MoonDragon's Parenting Information
CALMING YOUR CRYING BABY
BECOMING AN EDUCATED PARENT
When we are pregnant or awaiting adoption, we dream about our baby-to-be, we always envision those beautiful Hallmark card scenes: charming baby smiling up at peaceful mother's face. We read books in advance of the big day about how care for a newborn - how to bathe, feed and dress her - and then we feel somewhat prepared. We talk to our midwife or health care provider, take child care preparation classes and maybe even talk to our mothers, grandmothers and sisters about caring for our babies and what to expect. However, a crying baby was never part of that idyllic vision, so this often takes us by surprise as new parents. But the fact is, all babies cry at one time or another. Some babies cry more than others, but they all do cry. Understanding why babies cry can help you get through this phase of our child's development and becoming a new parent. Understanding helps you to respond effectively to your crying baby - so can the list of ideas that follows.
WHY DO BABIES CRY?
It is relatively obvious... And to say it simply, a baby cries because he or she cannot talk or express themselves in any other way. Babies are just like their older, verbally proficient adult counterparts, with needs and desires of their own, but they cannot express their needs using words, as we do to express ourselves. When babies become older and have developed their verbal skills by using speech, they will be able to communicate more effectively with their parents. Even if a baby could talk, very often they would not understand why they feel the way they do and they would not understand themselves well enough to articulate their needs (some adults still have this problem!). Babies need someone else, such as their mom or dad, to help them figure it all out and give them the assistance they require.
Having your baby cry can be upsetting for the parents and others around them. However, keep in mind that it is normal for all babies to cry. When your baby cries, it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong or that you are not doing what you should be doing to be a loving and caring parent to your baby. The amount of crying a baby does will vary depending on the baby. Some babies seem to be more mellow and calm in their temperament than other babies. Some babies tend to be more outspoken or more easily stressed and seem to cry more than their calm peers. Each baby is a unique individual. A baby does not understand that their crying makes other people around them upset. Nor do they cry on purpose to make you feel stressed out and to upset you. They are only trying to let you know that their needs have not been met, physically and/or emotionally.
From the time of birth, your newborn will sleep most of the time and only wake when they need to have their diaper changed and to feed, which is often about every 3 hours. If they have a dry diaper, they will often fall back to sleep while eating. However, when your baby is awake, crying will be their method of communication with you so that you will be able to change them, feed them, and give them the body-to-body, nurturing contact that they need for proper development. However, when the baby is awake, he or she will cry loudly and as often as it takes to get the care they want and need. At this stage their crying is often without tears since it is a way of communication and not a cry of pain. The normal, healthy newborn baby will cry for approximately an hour and a half a day. This can increase as the baby grows older to approximately twice this amount by the age of 6 weeks and still be considered normal for your baby. As your baby grows, he or she will spend more time awake and aware, becoming acquainted with his or her surroundings and begin to develop other methods of communicating with you and other people in their environment. Their crying will begin to reduce in quantity over time. When your baby reaches 6 months of age, he or she may be spending more awake time, sometimes 3 hours, more or less daily, playing and interacting with their environment. Again, keep in mind that each baby is different and has a different temperament. This normal range can vary greatly, depending on the child. A care taking parent can feel like their baby cries a lot more than he or she really does due to fatigue, lack of sleep, proper nutrition and stress.
Many times, you can avoid the crying altogether by responding right away to your baby's earliest signals of need, such as fussing, stiffening her body, or rooting for the breast. As you get to know your baby and learn his or her signals, determining what your baby needs will become easier for you - even before your baby cries.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CRIES & RELIEF RECOMMENDATIONS
As you get to know your baby, you will become the expert in understanding his or her cries in a way that no one else can. In their research, child development professionals have determined that certain types of cries mean certain things. In other words, babies do not cry the same exact way every time. (Other child development experts, also known as mothers, have known that for millennia.) There are plenty of times when you cannot tell if your baby's crying is directly related to a fixable situation: hunger, a soiled diaper, or a longing to be held. That is when parents get frustrated and nervous. That is when you should take a deep breath and try some of the following cry-stoppers. Some of these suggestions will work for several of the various types of crying. Do not be afraid to try several until one works for you.
The first help is to hold your baby. No matter the reason for your baby's cry, being held by a warm and comforting person offers a feeling of security and may help calm his crying. Babies love to be held in arms, slings, front-pack carriers, and (when they get a little older) backpacks; physical contact is what they seek and what usually soothes them best.
If three or four hours have passed since his or her last feeding, if he or she has just woken up, or if he or she has just had a very full diaper and he or she begins to cry, he or she is probably hungry. A feeding will most likely stop the crying. Working out whether your baby is hungry or not is not always as simple as it appears! If you find you have a very hungry baby, who is feeding more often than you feel she should, you may be misinterpreting her cues.
