Using Fennel to Calm a Colicky Baby

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Post by Contributing Writer, Stacy

If you are the mother of a colicky baby, you know how very difficult it is to listen to your sweet one cry day after day.

Your baby is warm, dry, and well-fed, but remains distressed, uncomfortable, and exceedingly fussy. Nothing you do seems to help.

I’ve been there. It is tough. Seeing our children in pain is one of the hardest things a mother must deal with. Especially when all our efforts fall flat.

There are many suggestions when it comes to bringing relief to a colicky baby: bicycling the legs, giving a massage, and swaddling, to name a few.  Fennel tea is another remedy you may wish to add to your fussy baby toolbox.

Fennel is known to relax the intestines, relive gas and alleviate general discomfort in the digestive tract. It is also acts as a mild laxative. These benefits make it an excellent choice for fussy, colicky, and gassy babies.

Fennel tea is simple to make, just add 1 teaspoon to 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Strain. The steeping time can be reduced to 10 to 15 minutes by crushing the seeds first.

A breastfeeding mother can drink this tea and pass along the benefits through her milk (an added benefit is that fennel also promotes lactation). A dropper full (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) may be added to a bottle of breast milk, formula, or water and given to the baby. It is also considered safe to give this tea directly to the baby in small doses. (I did all of the above at different times.)

Here is a recap of the preparation and dosage information:

For the nursing mama to drink -

1 teaspoons whole fennel seeds to 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Or crush the seeds and steep for only 10 to 15 minutes.

Drink 1 cup, 3 times a day.

For the baby –

1 to 2 droppers full (1/2 to 1 teaspoon), 3 times a day.

In An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants, Mary Bove, N.D. recommends mixing fennel with anise and dill seeds to make a tea for babies with colic or gas:

Seed Tea for Colic and Gas

1/2 teaspoon fennel
1/2 teaspoon anise
1/2 teaspoon dill seeds

Mix all in a canning jar, saucepan, or tea press. Add 12 ounces of boiling water and cover. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain.

Dosage

For infants: 1 to 2 droppers full (up to 1 1/2 teaspoons), every half hour as needed.
For toddlers: 2 to 3 teaspoons, every 1/2 hour as needed.

Two of my children have been extremely colicky. I walked around in a daze for many, many months and tried numerous strategies for easing the pain my child was obviously experiencing.

With my first, I didn’t know about fennel tea, and didn’t find anything else to help. My third child drank her share of fennel tea, and I did too. I won’t say it cured her or solved all our issues, but it did help.

Hang in there. This too shall pass. I promise.

Looking back from the other side, I can see it was a relatively short time, although it felt like years when I was in it!

Do you use fennel tea for relive the symptoms of colic or gas in babies? What other suggestions do you have for calming fussy babies?

As with anything, please do your own research. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease.

Stacy is wife to a preacher and mom to three busy children. She strives to live a healthy, happy life with God at the helm. Stacy writes about finding peace and joy at home, on her blog: Delighting in the Days.

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25 comments to Using Fennel to Calm a Colicky Baby

  • Oh how I wish I knew about this months ago!!! My poor little was grumpy all the time. And now that grumpiness has stopped, he having a terrible time teething. Fennel doesn’t work for that does it..? LOL

    [Reply]

  • [...] sharing how to use Fennel Tea to calm a colicky baby over at Frugal Granola [...]

  • Laura

    My neice had colic until they found out the cure is probiotics. Her mother took probiotics (which you can find in fermented food like saerkraut, miso, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, and such things, or in capsule form) and the baby got some of it when she nursed. I’m guessing the indigestion of colic is just caused by a lack of friendly digestive flora, because the baby never had colic after that.

    [Reply]

    Stacy @ Delighting in the Days Reply:

    @Laura, I’ve heard that probiotics can do wonders for fussy babies with tummy trouble. It’s great to hear that it worked for your niece.

    [Reply]

  • AmyAnne

    We used Gripe Water, which includes fennel. It helped a little. We still give it to her, she’s 4 months old, for hiccups. Works like a charm!

