Colic: it’s the one word that can strike dread into the heart of any new mum or dad who has spent too many evenings jiggling, cuddling and soothing their screaming baby, all to no avail.
It affects one in five babies, but no-one seems to know the true cause of extended crying in little ones. Trapped wind, indigestion and a temporary gut sensitivity to milk have all been floated as theories, but all we know is that most tots grow out of it by four months.
Steamy bathrooms, long car journeys and swaddling may bring some blessed relief to colicky babies, but a new study has suggested turning to probiotics probably won’t ease the symptoms of the condition.
The study, which was carried out by researchers in Australia and Canada, found the ‘friendly bacteria’ in the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri could actually make colic worse.
‘Time and plenty of reassurance are the only things that can help parents dealing with a colicky infant’
While studying 167 breast-fed and forumula-fed babies with colic, the research team noted that the tots who were given daily drops of the probiotic actually cried and fussed for almost an hour longer than the ones given a placebo.
Writing up their results for the British Medical Journal, the researchers said probiotics ‘did not reduce crying or fussing in infants with colic, nor was it effective in improving infant sleep, maternal mental health, family or infant functioning, or quality of life’.
They added: ‘These findings differ from previous smaller trials of selected populations and do not support a general recommendation for the use of probiotics to treat colic in infants.’
Lead researcher William Bennett Jr of the Indiana University School of Medicine even went on to say that time and plenty of reassurance are the only things that can help parents dealing with a colicky infant.
What have you tried to help ease your baby’s colic? Let us know in the comments below.