Breast-Fed Babies: Breastfeed your baby. Nursing your baby is as much for comfort as food. It helps to develop a firm bond between mother and infant. It has benefits for both the mother and for her baby. All five of my babies calmed easily when brought to the breast. The breast may be called "The Secret Weapon." for crying babies. And my babies are very typical. Breastfeeding is an important and powerful tool for baby soothing. You do not need to supplement a breastfeeding baby with formula or water (especially sugar water, an old favorite in maternity wards years ago!) until he or she becomes old enough to start eating solid foods. Breastfeed your baby whether you think he or she is hungry or thirsty. If your baby is a newborn, you will most likely experience engorgement when your milk comes in about the third day postpartum. You will want to feed your baby as much as possible to help relieve the engorgement and to help get your breasts down to a comfortable level. Feed on demand and not by schedule. Breastfed babies will need to be fed more frequently than babies fed formula since breast milk is more easily digested and will digest faster than formula. Breastfed babies will often experience less tummy discomforts (tummy aches) and will often require less "burping" than their formula-fed counterparts.
MoonDragon's Breastfeeding Index
Formula-Fed Babies: If bottlefeeding, offer more frequent but smaller meals; experiment with different formulas with your health care provider's approval. Try different types of bottles and nipples that prevent air from entering your baby as he drinks, such as those with curved bottles or collapsible liners. As with breast-fed babies, formula-fed babies do not usually require additional supplements of water until they start on solid foods. If you live in a warm climate or during the hot summer months (or any overly warm environment), extra fluids may be required to supplement normal feedings to prevent dehydration. Juices, such as apple juice, and quality bottled water may be given. If you use water from the tap, you should boil it and then allow it to cool prior to giving it to your baby. It has been suggested that an ounce of quality water may be offered to a baby under three month old and up to two ounces if a baby is older than 3 months a few times daily in addition to regular formula feedings to prevent dehydration.
If you and your baby experiences problems with feeding, your baby may experience more problems with spitting up, stomach aches and gas. Try holding your baby in a more upright position for feeding and directly afterwards. Experiment with how often and when you burp your baby. Offer meals in a quiet setting. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your baby will be. I highly recommend getting a rocking chair to use during their feedings. The rocking is relaxing to the baby and can also smooth out stressed nerves in the mother too. Babies can pick up on your tension and it can cause problems with their feeding and result in a more upset, crying, stressed out baby. If you are breastfeeding, be sure you take care in your diet and avoid any foods that may cause tummy problems. Some foods that you eat may cause gas problems in your baby. These may include cabbage and members of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts), spicy foods, onions and garlic and other gassy vegetables, caffeine and dairy products.
Consult with your midwife or health care provider if you are having problems with your baby's feedings and/or infant tummy aches. Make sure you feed your baby until they are full and satisfied. If you are breastfeeding, make sure the baby is getting a firm grasp on the nipple during feedings. Do not allow them to get into the habit of between-meal snacking. If baby likes a pacifier, offer him one. At night, you may want to consider having the baby in bed with you during feedings and/or next to your bed in a portable bed to make feedings easier and less stressful and tiring on you and your baby.
NOT FEELING WELL
When your baby is feeling out of sorts and may becoming sick, he or she may cry in a weak, moaning way or in long periods of crying. This is their way of saying, "I feel awful." Colic (when it is difficult to impossible to comfort a baby) can be hard on both parents and baby. Other ailments such as gas and tummy aches, teething, colds and sniffles, fevers, earaches, and the occasional childhood diseases are all part of raising a baby and child. Most of this is part of your baby and child developing his or her immune system and antibodies towards various infectious microorganisms. If your baby and child has good nutrition and a strong immune system, these ailments will often be less of a problem. If your baby seems ill, look for any signs of sickness. Take your baby's temperature and check for a fever and, if needed, call your health care provider. You should have your baby checked out before giving him or her any medication. Your baby will need extra cuddling and attention when feeling unwell. However, do not forget to take care of yourself when your baby is sick.
A cry of pain is sudden and shrill, just like when an adult or older child cries out when they get hurt. It may include long cries followed by a pause during which your baby appears to stop breathing. He then catches his breath and lets out another long cry. Time to check your baby's temperature and undress him for a full-body examination.
Teething Pain: The first tooth usually makes it's appearance around the age of 6 months. However, this can vary from baby to baby. Some babies have been born with teeth and others the first tooth may not appear until they are over a year old to about 15 months of age. Teething can be especially uncomfortable for your baby. The gums can become swollen and sensitive at the tooth site while the tooth is working its way out of the gum. The baby may experience a mild fever, fussiness, crying, more drooling than usual and may want to put every thing in his or her mouth to chew on. Luckily for all concerned, teething discomfort usually last for only a few days or so. A chilled teething ring and teething gel can help numb the gum with a tooth that is unusually uncomfortable for your baby.
