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Maybe the word miraculous is a bit much (well, not really, if you had or have a colicky baby) but there is some great news coming from a couple of studies of babies with colic. Some babies have mild colic with several crying spells throughout the day. Others have very severe cases with eight or nine hour crying spells, often with only minutes of silence in between.
A new mother with a colicky baby can become quite seriously frustrated, upset, exhausted and depressed when her beautiful new arrival begins to cry after a couple of weeks of eating and sleeping. It takes longer and longer to soothe baby and for some parents the crying can be endless. Hour after hour of hard crying that sometimes lead to screaming can interfere with bonding, form resentments and make a parent feel like an utter failure. Sometimes, no amount of nursing, holding, rocking or swaddling will help. No mother wants to see her baby in pain. So she just sits with her newborn for weeks and sometimes months, and cries as hard as her baby.
But there may be some really good news. A couple of studies of solely breastfed babies, when looked at together, found that babies with colic have too much of the "bad" bacteria in their guts and not enough of the "good". Babies without colic were seen to have far less of the bad bacteria. A study in 2007 found that some breastfed colicky babies were given medication for gas, and the other half were given a good bacteria called L reuteri, as an edible probiotic. The results showed that the babies who had received the gas medication still cried an average of 2.5 hours a day while the babies who had the probiotic saw their crying down to 51 minutes a day while– a very significant reduction. Also significant – a similar study last year had the same results.
Parents with colicky babies should talk to their doctors about giving a probiotic to their children and see if this can calm their unhappy babies. Not only will be make for a calmer, peaceful baby but will see a much happier parent who can come out of the depths of despair that colic can bring, and begin to enjoy baby once more.
Do you (or did you) have a colicky baby?