A team of researchers led by Dr. Valerie Sung found that introducing babies to "good" bacteria may help ease colic.
The study, performed at Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, took a look at previous studies and found that there's a future for probiotics, although they weren't able to clarify why just yet. "There is some promise in probiotics," Dr. Sung said, "but we need further research to clarify it." And even though more research on the matter will help researchers understand how it helps, Dr. Sung warns that "parents shouldn't just jump and go get probiotics for crying babies."
In the study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, Sung and her colleagues noted that about one in every five babies younger than three months is affected by colic. As common as it is, there's no known treatment to help babies (and parents) — so how do you even know if baby's got colic?
Chances are if he's been crying at least three hours at a time more than three days a week for over three weeks, it’s colic. The best things happen in threes, right? Although the incessant crying may make you feel helpless, rest assured that colic isn’t an indication of something more serious or something that you’re doing wrong. In fact, colic affects between 10 to 25 percent of infants, and it should taper off by four months of age. While no one knows for sure what causes colic — allergies, immature digestion, milk supply problems — there are ways you can help soothe baby. Babies love to suck, so a pacifier will help calm them down. Rock them along to calming white noise created by a fan or vacuum. Try laying them flat on your chest to help the gas escape or placing them in a car seat above a running washing machine for the vibrations. And always contact your doctor if you have questions.
Now, scientists will set their sights on finding a way to soothe baby's fussiness (and ease your worries!).
What did you do to get through baby's most colicky days?