Colic:Many of us have stayed up nights tending a colicky baby who is constantly crying and is uncomfortable from a tummy ache. There are many things that may be the cause of colic. It may be caused by some retention of meconium has occurred in a newborn's intestines (the dark sticky stuff in the baby's intestines that is usually pooped out the first few days to week after the birth). It may be a temporary blockage or something in the breastmilk or formula that simply does not agree with the baby's sensitive digestive system. It sometimes occurs with babies when they are introduced to new foods that their bodies are not used to or for which they are not ready. The Academy of American Pediatrics recommend waiting until your baby is about 6 months old before introducing him to new foods besides breastmilk or formula. Typically, a baby's first food is a little iron-fortified infant rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. Introduce new foods one at a time to see how your baby handles it and see if there are any problems with that particular food. This will prevent tummy aches and enable you to pinpoint problem foods. Avoid commercial baby foods that contain salts, sugar and thickening agents and preservatives. A good baby-food cookbook to make your own baby foods is a good investment. If your baby is still on breastmilk alone, check your own diet for problem foods (see under Hunger) and eliminate them from your diet. If your baby is on formula, you may need to change the formula to another brand. Consult with your health care provider for recommendations.
MoonDragon's Infant Diet: Birth To 12 Months
KidsHealth.org: Feeding Your 4 to 7 Month Old
If your baby cries inconsolably for long periods every day, particularly at the same time each day, he or she may have colic. Researchers are still unsure of colic's exact cause. Some experts believe that colic is related to the immaturity of a baby's digestive system. Whatever the cause, and it may be a combination of all the theories; colic is among the most exasperating conditions that parents of new babies face. Colic occurs only to newborn babies, up to about four to five months of age. Invest in a baby sling or carrier and use it during colicky periods. Hold your baby with her legs curled up toward her belly. Massage your baby's tummy, or give him a full body massage. Lay your baby tummy down across your lap and massage or pat his or her back. Hold your baby in a rocking chair, or put him in a swing. Walk with Baby in a quiet, dark room while you hum or sing. As a last resort, ask your health care provider or midwife about medications or other remedies available for colic and gas. See Tips below for more suggestions.
Too much noise, too many people, too much commotion can cause distress in your baby. If the room is noisy, people are trying to get your baby's attention, rattles are rattling, music boxes are playing, television and stereo may be blaring in the background and bright lights can be upsetting for your baby. Some babies, due to individual temperament, will become more upset than others in a active and noisy environment. Some will take a longer adjustment period than others. If your baby suddenly closes his or her eyes and cries (or turns his or her head away), he or she may be trying to shut out all that is going on around him or her and find some peace and quiet. It is time for a silent, darkened room and some peaceful cuddles. Try keeping your baby away from highly stimulating situations during the day when possible to prevent sensory overload. If the weather is too unpleasant for an outside stroll, bring your stroller in the house and walk your baby around.
You would think that if your baby is tired, that he or she would fall asleep without problems. Let me tell you, this is not always the case. I found when my babies and toddlers were really tired, they would stay awake to the point of complete exhaustion and to the point of driving me a little nuts. It is true that some babies will fall asleep without problems anywhere and anytime and almost under any circumstances. However, others will require a quiet place with low lights and no stimulation around them before they will fall asleep. Environmental factors can play a big role in how your baby will quiet down and fall asleep. Babies will usually let you know when they are tired and ready to be put down for sleep. It could be simple signs such as yawning and rubbing their eyes, eyes looking glazed, grimaces and whining and fussing with or without crying. They may become quiet and inattentive to their toys, seemingly bored with their environment and the people around them. Other signs may include clenching of fists and waving movements of their arms and legs. As a care-giver, it is important not to miss these signs of becoming tired, increasing the chances of him or her becoming overly tired. Once this happens, it takes more effort to get the baby to "give it up" and fall asleep often resulting in more crying to screaming fits because of exhaustion. Calming the baby becomes more difficult at this stage and more exhausting to the care giver. You will need to take time out, take a deep breath and rock, walk, or using any other methods at your disposal to soothe and relax your baby and allow your baby to finally get the sleep that he or she needs in a quiet environment.
Give your baby a warm bath to relax him or her. Lay your baby tummy down across your lap and massage or pat her back. Swaddle your baby in a warm blanket. Hold your baby in a rocking chair, or put him in a swing. Walk with Baby in a quiet, dark room while you hum or sing. Lie on your back and lay your baby on top of your tummy down while massaging his back. (Transfer your baby to his bed if he falls asleep.) Play soothing music or turn on white noise such as a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer, or running water. Take Baby for a ride in the car.
If a baby is uncomfortable by being too wet, too hot, too cold, or in a uncomfortable position such as being squished too tightly, he or she will typically squirm or arch his or her back when he or she cries, as if trying to get away from the source of his or her discomfort. Try to figure out the source of his or her distress and solve his or her problem.
