Colic affects one in five families, causing stress for the parents and means the baby is in pain; a baby is 'colicky' when it cries for more than three hours a day for three or more days a week.
Babies who are given acupuncture two days a week for two weeks have a 'significant' reduction in their crying, and presumably their pain, researchers in Sweden have found.
The researchers tested the therapy on a group of 147 babies—all aged between two and eight weeks—who had been diagnosed with colic. Two groups were given acupuncture—one on just one acupuncture point for several seconds, and the second on five acupuncture points for up to 30 seconds—and the rest didn't have it.
Although the colic reduced in all three groups—not surprisingly, perhaps, as it tends to self-correct in time—the improvement in the two acupuncture groups was dramatically greater.
And some of the babies in the acupuncture groups stopped suffering from colic completely, the researchers said.
The therapy didn't seem to stress out the babies, and of the 388 treatments given, the babies didn't cry in 200 of them.
The first thing to do to ease colic is to stop giving the baby any cow's milk. But if that fails, try acupuncture, the researchers say.