Colic is when a baby cries inconsolably for no clear reason. Crying is often in the afternoon or early evening. It often happens at the same time each day. It can start as early as two weeks and often stops by five months of age. The cause is not known. It is thought to be due to a young digestive system.
It is treated by reducing stimulation and changing diet and feeding techniques.
Natural treatments may help to soothe their babies.
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements your baby is taking. Some may get in the way of your baby’s treatment plan or other health problems. Some supplements listed here have certain concerns. For example:
A1. Landgren K, Kvorning N, et al. Acupuncture reduces crying in infants with infantile colic: a randomised, controlled, blind clinical study. Acupunct Med. 2010 Dec;28(4):174-179.
A2. Skjeie H, Skonnord T, et al. Acupuncture for infantile colic: a blinding-validated, randomized controlled multicentre trial in general practice. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2013 Dec;31(4):190-196.
A3. Landgren K, Hallström I. Effect of minimal acupuncture for infantile colic: a multicentre, three-armed, single-blind, randomised controlled trial (ACU-COL). Acupunct Med. 2017 Jun;35(3):171-179
B1. Perry R, Hunt K, et al. Nutritional supplements and other complementary medicines for infantile colic: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):720-733.
B2. Dobson D, Lucassen PL, et al. Manipulative therapies for infantile colic. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Dec 12;12:CD004796.
C1. Ize-Ludlow D, Ragone S, et al. Chemical composition of Chinese star anise (illicium verum) and neurotoxicity in infants. JAMA. 2004 Feb 4;291(5):562-563.
C2. Perry R, Hunt K, et al. Nutritional supplements and other complementary medicines for infantile colic: a systematic review. Pediatrics. 2011 Apr;127(4):720-733.
C3. Jain K, Gunasekaran D, et al. Gripe water administration in infants 1-6 months of age—a cross-sectional study. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015 Nov;9(11):SC06-8.
C4. Harb T, Matsuyama M, et al. Infant colic—what works: a systematic review of interventions for breast-fed infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016 May;62(5):668-686.
D1. Anabrees J, Indrio F, et al. Probiotics for infantile colic: a systematic review. BMC Pediatr. 2013 Nov 15;13:186.
D2. Sung V, Collett S, et al. Probiotics to prevent or treat excessive infant crying: systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Dec;167(12):1150-1157.
D3. Sung V, Hiscock H, et al. Treating infantile colic with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: double blind, placebo controlled randomised trial. BMJ. 2014 Apr 1;348:g2107.
D4. Chau K, Lau E, et al. Probiotics for infantile colic: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938. J Pediatr. 2015 Jan;166(1):74-78.
D5. Harb T, Matsuyama M, et al. Infant colic—what works: a systematic review of interventions for breast-fed infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2016 May;62(5):668-686.
D6. Schreck Bird A, Gregory PJ, et al. Probiotics for the treatment of infantile colic: a systematic review. J Pharm Pract. 2017 Jun;30(3):366-374.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 3/2/2019