Many parents are prone to overdressing their babies. They worry about them being too cold and will often bundle them too heavily in clothes and blankets. Obviously, this may make your baby feel hot and sweaty and very uncomfortable. If your baby is sweating, you have over-dressed him or her. To prevent overheating, your baby should be dressed in similar layers of clothing as what you are wearing for the weather and the temperature. During naps and night sleeping they may need to be covered with a light blanket or sheet with normal indoor temperatures. If it is chilly, a heavier blanket and full-body flannel or fleece pajamas with enclosed feet may be used to keep them warm and comfortable. Keep in mind your comfort when dressing your baby for his or her comfort. Do not use a hat or cap to cover his or her head with while sleeping. Your baby's skin is much more sensitive to touch than your skin and you need to make sure his or her clothing is soft and comfortable. Be careful about using starch, bleach or laundry detergent with irritating chemicals to clean your babies clothes. These things can cause skin irritations and discomfort for your baby. Make sure your baby's clothing is sized properly and made from fabrics that breathe well, such as cottons. Avoid polyesters, nylons, or non-breathing, scratchy fabrics and trims (such as stiff lace) when choosing your baby's clothing. Be aware of seams, zippers and buttons that can rub against his or her skin.
Wet or dirty diapers can be uncomfortable for your baby, particularly if he or she has a diaper rash. Change the baby frequently and treat any diaper rash flair-ups that may occur before they become red and inflamed. If you use cloth diapers, make sure they are soft and washed with a mild soap. If you use disposable diapers, watch out for cheap irritating brands or brands that use irritating chemicals that may irritate your baby's sensitive skin. Avoid scented products and soaps since babies have an extremely sensitive sense of smell and some odors, although pleasant for you, may be irritating or unpleasant for your baby. Babies may be scent-sensitive to the smell of certain colognes, perfumes, aftershaves, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, lotions, cleansers and bleach and other normal household products, including the smell of tobacco on skin, clothing and in the air.
Your baby is just learning how to control his or her hands, arms, and feet. He or she may be trying to get his or her fingers into their mouth or to reach a particularly interesting toy, but his or her body is not cooperating. The baby cries out of frustration, because they cannot accomplish what they want to do. All the baby needs is a little help.
If your baby falls asleep feeding and you place him or her in their crib, but the baby wakes soon afterward with a cry, he or she may be saying that he or she misses the warmth and security of your embrace and does not like to be alone. The baby simply wants to be held and cuddled. This is usually simple situation to resolve. Wearing a baby sling while you are working around the house is helpful for freeing your hands to take care of chores, but also keeps your baby next to your body for familiar warmth, smells, sounds and touch. These are the things that your baby was used to having while still in your womb and she finds them comforting. When your baby stops crying as soon as they are picked up, the reason may be that the baby simply wants to be held and wants your attention. When your baby has regularly fallen asleep while being cuddled, he or she could also want to be held because he or she has learned that this is the way they want to go to sleep and need the loving comfort of your arms and the soothing smells and touch of your body next to theirs.
WORRY, FEAR & STRESS
"Separation anxiety" often begins around the age of 6 months. It will usually reach its strongest at around 9 months of age and often continues until the child is approximately 2 to 3 years of age. Babies and young toddlers have not realized yet that just because mom or dad are not in their eyesight, that does not mean that they are not coming back to them. This cognitive ability occurs as the child matures. When children experience separation anxiety they will cry as soon as their main caregiver (usually mom) leaves their sight. This can be almost as upsetting and frustrating for parents (not to mention causing feelings of guilt for leaving the baby or child behind) as it can for the baby or young child. However, keep in mind, it is a normal and healthy attachment behavior towards the parent. It does resolve itself with time and repetition.
They may be very shy or leery of strangers at this time. Your baby suddenly finds herself in the arms of Great Aunt Matilda and cannot see you; her previously happy gurgles turn suddenly to crying. The baby is trying to tell you that he or she is scared: The baby does not know this new person, and he or she wants Mommy or Daddy. Explain to Auntie M. that the baby needs a little time to warm up to someone new, and try letting the two of them get to know each other while Baby stays in your arms.
Babies can feel stress just like the rest of us. When the parents or other caregivers are stressed, this tension can be transmitted and felt by the baby. If there are tense and stressful situations such as arguments, loud noises, and raised voices, the baby will be affected by this atmosphere. Even if it is quiet and the mom is still stressed out and tense about something, the baby will sense it and react to it.
Babies need attention and interaction with their parent such as playing, talking, touching. A certain amount of stimulation is important for the proper development of the baby's brain and plays a role in the development of motor skills, speech and thinking processes. There should be a balance between stimulation and quiet time. Both are important. Over-stimulation and neglect are the extremes of the attention spectrum. Even though your baby is always learning, this does not mean that he or she needs to be entertained all the time. Quiet time is as important as interaction. Babies also needs some quiet time to listen and learn from their environment around them and to discover how they can control their bodies by using their muscles in their limbs and bodies. If your baby has been sitting for a while in one place and begins to whine and fuss, boredom may be a factor if he or she is not tired, uncomfortable or hungry. Try changing their position to give them something new to see or play with.
QUICK TIPS - RELIEF SUGGESTIONS FOR A CRYING BABY
FEEDING TIPS FOR YOUR BABY
If breastfeeding, feed on demand, for nutrition as well as comfort, as often as your baby needs a calming influence. Avoid foods in your diet that may cause gas in your baby, such as dairy products, caffeine, cabbage, broccoli and other gassy vegetables.
