Boiled Onion Water For Colic Baby – Does It Work?

Boiled onion water is a popular home remedy for treating colicky babies. Since there’s no medication available to treat it, most parents gravitate towards home remedies such as onion water. Onion is a good source of vitamins, fiber, nutrition, and aids in the digestion of food. But onion can turn out to be gassy for some babies. There’s no scientific evidence stating onion water is good for treating colic in infants.

Seeing your infant cry for hours every day due to colic can make you want to seek any form of treatment available.

One such home remedy which seems to have worked for many mothers is feeding a spoonful of onion water mixed in a milk bottle to their babies.

Every parent is sick of hearing there’s no known cause of colic, and there could be contributing factors.

So when it comes to treatment, the only goal is to find a way to soothe the baby and leave it to parents to find a remedy as weird as feeding onion water!

The misery of colic

Colic in babies is one such health issue that doesn’t have a reasonable cause but a series of things that could be causing it.

It’s frustrating to see your infant cry for hours when you’ve tried every way to console them.

These excessive crying episodes usually peak in infants at about 6 weeks of life and start to decline around 3-4 months of age.

But before we jump into using boiled onion water as a home remedy, it’s best to see the colic symptoms to see if this is what’s actually troubling your little angel.

Sometimes colic can also be confused with a gassy baby.

These aren’t defining symptoms, but if your baby seems to go through something like this, they could be suffering from colic:

  • Intense crying, which is sometimes intense such as screaming with a painful expression
  • Crying because of no apparent reason
  • Extreme fussiness even after they stopped crying
  • Almost a predictable timing of crying each day and typically in evenings
  • Facial discoloring
  • Tensed body such as stiffened legs, arms, clenched fists, arched backs, or tense abdomen

Onion water for colic

A batch of red onions in a basket

Watching your little angel suffer for hours each day can become tiresome for parents.

With no proper medication for colic available, most parents return to home remedies to seek relief for their babies.

When it comes to feeding onion water to your baby, many parents have concerns over if it can be good for their baby.

Onions can be a good source of nutrition, including for babies. They are packed with fiber and prebiotics, which support digestion.

Many cultures include it all their meals and as a side salad.

They’re also a good source of vitamin C which can help your baby’s body create collagen, combat damaging free radicals, and maintain immunity.

When the onion is taken in smaller amounts, it also provides folate, vitamin B6, and potassium. But as a form of treating colic, it might or might not be helpful.

The recipe is as simple as it sounds, where you boil an onion in water and let it cool down.

After removing the onion, a spoonful from this water is added to the baby’s milk bottle. 

Many parents believe that since onions have digestive properties, it helps let the baby pass gas and help with their digestive system. But there’s no scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of this remedy. 

Onions as part of semi-solid food given to the baby after they cross the 6-month-old threshold are beneficial, but it’s doubtful as a home remedy for colic. 

Other effective home remedies for colic

Mom is giving a warm bath to her infant son to soothe his colic

When treating colic in babies, plenty of other alternative remedies and not just onion water has come in handy for different parents. 

  1. Giving a warm bath to their infant seems to be just what can help them calm down. Of course, warm water helps infants soothe and works as a distraction. 
  2. Applying a warm compress like a towel or hot water bottle might provide relief from the troublesome gas. You can dip a towel in warm water, squeeze it, and gently massage your infant’s tummy with it. 
  3. A massage with almond oil or coconut oil on your baby’s abdomen in circular motions for a few minutes can help digestion go smoothly.
  4. Since your infant can’t walk, you’ll have to make sure they get their muscles stretched and some form of exercise. You can move their legs in a clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. Pedaling the legs like riding a bicycle can be beneficial.
  5. Using asafoetida is a great way to help the baby relieve flatulence and gas and aids indigestion. Also known as Hing, it’s common in India for mothers to use a pinch of it in a teaspoon of water and boil the mixture. Then this concoction is applied to the baby’s navel when it has cooled down a bit.
  6. Basil leaves have antispasmodic properties and help with gastrointestinal problems of the baby. Add a few leaves in water and bring them to a boil. When it has cooled down, feed it to your infant.
  7. A teaspoon of fennel seeds added to boiling water and then strained to get the water is helpful. 
  8. Add a drop of peppermint oil in a teaspoon of massage oil, then rub it in your hands to apply on the baby’s tummy.
  9. Gripe water is a popular remedy for treating an infant’s colic. The water is usually a blend of chamomile, fennel, ginger, and lemon balm. 
  10. Apple cider vinegar and mint tea are usually introduced to babies over 6 months.

Other forms of treatment for colic

A mom is soothing her colicky newborn baby with a pacifier

Soothing the crying child is the ultimate goal when there’s no specific medication to provide relief to them.

Parents are asked to try different soothing techniques, from using a pacifier to swaddling or massaging their tummy.

But mothers are also asked to change their dietary habits so that a breastfed baby isn’t influenced.

A diet without common food allergens such as dairy, eggs, nuts, and wheat can be helpful.

Remove irritants like cabbage and caffeinated beverages.

Bottle-feeding and breastfeeding need the right form and position to ensure your infant isn’t swallowing a lot of air and burp them frequently as a safety measure. 

Parents also need mental support during this challenging phase of their infant suffering from colic.

It’s easy to get irritated and lose your temper, but you need to remember that this shall too pass.

Things can be especially hard as these episodes take place in the evening when you’re tired and want your baby to sleep.

Rely on your partner and divide the duties or ask other trusted family members to help so it doesn’t become overwhelming.


Does onion cause gas in babies?

Onions can, in fact, might cause gas in babies.

If a mother eats food rich in spices and things like onion, or garlic, it might sometimes be problematic to the babies.

Not all mothers follow this restriction and their babies turn out fine, so it rarely happens that onions might cause a gassy situation. 

It varies from one child to another, and some might be tolerable and some not. Most babies are allergic to the things like dairy. 

Is it colic or gas?

Gas seems to be one of the issues of a baby suffering from colic, but it’s not the only issue a baby might face. In colic babies, the digestive system is still taking time to develop.

There’re other factors such as:

– Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
– Food allergies or intolerances
– Overfeeding, underfeeding, or infrequent burping
– An early form of childhood migraine
– Family stress or anxiety

Whereas a gassy baby shows the following symptoms:

– Crying while passing gas or soon after
– Arching the back
– Lifting the legs
– A swollen looking stomach
– Passing gas or belching

Is gripe water good for colic babies?

Gripe water is a popular option for home remedies for treating colicky babies.

It can be considered a herbal remedy, and many parents swear. Though there’s no scientific evidence proving this remedy works.

It is also not something the Food and Drug Administration has approved. 

To summarise

Onion water is an interesting choice for a home remedy for your infant suffering from colic.

When the situation gets out of hand, it can become overwhelming. Parents might just try out anything to make their baby stop crying.

It might not be suitable for them in some cases, so discussing with your pediatrician is essential before you do something you aren’t sure about. 

While there’s no medication available, you can try some things at home to soothe them.

You can also try making a few changes in your diet and excluding things your infant could be allergic to. These tips are much better than trying random home remedies. 

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As a writer for 1happykiddo, Saumya wants to help new parents and older siblings help raise the newest member added to the family. Her parenting tips come from her experience of being 15 years older than her youngest sibling. When not writing, you can find her reading novels, traveling, and cooking nutritious meals.

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