of Epsom salts in the bath. You could also look into tissue salts, which are low potency homeopathic remedies available from pharmacies. Those to look at for baby colic are Mag phos, Nat phos or Nat sulph, depending on the symptom picture. Follow dosage instructions on the label.
Homeopathy is really safe and effective for all kinds of children’s ailments, including colic, teething difficulties, eczema, respiratory conditions such as bronchiolitis, ear infections and tonsillitis. Get in touch with me to discuss how I can help you and your family.