If bottlefeeding, offer more frequent but smaller meals; experiment with different formulas with your health care provider's approval. Try different types of bottles and nipples that prevent air from entering your baby as he drinks, such as those with curved bottles or collapsible liners.
Hold your baby in a more upright position for feeding and directly afterwards.
Experiment with how often and when you burp your baby.
Offer meals in a quiet setting without distractions.
If baby likes a pacifier, offer him one. Let your baby have something to suck on. The most natural pacifier is mother's breast, but when that is not an option, a bottle, pacifier, Baby's own fingers, a teething toy, or parent's pinkie can work wonders as a means of comfort.
Babies enjoy repetitive, rhythmic motion such as rocking, swinging, swaying, jiggling, dancing or a drive in the car. Many parents instinctually begin to sway with a fussy baby, and for a good reason: It works. Hold your baby in a rocking chair and gently rock him, or put him in a baby swing. Walk with the baby in a quiet, dark room while you hum or sing or take the baby for a ride in the car.
Invest in a baby sling or carrier and use it during colicky periods. This still allows you to have free hands and freedom of movement while the baby is lying against your chest in the sling and also is soothing since the baby can feel your body heat and energy, feel the comforting motion as you move, and listen to your heartbeat (almost like being pregnant again).
If the weather is too unpleasant for an outside stroll, bring your stroller in the house and walk your baby around. Distracting your baby sometimes helps. A new activity or change of scenery such as a walk outside, or a dance with a song, or a splashy bath - can be very helpful in turning a fussy baby into a happy one.
SOOTHING & RELAXATION TIPS
Try keeping your baby away from highly stimulating situations during the day when possible to prevent sensory overload. Spend some quiet time with your baby by reading them a story or playing with them. Give them a chance to unwind after a long day of activity.
Give your baby a warm bath. The warm water is relaxing and the massaging with the soap and washcloth feels good on the skin. Use a baby lotion to give a soothing massage after the bath and to protect the skin.
Massage your baby's tummy, or give him a back and/or full body massage. Babies love massage. They love the touch. Massaging the belly will help any gas bubbles move out. Remember to be gentle but relatively firm and from lower right across the top and down the left, the direction of the colon.
Hold your baby with her legs curled up toward her belly.
Play soothing music (babies love Mozart). Let music soothe your baby. Soft, peaceful music is a wonderful baby calmer. That's why lullabies have been passed down through the ages. You do not have to be a professional singer to provide your baby with a song; your baby loves to hear your voice. In addition to your own songs, babies usually love to hear any kind of music. Experiment with different types of tunes, since babies have their own favorites that can range from jazz to country to classical, and even rock and rap. Use common sense when using sound therapy to soothe your baby. Do not make it too loud and noisy.
Turn on some white noise. The womb was a very noisy place for your baby. Remember the sounds you heard while listening to your baby's heartbeat before he was born. Not so long ago, your baby heard those sounds 24 hours a day. Therefore, your baby sometimes can be calmed by "white noise" - that is, noise that is continuous and uniform, such as that of a heartbeat, the rain, static between radio stations, and your vacuum cleaner. Some alarm clocks even have a white noise function or sounds of the ocean, wind, rain and other white noise options.
Lay your baby tummy down across your lap and massage or pat her back. Babies love to be touched and stroked, so a massage is a wonderful way to calm a fussy baby. A variation of massage is the baby pat; many babies love a gentle, rhythmic pat on their backs or bottoms.
Lie on your back and lay your baby on top of your tummy or with his head laying on your chest so he can listen to your heartbeat (which soothes the baby and brings back memories of being in the womb). Massage his back while laying down. (Carefully transfer your baby to his bed if he falls asleep.)
It is important, as your baby's caregiver, that you remain calm and focused. If you need to take a break, have your partner, a family member or a friend take over for a time while you take a hot bath and relax and gather yourself back together again. If you become anxious or stressed, your baby pick up on it and will be anxious and stressed. Having good support by your partner and others around you will help you get through those tough times.
SWADDLE YOUR BABY
Swaddle your baby in a warm blanket. During the first three or four months of life, many babies feel comforted if you can re-create the tightly contained sensation they enjoyed in the womb.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS, ASK FOR HELP
As a last resort, ask your health care provider or midwife about medications or other remedies available for colic and gas.
Do not allow yourself to become overly tired, frustrated or stressed out. Enlist the aid of a grandparent or partner and take a break from your baby. A relaxing bath or a walk in the fresh air does wonders in restoring your sense of emotional balance so you can effectively take care of your baby and your family.
For professional child care providers, such as a day care worker or a baby sitter, here are some helpful articles submitted to MoonDragon.org from Fiona Lohrenz, a Day Care business owner:
MoonDragon's Parenting Information: Day Care - Tips For Managing A Crying Baby
MoonDragon's Parenting Information: Day Care - Tips For Stopping Whining
HERBAL REMEDIES FOR COLIC
Colic symptoms are spells of crying coming on at usual intervals, usually at night and continue perhaps for two or three hours. The legs are drawn up to the belly, which is usually distended, and there may be the passing of gas.
