All About Babies

This Treatment Could Offer Real Relief for Breastfed Babies With Colic

New research shows probiotics can be an effective treatment in reducing crying for these L.O.s. 

Crying baby  trailak amtim/shutterstock

Life with a newborn can be truly rough, but if your baby falls into the 10-15% of infants who suffer from colic, marked by unexplained, persistent crying, there's no doubt you've found yourself extremely stressed. Colic is the most common parental concern reported in the first year of life, according to a study published in the journal Nursing Research. Thankfully, researchers have been investigating the condition and may have landed on actionable advice for moms and dads. A new paper published in Pediatrics concludes that a probiotic should be recommended to parents of breastfed infants suffering from colic.

According to, the study provides the most comprehensive evidence yet that the probiotic called Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) which is already sold as relief for babies with colic, is actually an effective treatment.

Other research questioned whether or not L. reuteri was effective in this context. But the scientists involved in the new study reviewed four seperate clinical trials (in Italy, Poland, Canada, and Australia) involving 345 infants with colic in total and have concluded that it does indeed work to reduce crying in exclusively breastfed babies with colic.

The science concluded that the L.O.s who got the probiotic (versus a placebo) were twice as likely to reduce their crying by 50 percent after three weeks of treatment.

Unfortunately, researchers weren't able to make a statement about formula-fed babies, because only one of the four clinical trials included in the review looked at them in addition to breastfed babies. So, clearly, that will be another area of this issue that scientists will need to investigate further. In the meantime, the study authors say the probiotic shows promise for infants who are exclusively breastfed. 

"Parents who are worried about their baby's crying should still see a doctor to check that there is no underlying medical cause for their baby's crying," Sung told ScienceAlert. "If parents are still keen to try something for their baby, then this probiotic is the best option for those who are breastfed. It should be given directly to the baby as five drops a day for three weeks."

It's heartening to see that science is beginning to offer a concrete, solid treatment option to distressed parents of colicky babies. "It's heartbreaking to watch your newborn child struggle to settle," new mother Kim explained in a press release on the study. "You try everything you can to help them as you can see how unhappy they are. If there was something that could provide relief I would definitely try it."