There Might Be A Simple, Natural Way To Treat Colic, New Study Finds

Ad failed to load

Australian researchers may have discovered a simple, natural way to treat colic — at least for breastfed babies. The positive evidence could potentially give some parents serious relief, since studies show that up to one-quarter of otherwise healthy babies cry and fuss more than normal. Colicky babies are younger than 5 months old and cry for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks, according to Baby Center.

Research shows that, on top of driving parents off the walls, colic can strain family relationships, increase the risk of parental depression, and impact breastfeeding.

"Many parents search desperately for something that will treat or even 'cure' their baby’s colic," Holly Klaassen, founder and editor of The Fussy Baby Site for parents of colicky and "high needs" babies, told The Huffington Post. "Unfortunately, doctors haven’t been able to provide many answers."

Ad failed to load

Until now. Research led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne (MCRI) published this week in the journal Pediatrics has found that a probiotic called "Lactobacillus reuteri" can actually help reduce crying and fussing in some breastfed babies, according to The Age. The researchers looked at 345 babies and found that the probiotic group was twice as likely as the placebo group to experience a 50 percent reduction in crying over three weeks, according to SBS News, an Australian source; the reduction in crying time was 13 to 15 minutes greater per day for the probiotic group.

NHS Choices on YouTube

Breastfeeding babies who were given the probiotic reduced crying after 21 days by an average of almost 50 minutes a day, compared to those who did not have the treatment, according to The Age. Further research is required to determine whether or not treatment is proven to be effective in formula-fed infants. So far it's not, SBS reported, perhaps because breastfed and formula-fed infants have different gut microbiota or flora.

Ad failed to load

Infants' digestive systems play a major role in how much they cry and fuss because their digestive systems may be dealing with bacterial changes or are simply not developed enough yet — and probiotics (which are live "good" bacteria) can improve gut health, according to The Huffington Post.

To confirm that the probiotic does indeed work, the MCRI collaborated with 11 other institutions around the world, combining raw data from four major double-blind placebo controlled Lactobacillus reuteri trials from Italy, Poland, Canada, and Australia, SBS reported. The Australian trial showed Lactobacillus reuteri to be ineffective, but when combined with the other trials, it was clear that it worked for exclusively breastfed babies.

Ad failed to load

Parents can find the probiotic at stores like Target for about $30 with Gerber, but they should realize that this is not a cure. "It may help some babies stop crying for some time," lead author, pediatrician Dr. Valerie Sung said, according to The Age. "It does not mean that things will be fixed overnight."

Dr. Sung also told The Age that parents should think about stopping the probiotic once the period of crying is over because, although the study's researchers know that it is safe in the short term, they don't yet have information about long-term effects.

In fact, an editorial accompanying the review in the journal Pediatrics argued that it is too soon to recommend probiotics for colicky babies, breastfed or not, The Huffington Post reported. The editorial pointed out that the incidence of colic in infants who are not given probiotics also drops with time — from 20 percent in the first six weeks of life to 11 percent by weeks eight or nine.

Ad failed to load

So if you eventually decide to treat your baby with probiotics (with your doctor's OK), remember that it's not a cure-all. But you might, at the very least, finally catch some more Z's. That's something.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills