I am a first time mom. My baby is still nursing and is having horrible colic. Are there any herbal remedies I can use to give us both some relief?
First, congratulations on your first born!
Colic is one of the words that can strike fear into the hearts of new parents. It isn’t life threatening but it can make for some sleepless nights and very long days. There are some herbal remedies you can use to make your baby (and Mom) feel better.
First, make sure you’re dealing with colic. It’s usually easy to detect – constant crying, your baby turns red when he/she cries, strains like trying to pass gas and wants their pacifier or to suckle more just to make themselves feel better than because they’re hungry. If your baby doesn’t necessarily cry all the time but can’t eat much at once and has a hard time pooping, you may be dealing with colic.
Once you establish colic as the culprit, try making feeding time as peaceful as possible for both of you. I know that’s not always easy but if you can find a spot that’s quiet and have some peace with your baby while nursing, it will do wonders for your nerves and your baby’s digestion. Turn off the TV, play some soothing music, dim the lights and let your energy level slow down and become peaceful. A drop of lavender essential oil in the hollow of your throat will help you de-stress and soothe your baby, too. Just sitting, breathing and inhaling the scent will relieve the jangled nerves.
If you’re breastfeeding, you have the blessing of being able to be able to treat your baby’s colic by adjusting what you’re eating. Everything you eat goes to your baby through breast milk so avoid foods that can cause gas and cramping. Good examples are broccoli, kale, cauliflower, chocolate, dairy foods, spicy foods, anything high in sugar and caffeine. Try adding probiotics to your diet as well such as yogurt, kefir or acidophilus. They will go to your baby’s digestive tract as well.
For herbal assistance, the go to herb for treating colic is fennel. Try drinking 2 or 3 cups of fennel tea every day to get enough your baby through your breast milk. If you are bottle feeding, a baby only needs about 1 tablespoon of fennel tea and while you probably can’t get a baby to drink fennel tea, you can easily hide the taste of 1 tablespoon in an 8 oz. bottle. If you still can’t your baby to drink it, add about 1 tablespoon of apple juice to the bottle as well to sweeten it.
If you just cannot take the taste of fennel tea, try chamomile, catnip or lemon balm tea instead. These are not only soothing to your baby’s digestive tract but they are soothing for Mom’s raw nerves, too. Any of these teas are available at whole food or health food stores. Rosemary Gladstar offers this excellent recipe for Slippery Elm Tea.
Slippery Elm Tea
- 1 part marshmallow root, powdered
- 1 part slippery elm bark, powdered
- 1/8 part cinnamon, powdered
- 1/8 part fennel seed, powdered
- Purified water
- Maple syrup
Mix these herbs together and store them in an airtight container and use them as needed. Since these herbs are all in powdered form, there is no need to strain the tea before drinking it.
Take 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture per cup of water. Bring your water to a boil and stir in the herb mixture. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup. You can store any unused tea in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.
To serve, warm the tea and add to your baby’s juice or cereal. An infant can drink as much of this tea as desired. If your baby is nursing, you should drink 3 or 4 cups a day.
Sources for Herbs and Herbal Remedies
With these and all herbs, make sure you are getting them from a trusted source that sells only organically grown herbs. Always consult your doctor, naturopath or herbalist before you start a regimen with herbal remedies if you have any medical conditions, especially those that affect how your body metabolizes medications. If you want to use herbs to treat your family, here are some good sources:
I hope this information helps. If you have any other questions, please feel free to write me here through Green Child Magazine, through my site at The Herbalist Journal, or consult a local herbalist for more “hands on” information and assistance.
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