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries by mothers and midwives to treat infant colic. Some herbal remedies offered to infants are based on an assumption that infant colic is due to indigestion. Other herbals remedies are offered because it is believed they have a calming or tranquilizing effect.
Single herbs or a combination of different herbs may be used; given in the form of a tea or commercially produced tinctures or extracts. Use tinctures that are alcohol-free. When you are using a herbal tea for a baby, do not sweeten it with honey. Honey should not be given to any child under the age of 1 year since it may result in infant botulism.
SUGGESTED HERBAL TEAS
- Caraway Seed
- Catnip Herb
- Chamomile Blossom
- Dill Seed
- Fennel Seed
- Lemon Balm Herb
- Licorice Root
- Peppermint Leaf
My personal favorite as a mother, grandmother and as midwife and most used in my family was Catnip tea to soothe a fussy or gassy baby. I used this for my babies (and older children) whenever they were not feeling well in place of plain water to help keep them hydrated. The taste is pleasant, unsweetened. It is soothing and calming, a relaxant, antispasmodic, sedative, and helps ease digestive problems. There is little problem with sensitivity or allergy reactions with catnip. Catnip is a member of the mint family. Chamomile and Peppermint also have an antispasmodic effect on intestinal colic and work quickly due to their volatile oils and other compounds.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Caraway Seed Catnip Herb Chamomile Blossom Dill Seed Fennel Seed Lemon Balm Herb Licorice Root Peppermint Leaf
Applying warm compresses to a tummy can help relieve discomfort. These can be as simple as a washcloth dipped in water to prepared herbal tea blends applied to the belly. There are several microwavable packs available that can be used as a compress to relieve belly aches. Be care of temperature. You do not want to burn your baby but you want it hot enough to do the job.
GENERAL HERBAL TEA DIRECTIONS
To make an herbal tea, steep 1 teaspoon of herb(s) with 1 cup of hot water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes and strain. For a baby, allow the tea to cool to warm (test temperature by dropping a drop or two on the inside of the wrist). It can be given by a teaspoon or eyedropper. Dosage is 1 to 2 teaspoons or more, as needed, of weak infusion.
SOOTHING TEA TO QUIET BABY - RECIPE 1
3 Parts Catnip Herb (Nepeta cataria)
2 Parts Lemon Balm Herb (Melissa officinalis)
2 Parts Marshmallow (Althea Officinalis)
1 teaspoon of herbs to 1 cup of water, steep 10 to 15 minutes; strain. Dosage: 1 teaspoon or more as needed.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Catnip Herbal Products Lemon Balm Herbal Products Marshmallow Herbal Products
SOOTHING TEA TO QUIET BABY - RECIPE 2
Another remedy is made with Catnip and Wild Yam or Pleurisy Root. Make a weak infusion with:
1/2 teaspoon of Catnip and either Wild Yam or Pleurisy Root.
A 2 ounce dose of this infusion is given and then turn the infant on its belly and gently rub the back. A warm bath before the hour of an expected attack will often forestall it or decrease its severity.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Catnip Herbal Products Pleurisy Root Herbal Products Wild Yam Herbal Products
COLIC TEA - RECIPE 1
1 ounce Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
1 ounce Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa)
Steep for 10 to 15 minutes in 1 pint of boiling hot water; stain. Use about 2 ounces, lukewarm by rectal injection (using an enema bulb) to ease discomfort.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Catnip Herbal Products Pleurisy Root Herbal Products
COLIC TEA - RECIPE 2
1 ounce Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
1 ounce Wild Yam root (Dioscorea villosa)
Steep for 10 to 15 minutes in 1 pint of boiling hot water; stain. Use 1 tablespoon of warm decoction every 30 minutes until relieved.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Catnip Herbal Products Wild Yam Herbal Products
COLIC TEA - RECIPE 3
9 Parts Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
3 Parts Caraway (Carum carvi)
2 Parts Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
2 Parts Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Use 1 teaspoon of the combined mixed herbs to a cup of boiling water. Can be used as an abdominal compress (as warm as possible without burning) and taken internally 1 to 2 teaspoons as needed.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Caraway Seed Herbal Products Chamomile Herbal Products Peppermint Herbal Products Valerian Herbal Products
COLIC COMPRESS RECIPE
Make an infusion of Cloves:
1 teaspoon of Cloves, whole or powdered
1 pint of Water
Boil the water and pour over the cloves and steep for 20 minutes in a closed stainless steel container over a very low flame. Remove from heat and allow to cool enough for skin application without burning. For colic flatulence, Place as a warm poultice/compress over stomach.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Clove Herbal Products
HERBAL COLIC MIXTURES
Many different herbs (listed above) can be used together. The various combinations of different herbs are huge. There are also many commercially produced "natural infant colic remedies" available on the market today, which claim to soothe the discomfort of infant colic.
Different herbs work in different ways. There are many herbs that are used to aid digestion; reduce inflammation of the bowel; lessen gas production; and/or calm and tranquilize. There have not been enough studies done to understand exactly how each herb works, yet alone to understand how they work when combined.
