The first three months of babyhood are my least favourite. This period—also known as the fourth trimester—is a time of healing for mom after the rigors of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s also a time of adjustment for baby, which can lead to colic. All my babies have experienced colic, though my tolerance for this period of inconsolable crying has diminished with each baby. As Joey’s birth approached, so did my hope that he’d be a happy baby and avoid the colicky phase.
Alas, that hope was dashed within a few weeks of his birth. Joey went through the hours of crying that his big sisters had. One night, while bouncing him, I used my phone to google remedies for colic. Research kept my mind off his screaming, even as I learned that there was basically little I could to do help him. The explanation that his little system was adjusting to his new environment did help me understand his cries. Over-the-counter remedies would be a waste of my money. Despite this, I felt there must be something I could do to help, besides holding him. I turned to my homeopath, Nicole Duelli.
Nicole was able to provide me with some homeopathic colic remedies for Joey as well as a remedy for my own mental health. I found the remedy made a huge difference for Joey’s colicky phases. Usually, within fifteen or twenty minutes of giving him the colic remedy, he would calm down. Being able to help him also made a big difference in my mental health. I’m grateful for these homeopathic remedies during this phase of motherhood.
Here, Nicole shares more about homeopathy and how it can help colicky babies. If you’ve ever wanted to scream yourself as you hold your screaming baby, read on for how to use homeopathic colic remedies.
The Colicky Phase
Just when you feel like you have your new life under control—well, sort of—it hits. Your three- to six-week-old baby cries for long periods of time, or won’t be soothed or sleep unless you carry her everywhere. You’ve ruled out the usual problems—no diaper changing needed, not hungry and baby appears healthy otherwise—and it’s always best to rule out anything more serious when in doubt—but likely, your baby is colicky.
Causes are unclear but colic is usually blamed on a yet undeveloped digestive tract, and typically resolves at about 3-4 months. It’s a good idea to rule out allergies and to avoid foods that are known to increase gas (e.g., cauliflower, cabbages) or have a punch (e.g., garlic, spicy foods). Increasing infant contact with the parents is a good idea (think baby wraps). Tight swaddling can provide some comfort and baby massage is also recommended (take a class near you). But there will be times when you’ve tried all that and nothing seems to work—this is when homeopathy comes to the rescue.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a natural medicine that uses micro-doses of natural substances to stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself. Because of their unique preparation, homeopathic remedies are non-toxic and exceptionally safe for young children and babies, and babies often respond quickly.
Homeopathy is the second largest system of medicine in the world, according to the World Health Organization. It is particularly popular in Europe, where 100 million Europeans use homeopathy. Here in North America, homeopathy is catching on, and even Dr. Weil recommends homeopathy for colic.
Homeopathy is unique in that its medicines are not given by diagnosis. Rather, remedies are selected individually according to the symptoms a person experiences. Because remedies may differ between babies, pick the one that suits best according to the description.
I’ve found one of these top three homeopathic colic remedies usually do the trick:
- Colocynthis 30ch: Colocynthis is an excellent colic remedy for pains and trapped gas when pressure and warmth bring slight relief. This is likely the most common remedy for colic, except if one of the others are a better fit.
- Chamomilla 30ch: You can’t miss this remedy! The baby screams angrily and cannot be soothed, or is only temporarily soothed. He may want something, but then throws it away. This is an excellent remedy for colic, teething and even colds with fevers, if these emotional symptoms are present. It’s as though the nervous system is on edge and any pain is felt with excruciating intensity.
- Belladonna 30ch: This remedy is used for sudden colicky pains, typically with a fever, hot and red face and cold hands. Fevers in a young baby should always be followed by a medical check up because babies can’t tell you what’s wrong. You can give belladonna on the way to the clinic and you may find that symptoms clear quickly, as I’ve found belladonna often works fast.
How to Give Your Baby Homeopathic Colic Remedies
The 30ch remedies come in pellets and are widely available in natural pharmacies and health food stores. To give a dose, it’s best to crush 3-5 pellets between two spoons and dissolve in a teaspoon of water. I would recommend you just give a dose as needed, though sometimes you may need a couple of doses, given 2-4 hours apart.
If there is no change after 3 doses, you likely don’t have the right remedy—that’s how fast homeopathic remedies tend to work for colic. The golden rule in homeopathy is to stop when the symptoms improve, even if it’s after one dose. If you find you need to repeat the remedy every day for more than three days, do seek the advice of a homeopath. You should not need to repeat the remedy often, only sporadically.
Some parents find choosing their own homeopathic remedies daunting in the beginning. If this is the case, there are combination remedies available which include the most common homeopathic colic remedies, such as Boiron’s Cocyntal. Although this is a blanket approach, it often works too. These remedies also come already prepared in liquid form and the potencies are lower, so you can repeat them more frequently and for longer periods.
Take Care of Mom Too
Moms with colicky babies do have an increased risk for postpartum depression, so if your baby and you are suffering, take heart. It will pass. Seek the advice of a classical homeopath who is highly specialized in homeopathy if you are feeling low. Studies show that women try to avoid medications while pregnant and breastfeeding. If this is you, homeopathic remedies are remarkably safe and studies show they can be as effective as conventional alternatives. This is probably why they are recommended by 94.5% of French pharmacists for pregnant women.
If you are experiencing mood swings, depression, or anxiety because of your baby’s colicky symptoms, you may find the homeopathic approach to depression helpful. Don’t ignore your own feelings or brush off your symptoms. Even if your depression isn’t that bad, seek some help for it—talk to your husband, your doctor or midwife, or a homeopath.
This article originally appeared on the Vancouver Homeopath blog.
Nicole Duelli is a certified classical homeopath with a background in naturopathic medicine. She studied naturopathic medicine and homeopathy in Germany and now practices in Vancouver, BC. Nicole has two daughters and has been specializing in the health of women, children and families for more than 20 years. She also enjoys teaching and writing, and has contributed to the award-winning Encyclopedia of Natural Healing (1995) as well as magazines such as Alive! She dreams of the day when homeopathy and conventional medicine work hand in hand in Canada as they do in Europe and many parts of the world.
Have you tried using homeopathic colic remedies with your baby?