Colic has many parents up at night, searching for answers. The one clear answer about infant colic is that there are no clear answers. Definitions of colic vary, estimates of how many babies have it vary, and remedies especially vary widely. A recent study gathered data from all previously published clinical trials of various alternative therapies for colic — such as herbal extracts, sugar solutions, chiropractic and probiotics — and even the results are not entirely clear.
Despite the fact that three out of four studies on chiropractic treatments indicated success, three studies of fennel extract alone or with chamomile tea showed “significantly higher relief” than a placebo, and five studies confirmed that sugar solutions alleviated symptoms, the authors of the overall review believe that there are too many flaws in all of these trials for the results to be given validity.
Some sources define colic as a condition where an otherwise healthy, well-fed baby cries more that three hours a day, for more than three days a week, between ages three weeks and three months, with the crying usually starting suddenly at about the same time each day. Others define colic as severe, fluctuating abdominal pain caused by gas or intestinal obstruction. Estimates of the percentage of babies who suffer from colic ranges from 5 to 50 percent. Studies have shown, however, that Mylicon, a popular over-the-counter remedy, is ineffective, and that some prescription medications could even be .
The bottom line seems to be that nobody has all the answers. So what should weary parents of colicky babies do? Talk to your pediatrician, try everything — from acupuncture to herbs, walking to white noise — take care of yourself, get help when needed, and know that as the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.” Most sources agree that colic — however you define it — usually stops after three or four months.