probiotics treatment for colicHow well I remember the terrible colic one of our kids had. He would cry hours at a time; unable to be comforted. I was a medical student and gone every second or third night and Mary was exhausted. How she ever made it through those months of his endless crying is more than I’ll ever know.

We took him to see many pediatric specialists. Nursing was not helpful in relieving his symptoms so doctor suggested we try soy formula, then goat milk, one doctor suggested a formula of “pre-digested” milk. It smelled just like its name suggested. He would not drink it and if he did, most of it came up and what stayed in his stomach seemed to exasperate his misery. In short, nothing helped!

When he was about four months old, Mary sat him up in a high-chair and let him suck on soft bread with peanut butter. He loved it and the colic went away. We were told, I think rightly so, that colic goes away about that time and it was not the peanut butter, though I still credit it to Jimmy Carter’s farm raised nuts.

Now some decades later an article appears in the journal Pediatrics this January.

The authors concluded that breast fed babies were significantly helped by use of a probiotic containing the Lactobacillus reuteri. Unfortunately, formula fed babies did not show a significant response.

Interestingly, an editorial in the same issue of Pediatrics say it was premature to recommend the probiotic. It appears to me the editor has never listened to a baby cry for months at a time. I would tell parents of a colicky baby by all means try it. We know there are no harmful effects and if something can give these babies and their parents comfort try it! It can’t hurt.

Before I started to write this post I wondered if it was possible to get Lactobacillus reuteri in the USA, considering the article was from Australia. A quick search found Gerber has the product as do a couple of other companies. All are available, of course, on Amazon; no prescription needed.