Breastfeeding? Nursing moms are still eating for two, so those with colicky infants are often advised to eliminate potential offenders from their own diets, including dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, and shellfish. If your baby has a true allergy to one of these foods, she'll likely also have loose stools and vomiting. However, you don't need to be allergic to have a food or an herb disagree with you. For instance, fenugreek, an herb found in tea often used by nursing moms to up their milk supply, can upset the baby's system and cause pain and crying, says Rochester, NY, pediatrician Ruth Lawrence, M.D.
Why they may work for you: "If you didn't have foods like garlic, onions, peppers, cabbage, or broccoli while pregnant, and then began eating them again while breastfeeding, they may make the baby uncomfortable," says Dr. Lawrence. Eliminate the possible culprit from your diet for a week or so to see if it helps. "It won't hurt to limit caffeine, too," she adds, because it can make some babies jittery and fussy.
My dad sees a chiropractor. Some of my runner friends do, too. But babies? And for crying? It's true. "Today about twenty percent of my pediatric patients come in because of colic or digestive issues," says Elise G. Hewitt, a board-certified pediatric chiropractor in Portland, OR. Baby chiro care is not as scary as it may sound. The adjustments involve short, quick impulses delivered to the spine with the hands, as well as using very light touch on the bones of the skull. It's quite comfortable for the child and can be done while he lies on a parent's lap or chest. "Babies often fall asleep during treatment," notes Hewitt.
Why it may work for you: Soon-to-be-published research found that parents were eight times as likely to report a significant reduction in crying when the baby was treated with chiropractic care three or four times over a ten-day period than if the baby wasn't, says lead researcher Joyce Miller, associate professor in clinical sciences at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, in Bournemouth, England. The theory behind it : The practice helps alleviate tightness and joint issues that were caused by a cramped position in utero or during birth. To find a chiropractor experienced with infants, talk to your pediatrician or go to the website of the American Chiropractic Association Pediatrics Council: Acapedscouncil.org.
Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) occurs when the contents of the belly -- and the burning acid that goes with it -- come back up into the esophagus. It may or may not meet the definition of colic, but it sure can cause the same symptoms (read: crying, crying, and more crying). "Essentially, it's colic if the inconsolable crying is causing a disruption in the family. If you think it's a dysfunction, it is," says Lester.
Why they may work for you: Almost all babies spit up to some extent, but those with true GER feel pain associated with it. Many pediatricians will prescribe a trial of an acid blocker or antacid, such as Zantac or Prilosec. These medications are generally safe for little ones but can cause side effects like constipation or vomiting. Before trying one of them, Dr. Baker suggests smaller, more frequent feeding; lots of burping; keeping the baby upright for at least 15 minutes following a feeding; and elevating the head of the crib.