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Colic: Harmful Treatments

Topic Overview

Do not use unapproved, unproven, or potentially dangerous substances or methods as treatment for your baby who has colic.

Potentially dangerous treatments include:

  • Gripe water. Varying ingredients are used in blends labelled as gripe water. In some batches, alcohol is a main ingredient. Ask your baby's doctor before using gripe water.
  • Medicines, such as antispasmodics or sleep aids. These and other medicines can have potentially serious and even deadly side effects in infants. If your doctor prescribes them to treat other symptoms your baby is having, be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
  • Placing a hot-water bottle or heating pad on your baby's stomach. Babies burn easily—do not use heated items such as these.
  • Quieting a baby with alcohol. Even dipping a pacifier in brandy or other alcoholic drinks is dangerous.

Methods not proven effective include:

  • Stopping breastfeeding. Sometimes people believe that the mother may not be producing enough milk for the baby or that her baby is allergic to the milk. But this is rarely the case, and weaning a colicky baby to formula can make the colic worse.
  • Feeding foods (such as baby cereal and solids) earlier than recommended.
  • Switching to a soy-based formula when milk allergy symptoms are not present.

Credits

Current as of:
May 27, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics