We’ve spoken about colic before. Anyone who’s raised an infant has at least some experience here. By definition, we are referring to children 3 mo old who cries for >3 hr/day for >3day/wk. Officially about 20% of infants fit the definition; in reality, many babies will experience at least some colicky periods. Now, there have been almost as many remedies suggested as there are doctors treating the condition: non-medical interventions are always good–swaddling, holding, gently walking with baby; heating pads to baby’s belly, specially prepared colic relieving “gentle” formulas or nursing mother dietary changes, even extra warm baby booties; crib vibrating devices. There have been a variety of medicines tried–“ gas drops” like simethicone or “gripe water”, antacids, up to powerful narcotics like paregoric.
The truth is that all of the above have proponents and all have had some level of at least anecdotal success. With most of the medicines used there have been credible reports of some side effects–in some instances quite serious ones. So I generally try and stay away from drugs as we are dealing with the littlest and most vulnerable people and a problem that, while upsetting and frustrating, is otherwise benign and self-limited (usually by the time the baby is 3 mo old). So, greatest caution should be the order of the day, I think.
Into the mix, we can now add probiotics, specifically those containing a bacteria called Lactobacillus reuterii. Probiotics have actually been used in Europe with good success for quite some time now. Several new studies, as recently as last year, compared L. reuterii to placebo and found significant improvement, at least in breastfed babies. They were 2-3x more likely to see improvement for an average of 46 minutes per day and spit up 2-3x less frequently. Unfortunately, there was no significant improvement demonstrated in formula-fed babies. Dosage is important–about 1,000,000 cells/dose appears to be about right. There are numerous preparations and brands available (I avoid naming or endorsing specific products in this blog). Very few untoward effects have ever been reported; however, I should note that some gastroenterologists express reservations about administering doses of microorganisms to young infants. Therefore it is best if we discuss using probiotics for your fussy baby, so give me a call and let’s talk.
And thanks for following.