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Colic: from crying to calm, the natural way

By Carolyn Howgego, BS (Hons), BA (Hons), LCHE

By way of introduction, Sam and I have known Carolyn for over 25 years and we are delighted that she wants to share her thoughts on alternatives to some of the over the counter solutions to the array of common conditions we have all had to face at those worrying and challenging times during our Children's earliest years.

This blog is the first in a series of articles which offers alternatives to "Modern Medicine". We hope you enjoy them. Regards, Lawrence & Sam

Colic is caused by trapped wind which gives baby sharp tummy pains. It’s characterised by a wriggly baby trying to relieve the discomfort, moaning, crying or even screaming.

I’ve seen a few characteristic types of colic in practice.

1. Mums often tell me that their baby is “colicky” at certain times of the day, but the most common time for colic to appear is in the evening, often starting around three months old. This is the classic ‘early evening colic’ which can last until bedtime for some, leading to a miserable baby and exhausted parents. Just at the end of the day when you’re already done in from a day’s work or a day’s play, baby just won’t settle.

2. Some babies seem to get “colicky” after almost every feed and it can take hours to release the trapped wind that’s causing the pain. This type of colic may be caused by baby taking in too much air when feeding which is more common in bottle-fed babies because the hole in the teat could be too small, but can happen with breast fed babies who gulp down their milk, desperate for every feed, taking in air on the way.

How you can help

In breast fed babies, a factor in this type of colic may be Mum’s diet. Anything that irritates Mum’s stomach may also do the same for baby’s, but look out particularly for dairy, eggs, wheat, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, pulses, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and citrus fruit, as these are common triggers. Try some trial and error and take these foods out one at a time to help you identify if there is a dietary cause.

3. Then there are those babies who seem to have colic almost permanently! They seem to be in constant agony, can’t stay still and can’t be comforted. I have found that these are often babies who have had a traumatic birth which seems to have affected their digestive system. Homeopathy can help with this birth trauma but I would also recommend a cranial osteopath here to carry out gentle manipulation of an imbalance that may have been caused during a traumatic birth.

Self help

For breast feeding Mums, be sure to eat regularly, including healthy snacks, every few hours and make sure you drink plenty of water, keeping a glass on hand when you’re feeding and carrying a bottle with you when you’re out and about. These help to ensure a good milk flow so baby doesn’t need to gulp in air when trying to get to their beloved milk!

Top eight homeopathic remedies to relieve colic

There are many homeopathic remedies which can help with colic, but I’ve listed my top eight below. The remedy that matches your baby’s symptoms most closely, could help to relieve their colic. Give it in 30c potency, three times per day, for three days. If the colic improves some, repeat. If it relieves and then returns, repeat. If you can’t work out which remedy to try, or if your baby’s symptom picture isn’t clear feel free to make an appointment with me.

1. Colocynthis: for colic that is relieved by firm pressure; so those babies who like to be carried over the shoulder as it presses into their abdomen, or who draw their legs up to squeeze the abdomen and relieve the pain.

2. Dioscerea: for those babies who do the opposite of those needing Colocynthis; babies who bend backwards, or prefer to lie flat. They can throw themselves backwards quite forcefully to stretch out.

3. Chamomilla: useful for a screaming, angry baby who seems impossible to please, but may improve a little when carried around and bounced about quite vigorously. If you try to put them down, the crying will start again immediately. (A baby needing Chamomilla may also have greenish poos).

4. Bryonia: is for a baby who seems to be really irritable but is better left still, the slightest movement might set off screaming.

5. Lycopodium: if baby’s tummy seems distended, and full of wind think of this remedy. You will hear a lot of gurgling, but once this trapped wind is passed they are almost immediately relieved. There will be a lot of rolling around trying to get rid of the wind though. Typically, babies who need this remedy are those who guzzle their milk, taking in air, causing the colic.

6. Mag Phos: I would give this remedy in a lower potency, like 6c, for those babies who seem to be eased by gentle tummy rubs and warmth, maybe a blanket over them.

7. Stramonium: I have often used this for birth trauma colic. The baby seems frightened and full of anger. If there was a difficult birth like an emergency caesarean, shoulder dystocia or a ventouse birth this remedy can help. Or if baby had intervention soon after birth such as a prem baby having to go in an incubator, or an operation soon after birth.

8. Borax: this is also a good birth trauma colic remedy where the baby has been stuck, again shoulder dystocia or a baby who was prevented from being born initially because the cord was around its neck. Also, babies who were born in a birthing pool sometimes need this remedy. These babies have a fear of downward motion, they cry as soon as you try to put them down and may only fall asleep on Mum or Dad. They are also easily startled and wake from the smallest noise.

You can buy any of these remedies from a homeopathic pharmacy like Helios

I hope one helps and brings calm to your baby and your home.

Look out for my blog next week, when I’ll be talking top remedies for teething.

Carolyn Howgego is a fully qualified homeopath with 15 years of experience of treating babies, children and adults. She owns Carolyn Howgego Homeopathy where she sees clients of all ages, from the UK and internationally, over Zoom. Go here to book a FREE Discovery Call with Carolyn, or a consultation.

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