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A Cure for Colic? Probiotics May Prove Miraculous for Colicky Babies

By HERWriter Guide
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Parenting related image Photo: Getty Images

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.

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Do you (or did you) have a colicky baby?

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Probiotics really do stand up to scientific scrutiny. I just reviewed some of the scientific studies around colic and probiotics on my blog:
It turns out they are much more effective than the pharamacological treatments that some doctors recommend. This is one area where "alternative" medicine techniques are the way to go.

March 22, 2011 - 7:53am
EmpowHER Guest

The study conducted was with BioGaia Probiotic drops for infants. I used these on both of my colicky infants and, yes, they are miraculous!

February 18, 2011 - 3:03pm
EmpowHER Guest

Probiotics are fantastic, I give my little girl a supplement as she suffered from colic - I think due to digestive issues - she was a very unhappy little girl. These days, however, since I've started her on the probiotics she's been a completely different little soul, very happy and smiley. I can't recommend them enough, we take these probiotics...[website link removed by EmpowHER moderator]

February 18, 2011 - 3:27am

Thanks for this great review. The evidence is building for the use of probiotics for colic. I believe more and more companies will start to manufacture powders for infants and formula. There is also great evidence for the use of probiotics in adults. Keep up the great articles!

Jason Ryz, MD
[website link removed by EmpowHER moderator]

February 17, 2011 - 5:11pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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