probiotics reduce crying time in infants with colic

You’ve been up all night, and your baby can’t stop crying. He’s miserable and holding his tummy. His little legs are pulled up tight against his belly, and his fists are clenched. You try to soothe him, but it offers little comfort. Your baby has colic. But there really is help.

Colic is a common condition suffered by babies, especially in the first three month. It affects 10-30% of infants.

Several studies have shown that something as simple and safe as probiotics can help. Giving your baby probiotics can dramatically reduce crying time and fussing time (JAMA Pediatr 2014;168:228-33; J Pediatr 2015;166:74-8; J Paediatr Child Health 2014;50:801-5).

Probiotics are not only safe and effective, they may be more effective than drugs. When babies were given either probiotics or the drug simethicone, the babies on the drug cried for 145 minutes a day; the babies on probiotics cried for only 51. 95% of babies responded to probiotics versus only 7% for simethicone (Pediatrics 2007;119(1):e124-30).

Now a new study has added to the evidence. Babies with colic were given the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri. Babies’ crying time improved from 248.2 minutes at the beginning of the study to a significantly better 45.6 minutes at the end. 85% of the infants had at least a 50% reduction in crying time. Fussiness improved by 66% and 72% of parents thought the colic had improved.

Probiotics work fast but improve over time. There was a 25% decrease in crying by only day 3. But by day 7, it was 41%; by day 14, it was 60% and by day 21, it was 72%. By 28 days, the benefit had reached 78.9%.

This study adds to the growing pile of research demonstrating the significant benefit of probiotics for infants with colic.


Clin Pract. 2022 Feb; 12(1): 37–45


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For much more on treating colic naturally, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

For comprehensive natural help with your baby’s health, including colic, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.

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