It’s been over 20 years ago, but I distinctly remember how I stressed over all three of our colicky babies. How helpless I felt and with our twins both being colicky babies at once. Was it me, I wondered? Was I a bad or clueless mother?
I wanted to make their discomfort go away, but nothing I tried worked! I changed everything I was eating, even going to a soy formula for a time until I figured out that wasn’t good. I was as miserable as they were, I think. Normally, I had the help of my husband in the evenings, but several times during the day, I had to put one or both down and
walk run out of the room.
right before the colic started with our firstborn
What I would have given to have known about some of the tried and true old-fashioned herbal remedies for my colicky babies back in my young Mommie days.
It is estimated that 40% of all infants have colic. I learned as a nurse that it could last until the 4th month. Ours lasted until the 6th month! If your baby seems to be unusually fussy or in obvious pain, run through a mental checklist to see if she has a dirty diaper, is hungry, or is hot, cold, or simply in need of sleep.
Once you’ve ruled out those things, go outside if at all possible and enjoy the wind, birds, colors, and sun flickering through the leaves of the trees. Walk briskly. It is good for both of you to have a bit of fresh air. If that is not possible, you can always try the white noise from a fan or sit holding your babe on a big, bouncy workout ball! Sticking in there with your baby during these difficult times builds trust and deepens the bonds between you two.
There are many suggestions out there when it comes to relieving colicky babies: giving a massage, swaddling, and bicycling the legs (my favorite way with bottom higher than the tummy), to name a few. If the cause of the distress is from abdominal gas that prevents your baby from getting much needed sleep, there is wonderful help for tired parents from the world of herbs. Two specific herbs may make you forget you ever needed a colicky baby repertoire.
Fennel Seed tea is a safe, mild, and natural herbal remedy. I know many who have used it with success, but each baby is different.
Fennel is known to relax the intestinal tract and relieve gas. It is also acts as a mild laxative. These benefits make it a wonderful choice for babies that are generally fussy or gassy.
Making fennel tea is quite simple; just add 1 teaspoon of fennel seed to 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Strain. You can also crush the seeds to lessen the steeping time by 10 minutes or so. Make sure your seed is organic and not from a sprayed source.
Another herb that works well in conjunction with Fennel Seed is Catnip. Mothers have been using a tea of Fennel and Catnip for generations to stop colic in babies and to help with sleep! The two herbs together can bring comprehensive relief.
Owing to its gentle nature, Catnip Herb is highly prized in the treatment of infants and children’s ailments. Catnip helps them to sleep better, settles the stomach, and is calming and soothing to the nerves. You may want to drink some, too, during a colicky spell.
It is also very helpful for adults with insomnia or whose mind races at night; in our family we’ve used catnip tea right before bed to promote a peaceful sleep after a stressful day. Catnip tea can help soothe menstrual cramps and help with premenstrual tension (PMS).
While herbal remedies are not regulated by the FDA, is is always recommended that you check with your baby’s pediatrician before using any herbal remedies to help your baby’s condition.
Directions: Catnip-Fennel Tea For Colicky Babies
Let it steep for 15 – 20 minutes.
Drinking this brew 20-30 minutes before nursing passes the benefits on to the baby (an added benefit is that fennel also promotes lactation). A dropper-full (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) may be added to a bottle of breastmilk, formula, or water and given to the baby.
One other tip for colicky babies: Burping your baby right after nursing helps reduce the chance of trapped gas. Besides, there is something settling and calming to taking that time with your little one, making for a calmer baby. Be sure your little one has burped before moving on to something else.
And finally, please understand that YOU are NOT causing it; your infant having colic doesn’t make you a bad mother. Please cut yourself some slack! Call your mom or an understanding friend; actively seek a support network for a little time away or a nap for yourself. Cheer up, dear Mama, this too shall pass!
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Disclaimer: I am no longer a practicing professional, and I am not doctor. I am a mother. I do seek scientific confirmation of the safety and effectiveness of the herbs and remedies I use. Using remedies is a personal decision. Nothing I say on this blog is intended to treat or prevent disease. Consult your own doctor.
Thanks for reading!