Colic Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t
The lowdown on common colic treatments from gripe water to infant massage
When infant colic strikes, there’s no shortage of advice and remedies for soothing a fussy, crying newborn. But which treatments are safe — and effective? According to an American Academy of Pediatrics review of nutritional supplements and traditional remedies, the use of fennel extract (found in most “gripe water” formulas), herbal tea (with chamomile, licorice, fennel, and balm mint), or a sugar solution appear most likely to relieve symptoms of colic, thought results may vary among children.
What doesn’t work? The effectiveness of some alternative remedies, such as probiotic supplements and infant massage, appear questionable. But before making any official recommendations (and before parents start stockpiling gripe water), the AAP plans to conduct more research on all colic remedies.
Your newborn has been crying for hours. She’s been fed and changed, but nothing will soothe her. What’s a sleep-deprived, frantic parent to do? While that AAP’s review only covers a handful of remedies, there are plenty of colic cures, including the most time-tested treatment of all: swaddling!
The next time your little one turns up the crankiness, wrap your baby snugly in a receiving blanket. So the theory goes, babies were packed tightly in the womb for months, unable to move an uncontrollable arm or flailing leg, and they liked it that way. Once you’ve mastered the “burrito” wrap, turn on some radio static for white noise (thought to replicate sounds in the womb) and gently rock your baby into—hopefully—a state of pre-birth bliss.
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