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @AmyAnne, The Gripe Water has been effective over the years for our little ones, too, but I’ve found that the fennel that Stacy recommends is certainly more cost-effective, and just as useful. Thanks! :)
    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • My baby was incredibly fussy… and for a couple of months we tried all of the tricks mentioned. And then, we realized that she had pretty severe reflux. When all else fails, reflux could be to blame! The zantac that she took helped a good bit, but she was still an incredibly fussy baby… Please don’t just write it off as colic – it could be a real medical condition. With all of the well baby checks that you go to early on, be sure to mention this to your doctor. And, if back in the day you yourself were described as colicy… reflux used to be called colic. Reflux also seems to run in families – so be sure to ask your mom!

    [Reply]

    Stacy @ Delighting in the Days Reply:

    @clothespin, You bring up a great point! Reflux is so very uncomfortable for little babes and is something that often goes undiagnosed. Also, a very good idea to ask your mom about it!

    [Reply]

  • [...] Frugal Granola — Using Fennel to Calm a Colicky Baby [...]

  • Lorinda

    My son had me up for nights on end, the only way he would sleep was on my chest or with a warm compress on his tummy. It got so bad that he did not sleep for more than half an hour at a time. One of my friends said to take him to the chiropractor! The best thing I ever did for us! He slept for 4 hours after the first session! After the second session the colic was gone! We had the normal newborn routine of drinking and sleeping for 3 hours at a time

    [Reply]

  • [...] Frugal Granola — Using Fennel to Calm a Colicky Baby [...]

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  • [...] and diluted 2 tsp in a glass of water and administered 2 x 0.6ml with an eye dropper.  I also made fennel seed tea both for Tristan and myself.  This site too.  I am amazed at what I’m finding on the [...]

  • [...] Using Fennel to Calm a Colicky Baby | Frugal GranolaColic is a common occurrence that usually affects babies in the first few weeks of their lives, but can go on for about four or possibly five months. It can affect as … [...]

  • charlet

    Hi. Would to know about your fennel that drink in tea can it help to increase your breast bigger as I’ve be reading about the fennel tea. And how much and were to buy and your answer about will it help.

    [Reply]

  • Alisha Whaley

    Hello,
    I was wondering how long does the fennel tea last? How do you store it. Room temp or in the fridge?

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    I’ve heard for best effectiveness, you usually don’t want to store herbal teas longer than 24-48 hours. It probably won’t spoil in that short amount of time, though, if you do need to keep it for longer. I’ve stored it in the fridge.

    [Reply]

  • Kirsty Orr

    Hi,

    Can I just ask if stacy was nursing her babies at the time? I have a very windy breastfed baby who struggles to bring up all her wind and have just begun using fennel tea myself. However, when I posted on a breastfeeding site for advice I was told that breastfed babies don’t get wind. I beg to differ as have breastfed three babies, all of whom got wind. It’s just this one that seems to really struggle to bring it up. Just wondering your opinion. Thanks, kirsty

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    Yes, she was. For breastfeeding advice, I recommend KellyMom.com.

    [Reply]

  • Hollie

    My german MIL said that Fennel tea is regularly given to newborns in the hospital. When I brought my first one home, he cried all night. It wasn’t until morning that I finally relented and let my husband give the baby fennel tea. Soon after having it, the baby started passing gas and finally went to sleep. I breast fed him and still gave him tea. Now I’ve also done that with my other two. Fennel tea is also helps them calm down a bit too.

    [Reply]

  • Donna

    My Hungarian grandmother used fennel tea for her children, my mother used it for her children, I used it for my children, and now my daughter is using it for my precious grandchildren. It is one of the secrets I always share with new mothers. So far, everyone that has tried fennel tea for their baby swears by it! Sometimes it is the simple,old time remedies that turn out to be the best.

    [Reply]

  • mary

    I tried the tsp of fennel seeds to a 8oz of water boiled and let it sit for 20 minutes. My little grandbaby is smiling again. She was so fussy. I swear by this. I like it mostly because it isn’t all full of drugs and such.

    [Reply]

  • I’m an herbalist, a mother of three and the founder of secretsoftea.com
    After using funnel seeds mixed with other natural herbs on my own babies and seeing the wonderful results of that formula, I decided to let every baby and parent take advantage of Babies’ Magic Tea
    This herbal formula broke the myth of having sleepless nights when having a baby,

    [Reply]

  • ElleJay

    What about using fennel powder? I went to the health food store and bought some fennel powder instead of seeds. Not sure how I would make it into a tea for the baby?

    [Reply]

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