New research: Colic relief hope for breastfed babies

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Colic treated with probiotics

A simple probiotic could be the key to help babies with colic settle.

Australian researchers have found that a particular strain of probiotic may help reduce crying in exclusively breastfed babies, less than three months old. While experts still don’t know what causes colic, the impact on families is huge. Until now, there hasn’t been an effective treatment for colic.

Hope for unsettled babies

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute led this latest study, which found probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri may help ease colic in little ones.

“We did find evidence that L. reuteri is effective in breastfed babies with colic. The role of L. reuteri in formula-fed babies with colic cannot be determined due to lack of studies,” explained lead author, pediatrician Dr Valerie Sung.

“Ultimately the effectiveness of this treatment will need to be assessed on a case by case basis. It is also important to remember that each probiotic strain works differently. L reuteri is the only probiotic strain that may help crying babies who are breastfed.”

The study looked at trials in Italy, Poland, Canada and Australia – the Australian study was the only one to include both formula and breastfed babies. Researchers found that compared to the placebo, the breastfed group that had taken probiotics was two times more likely to have crying reduced by 50 per cent.

However, the probiotic treatment hasn’t been effective for formula-fed infants. It’s thought that breastfed and formula-fed infants have different gut flora, which impacts the effectiveness of the probiotic.

How else can colic be eased?

Colic treatment found

If you’re concerned your newborn is crying more than usual, a visit to the GP should be your first step. They’ll check bub out to make sure something else is causing them to be unsettled. You should also see your maternal health nurse so they can check how you’re feeding.

Ten tips to help ease colic

1. Check all the usual suspects – make sure bub is dry, fed and comfortable (not too hot or cold).

2. Try and feed your baby if it’s been more than two hours between feeds.

3. Offer comfort – this could be a dummy or breast.

4. Babies love routine, so try and get your feeding and settling into a pattern.

5. Try distraction – some singing or music, even white noise.

6. Pop baby in a sling to see if movement helps.

7. Reduce stimulation. Turn down lights and sounds.

8. Put your little one in a pram and go for a walk.

9. Give baby a soft, soothing massage.

10. Give your bub have a warm, relaxing bath – you can even try having a bath together.

Here are some more tips on settling a baby, or you can try one of these mum-approved ways to get a baby to sleep.

(Information via Raising Children Network)

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