Are herbal remedies effective in treating colic? - Many parents and midwives have faith in the benefits of herbal remedies to relieve the distress of a colicky baby. While some health care providers also believe herbal remedies may help, others believe they offer no more than a placebo effect. There have been so few studies on the effectiveness of herbal remedies in the treatment of infant colic, so the "jury is still out" as far as conventional medical practice is concerned.
Are herbal remedies safe to be used to treat infant colic? - Many people believe herbal remedies are "natural" and therefore they must be safe; however this is not always the case. Some of the most potent medications available today originate from herbs. When taken in too large a quantity a herbal remedy can be harmful. Infants have died from the inappropriate use of herbal remedies. However, if used appropriately in the correct dosage and preparation, they are often much safer than using medical drugs for treatment of ailments. If you have questions about using herbal remedies and preparations, consult with your midwife, herbalist or naturopathic health care practitioner.
Many herbal remedies are not recommended to be given to children. Be aware that some so called "natural infant colic remedies" used in the past contained ethanol, i.e. alcohol. In most countries these products have been removed from the market, but it will pay to check labels carefully. Alcohol is still used in making medicinal herbal tinctures / extracts. For infants, use non-alcoholic preparations such as tea or glycerine-based extracts.
The same care should be taken when using herbal remedies as it is when using medications. Always talk to a herbalist in person before giving herbal teas or mixtures to children. Read and follow dosage recommendations that come with a commercially prepared product.
RECOMMENDED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Colic Herbal Supplement Products
BOOKS & EDUCATIONAL INFORMATION
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night
By Elizabeth Pantley & William Sears M.D.
Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging & Pleading & Get Kids to Cooperate
By Elizabeth Pantley & William Sears M.D.
Perfect Parenting: The Dictionary of 1,000 Parenting Tips
By Elizabeth Pantley
Hidden Messages: What Our Words & Actions Are Really Telling Our Children
By Elizabeth Pantley
Gentle Baby Care: No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry -- Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby
By Elizabeth Pantley
Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Gentle Baby Care Rowena Bennett, Baby Care Advice Articles: Crying J.H Greer, M.D., A Physician In The House Herbal Remedies.com A Guide To Natural Healing Prescription For Natural Healing Dr. John Christopher, School of Natural Healing
> COLIC-RELATED HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS
QUALITY PRODUCTS & SUPPLEMENTS
COLIC SUPPLEMENTS PRODUCTS
If you have a colicky baby, you sure know what we are talking about. About 20 percent of all infants suffer from colic. Symptoms include abdominal pain, gas, cramping, flatulence, bloating, and irritability. The spates of crying can go on for hours. Not only is it distressing for the baby - it is exhausting and emotionally draining for the parents. Colic remedies for adults, young children, toddlers and infants that relieves minor abdominal pain associated with colic and gas.
NATIVE REMEDIES PRODUCTS
Native Remedies: Infant Massage Oil
Natural baby massage oil helps to improve circulation, soothe skin irritations and promote calm and relaxation in babies.
Native Remedies: iBaba Homeopathic Colic Remedy
Homeopathic colic remedy to relieve mild digestive disturbances and cramping in newborns, infants and babies.
HerbsPro: Baby Tummy Oil, Weleda, 1.7 fl. oz. (69515)
HerbsPro: Calming Baby Oil, Certified Organic, Aura Cacia, 4 fl. oz. (70459)
HerbsPro: Baby Colic Tablets, Hylands, 125 Tabs (111966)
HerbsPro: Kids Upset Tummy & Nausea Relief, Mommys Bliss, 10 ml (108606)
HerbsPro: Colic Kids 0-9 Homeopathic Remedy, Homeolab, 25 ml (81556)
HerbsPro: Cocyntal Colic Relief Homeopathic Liquid, Boiron, 15 Doses (93195)
HerbsPro: Tummy Cuddles, Aroma MD, 1 fl. oz. (84857)
HerbsPro: Tummy Tonic Herbal Drops, Gaia Herbs, 1 fl. oz. (91050)
HerbsPro: Colic Homeopathic Remedy, Liddell Labs, 1 fl. oz. (108755)
HerbsPro: Organic Tummy Smoothers, St. Claires, 1.44 oz. (Case of 6) (65267)
HerbsPro: Baby's Bliss Gripe Water Travel Pack, Mommys Bliss, 1.5 oz. (Pack of 2) (75733)
HerbsPro: Colic Relief Homeopathic Spray, King Bio Natural Medicines, 2 fl. oz. (88908)
HerbsPro: Tummy Aches Homeopathic, King Bio Natural Medicines, 2 fl. oz. (83465)
HerbsPro: Tummy Tonic Herbal Drops, Gaia Herbs, 2 fl. oz. (91051)
HerbsPro: Children's Gripe Water For Colic, Wellements, 4 fl. oz. (73325)
HerbsPro: Quiet Tummy Gripe Water, Herbs For Kids, 4 fl. oz. (80547)
HerbsPro: Just For Kids Organic Tummy Comfort Tea, Traditional Medicinals Teas, 18 Tea Bags (70325)
HerbsPro: Tummy Tulsi Wellness Tea, Organic India, 18 Tea Bags (94908)
HerbsPro: Sleepy Time Baby Bath, Healthy Times, 8 oz. (92181)
HerbsPro: Calming Comfort Baby Bath, Aveeno, 8 oz. (112631)
Kalyx: Cocyntal Colic Relief, Boiron, 15 Doses: HF
Temporarily relieves symptoms associated with colic, including gas pain and irritability. Worry-Free No side effects No risk of overmedicating Does not mask other symptoms No sugar or lacotse Preservative-free Free Of Sugar, lactose, preservatives.
