Baby Colic Remedies For Infant Gut Health



As a new parent, you have likely encountered an episode of fussiness and prolonged, inconsolable crying for no clear reason. This is the classic definition of baby colic [1], [2].

Baby colic is typically defined by the “Rule of 3”. This is when your baby cries for:

  • More than 3 hours per day
  • More than 3 days per week
  • Lasting more than 3 weeks [3], [4]

If you’re bouncing a colicky baby, know you’re not alone. Research suggests that 10-26% of babies experience colic [5]–[7].

When does colic start? Colic starts as soon as the second week of life and peaks at six weeks old but can resolve on its own by 12-16 weeks of age [3].

It is important to keep in mind that colic is equally common in:

  • Babies that are breastfed or bottle-fed
  • Preterm and full-term babies

Baby colic symptoms

While the number one symptom of baby colic is crying, all babies cry for a variety of reasons. What sets baby colic apart are issues like [1], [3]:

  • Excessive crying that cannot be consoled, and may even resemble screaming or pain
  • Crying and fussiness that is not related to fever, hunger, or the need for a diaper change [7], [8]
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Skin blushing or flushing
  • Stiff arms and legs, clenched fists, and arched back
  • Tense abdomen
  • Predictable timing (often these episodes happen in the late afternoon or evening)

A diagnosis of colic can be made by your pediatrician by evaluating these symptoms and baby history.

That said, it’s important to differentiate colic from other problems, like reflux or infection [3]. If crying shows up with other symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, be sure to consult with your pediatrician [1], [7], [9].

What causes colic in babies?

It’s still unclear what the true cause of baby colic is and it’s likely caused by many factors.

While we don’t know what causes colic in babies, we do know that it may be related to [1], [3]:

Tiny Health biometrics: Bacteria linked to colic

As it turns out, an imbalance in your baby’s gut may lead to baby colic.

This may have to do with high numbers of unfriendly microbes that are responsible for producing gas, like Escherichia coli and Klebsiella [5], [7], [10]. And low numbers of protective microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus [5], [7], [16], [21].

Research about this topic is constantly evolving.

What we do know is that the gut microbiome of babies with colic is different from what we see in babies without colic. Suggesting that “pioneer” microbes at birth may be important for the onset of baby colic [7].

After sifting through the research on baby colic and the gut microbiome, the Tiny Health team of scientists carefully chose a set of bacteria to determine whether your baby has bugs that are associated with signs of colic. Like excessive crying, sleep issues, or gassiness. 

This is what we call a “Colic Association” and you can find it in your Tiny Health report.

Four baby colic remedies that can support infant gut health

Some baby colic remedies are a little more robust than others. You may want to try one baby colic remedy at a time. Or, take a combination approach. All babies are different. Do what works for you and your family.

Soothing strategies you can try, include [1], [3], [22]:

  • Using a pacifier
  • Going out for a stroller walk
  • Swaddling your baby
  • Gentle rocking
  • Placing your baby on their tummy for a back rub
  • Turning on a loud fan or white noise machines

When troubleshooting colic, you may want to try products with simethicone, a medication that helps relieve gas pain.

But research suggests that it may be ineffective at reducing colic [22]–[24]. Whereas dicyclomine, another medication that has been proposed to treat colic, can have serious side effects and is not recommended in babies younger than 6 months old [3].

Since there is not a standard course of treatment for baby colic, you may want to explore gentle colic remedies to reduce the pain associated with it [25]. 

Below are four natural baby colic remedies that may also support infant gut health:

  1. Probiotics. Baby-friendly probiotics can make a difference and may help alleviate baby colic and reduce crying time [26]. When it comes to selecting the best probiotic for your baby, look for Lactobacillus reuteri [10], [12], [14] and strains belonging to Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium genera [16], [27]. 
  2. Herbal remedies. Chamomile, gripe water, or fennel oil have been shown to help improve baby colic [28]–[32]. However, there are a limited number of studies for herbal complementary medications in babies and ingredients can vary among preparations [33], [34]. Be sure to check with your pediatrician before using.
  3. Homeopathic remedies. While studies are limited, homeopathic remedies may be a safe and effective way of reducing infant colic symptoms when compared with simethicone [35]. Dr. Elisa Song, integrative pediatrician and Tiny Health Advisory Board member, incorporates homeopathic medicines in her practice for infants with colic. As always, check with your pediatrician before using one of these for your baby.
  4. Baby massage. You may also want to explore baby massage classes, either locally or online. Research suggests that some babies under 12 weeks old can see a significant improvement in crying when full body massage is given to a baby twice daily, for 15-20 minutes [36].


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