by Kari Kassir, M.D.*
Q. My baby has colic. I’ve tried everything my doctor suggested, but it’s not working. Do you have any tips?
A. Several home remedies may help with colic, above and beyond the usual calming strategies.
- Gripe water is an old-fashioned remedy that contains certain herbs and usually sodium bicarbonate. Though its effectiveness is controversial, using it should be safe, with a physician’s knowledge and approval. However, overuse can disrupt the blood’s pH balance, which may have negative consequences.
- Positioning the baby tummy-down across your lap can be soothing, as long as you pay attention to the baby’s ability to breathe.
- Draping your child tummy-down along your forearm while carefully supporting the head can also be soothing, especially if you gently and slowly rotate at your waist. The infant’s safety is of paramount importance, however, so frustrated, sleep-deprived parents at their wit’s end shouldn’t attempt this maneuver.
Because of the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, never place a baby in the crib stomach-down.
Interestingly, bouncing the baby gently up and down may actually make things worse.
Sometimes, regardless of what you try, the baby continues to cry. It’s OK to place your child in the crib (on his or her back) and step out of the room for a few minutes. And it’s OK to use responsible, trustworthy family members and friends as babysitters to take a much needed break.
Most importantly, if you feel that you may hurt your baby, put your child in the crib, step away, and contact someone to help you out.
What home remedies for colic have worked for you?
Since this article was written, there have been a few studies showing promise with probiotics, such as lactobacillus, in treating colic, though there are mixed results. As always, consult with your doctor before starting.
—James Hubbard, MD, MPH, The Survival Doctor
*Occasionally, I update and share an article with you from my previous magazine, My Family Doctor, that could be helpful in survival situations. This one was written by Kari Kassir, who was a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric critical-care physician, at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Mission Viejo, Calif.