Incurable Colic? Docs and Moms Weigh In on Natural Remedies


She recommended keeping the child in a quiet room, tightly swaddled. Also, she said, many parents, especially new ones, don't recognize the value of allowing the baby to cry.

"Crying is a way that babies learn to soothe themselves," she said. "It makes new mothers nervous to do, but sometimes letting them cry themselves to sleep is the only solution."

Just because the causes and remedies of colic may differ, that doesn't mean it's a "myth" or doesn't exist, said pediatricians.

"Colic is crying three or more hours a day, three or more days a week between the ages of 3 weeks and 3 months," said Dr. Kathi Kemper, of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Health.

Because there isn't a catch-all cure for the problem, trying out alternative methods, as long as they are safe, can be helpful for parents.

"Based on human experience, spasmolytic herbs like fennel, dill, caraway are helpful and safe for most babies," she said. "Mint can make reflux worse, so it's not a good choice."

These herbs, especially fennel, were shown to have some positive effects in Monday's analysis and are also some of the ingredients in the popular "gripe water" solution. Gripe water is an herbal concoction that may include ginger, dill, fennel and chamomile and is used to treat teething, colic and stomach upset in infants.

Probiotics, used to treat supposed problems in the infant's not-yet-fully-formed gastrointestinal tract, also may be helpful and are a safe remedy, said Kemper and Lobe, though Monday's study did not find conclusive evidence in their favor.

When all else fails, the wealth of collective mommy-knowledge on Twitter recommends patience, because eventually babies will grow out of colicky behavior.

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