Kalyx: Homeopathic Baby Colic Tablets, Hylands, 125 Tabs: HF
Join inconsolable, screaming babies and their inconsolable parents. Babies suffering from colic respond incredibly well to Hyland’s Baby Colic Tablets. They relax and fall asleep.
Kalyx: Colic Tablets, Hylands Homeopathics, 125 Tabs: K
Colic Tablets is a homeopathic formula providing soothing relief for babies suffering from mild indigestion and sudden gas pains. A homeopathic combination for the temporary relief of symptoms of colic and gas pains caused by irritating food, feeding too quickly, swallowing air and similar conditions during teething, colds and other minor upset periods in children.
Kalyx: USA Kids 0-9 Colic Liquid Raspberry, Homeolab, 0.25 fl oz: HF
Fast Acting, Effective Relief formula that helps relieve colic and gas pain. Calms nausea, reduces burping, relieves agitation and irritability. Safe with no side effects, no drug interaction and alcohol free, dye free, sugar free. Great tasting raspberry flavor. This solution is a homeopathic medicine solution of natural origin helps relieve intestinal gas and abdominal colic associated with baby's digestive sensibility. Colic is very painful for babies. They cry during their feeding, turn red, tighten their little fists and fold their legs over their stomach to try and stop the pain. This medication helps relieve this terrible pain associated with baby's digestive sensibility. Therapeutic indications include Colocynthis which relieves baby's violent intestinal colic pain, agitation and irritability. Also helps dispel abdominal gas and soothe nausea and vomiting. Magnesia Phosphorica is recommended during acute colic attacks with violent cramps appearing and disappearing quickly. Chamomilla is indicated in cases of acute attacks of gastralgla, flatulent colic with gas and eructations that smell like rotten eggs and stomachache. These symptoms are generally accompanied by anger, nervousness, agitation, hypersensitivity and bad humor. Feel improvement by applying warm compresses. Dioscorea is an excellent remedy used for acute intestinal spasmodic attacks with strong pain. Free Of Alcohol, dye and sugar.
Kalyx: Kids 0-9 Remedy, Colic, Raspberry Oral Solution, Homeolab, 0.85 fl oz: K
Homeolab Kids 0-9 Colic is a great-tasting, easy-to-administer oral solution that gets to the source quickly to help eliminate your baby’s discomfort. This homeopathic medicine helps relieve symptoms associated with colic: intestinal gas abdominal pain bloating nausea burping
Kalyx: Kid-e-Col Colic and Teething Drops, Dr. Christophers Formulas,- 2 fl oz: HF
Kid-e-Col is a gentle herbal formula for Colic and Teething. Great tasting. Free Of Alcohol.
Kalyx: Colic & Gas Pains Extract, Health & Herbs, 2 fl. oz: HH<
Kalyx: Colic & Gas Pains Extract, Health & Herbs, 8 fl. oz.: HH
Kalyx: Gripe Water For Colic, Wellements, 4 fl. oz.: HF
A Dietary Supplement with Ginger and Fennel, by using only Organic Certified Herbs we ensure only the best for your baby and your peace of mind. Wellements is dedicated to providing products with the highest quality and organic ingredients that parents can use confidence, while maintaining sustainability. Ginger and Fennel have been shown to be beneficial for easing nausea and pain due to gas and stomach upsets.
Kalyx: Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water, 4 fl oz: HF
An herbal supplement used to ease the gas and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, hiccups, and teething. Pediatrician Recommended All Natural and gluten free Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water is an all natural, herbal supplement used to ease the gas and stomach pain often associated with colic, hiccups, and teething. Our product is based on an original gripe water formula that has been used for over 100 years. At Mom Enterprises, we are dedicated to providing products of the highest quality with natural ingredients that families can use with confidence. Baby’s Bliss Gripe Water is formulated under strict manufacturing practices to assure quality and safety. Our Gripe Water is 100-percent natural, ensuring that babies get only the best ingredients for their well being. Free Of Parabens, alcohol, fillers, binders, artificial flavors, artificial color, yeast, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy and starch.
Kalyx: Gripe Water, Apple, Babys Bliss, 4 fl oz: K
Amazon: Gripe Water Supplement Products
Nutrition Basics: Digestion Supplement Information
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