Next time your protesting, colicky baby has you wavering on the edge of sleep-deprived insanity, consider a cup of herbal tea. For who? Not you! For the baby!
Baby colic is a common condition, affecting as many as a quarter of young infants. Yet the underlying reasons remain mysterious, and there are no safe and effective treatments.
Fortunately, the crying — which can last for hours every day — usually disappears when the baby is a few months old, and the condition is harmless, experts say.
A new report, published in the journal Pediatrics, summarizes all the complementary and alternative medicines as well as nutritional supplements for colic — including herbal extracts, sugar water, probiotics, massage and reflexology.
Tea –made with chamomile, licorice, fennel and balm mint– was one of the most effective treatments for relieving symptoms of colic, according to this new Pediatrics study, which reviewed 15 randomized clinical trials of alternative treatments for infantile colic.
The study analyzed trials that included various types of treatment and found the most encouraging results came from treatments using herbal remedies and sugar solutions, while the least effective results came from treatments involving manipulation and probiotic supplements.
There were some signs that fennel had a positive effect. For instance, one study found that 65 percent of babies who got fennel seed oil dissolved in water before meals were cured of their colic. That compared to 24 percent of those who just got water.
The study stated:
The difficulty in finding an effective treatment is related to our lack of understand of IC (infantile colic). Its pathophysiology is unclear; food allergies, formula intolerance, immaturity of gastrointestinal tract, excessive gas formation or intestinal cramping have all been suggested as possible etiologies. Arguably, any rational treatment should be directed at the mechanisms of the disease itself.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the study is how the authors explain what many exhausted parents already know – that it’s hard to know how to treat colic because colic itself is such a wily beast. But the studies were few and far between, and none of the studies were scientifically solid, the researchers found.
All and all, despite these new studies – I say your baby just needs a lot of Tender Love and Care (TLC). What do you do to help your colicky baby?