MADISON, Wis.— There are no miracle drugs to treat it, but relief for a baby’s colic could be as close as the mother’s front door.
“Babies like to be outside, especially in the evening hours,” says Dr. Jill Mallory, a family-medicine physician who is completing an integrative-medicine fellowship at University of Wisconsin Health. “There are countries of the world where every evening after suppertime, all mothers are outside walking their babies. It’s almost as if they know culturally that this is what keeps babies happy and prevents colic.”
Colic is defined as a baby crying for more than three hours a day, several days a week for at least three weeks.
Another remedy for a baby’s colic may simply be closeness to the mother.
“It often helps if the mother puts the baby into a sling or carrier and keeps the infant close to her body,” says Mallory.
Mallory says while the cause is unknown, some evidence points to abdominal bloating and gas. In those cases, she will recommend probiotics, which are dietary supplements composed of microorganisms that relieve gastrointestinal maladies.
Probiotics can be found in foods such as yogurt, milk and soy beverages, or over the counter in powder or liquid form. Some doctors may recommend chamomile, an herbal tea. However, Mallory does not advocate using medications to curb colic.
“I can’t think of any reason to prescribe drugs for colic,” says Mallory. “It does not mean anything is wrong with your baby. Unless the baby is having pain, fever or stops gaining weight, there is probably no reason to be alarmed. If the baby is just crying and check-ups with your doctor are normal, it’s plain old colic. There are no drugs to cure it, and you should continue to breastfeed your baby.”
Mallory adds that colic usually subsides when the infant reaches three to six months old. By that time, they are more adjusted to breast feeding, sleeping better, and are more adjusted to their new environment.
“Check with your doctor first,” says Mallory. “If it’s colic, I always have to tell moms to wait a few months. Things will get better.”