Can ANYONE Help My Crying Baby?—Research on a Digestive System Cause for Infant Colic.

Screaming Baby

“I can’t seem to console my baby, he cries all the time!” Is this colic? The medical definition of colic is a condition of a healthy baby in which it shows periods of intense, unexplained fussing/crying lasting more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks.1

Excessive crying has been shown to lead to more cases of shaken baby syndrome2 and added stress, which may interfere with bonding between mom/dad and baby.3 Many mothers and fathers visiting the pediatrician get a pat on the back and the assurance that “its probably just colic and he or she will out grow it”. This is little consolation for sleep-deprived parents who feel inadequate because they cannot soothe their baby.

What causes colic? More research is being done to find the underlying cause. Many studies have investigated gastrointestinal distress as a possible cause. From a digestive standpoint, studies have shown a reduction in crying time when using herbal teas and preparations that contain ingredients such as chamomile, fennel, and lemon balm.4,5

These botanicals have anti-gas properties, which may point to gas pain as a possible cause of colic. More recently, promising research has pointed to an imbalance of gut flora. One study investigated the differences in gastrointestinal microbial populations of infants diagnosed with colic and found that they had a higher rate of anaerobic gram-negative bacteria and fewer lactobacillus strains.6 Additional studies have shown that probiotic supplementation can reduce crying time.7,8

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1Wessel MA, et al. Paroxismal fussing in infancy, sometimes called “colic.” Pediatrics. 1954; 14:421-435
2Catherine N, Ko J, Barr RG. Should we do more to get the word out? Causes of, responses to and consequences of crying and colic in popular parenting magazines. J Dev Behav Pediatrics 2005;26:14-23
3Levitzky S, Cooper R. Infant colic syndrome: maternal fantasies of aggression and infanticide. Clin Pediatr 2000;39:395 -400[Abstract/Free Full Text]
4Alexandrovich I, Rakovitskaya O, Kolmo E, Sidorova T, Shushunov S. The effect of Fennel (foeniculum vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003;9(4):58–61
5Weizman Z, Alkrinawi S, Glodfarb D, Bitran C. Efficacy of herbal tea preparation in infantile colic. J Pediatr. 1993;122(4):650–652
6Savino, Cresi, Pautasso, et al. Intestinal microflora in breastfed colicky and non-colicky infants Acta Paediatr. 2004 Jun;93(6):825-9.
7Savino F, Emanuela P, Palumeri E, Oggero R, Miniero R. Lactobacillus reuteri (American type culture collection strain 55730) versus Simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: A prospective randomized study. Pediatrics. 2007;119(1):e124-–
8Menthula S, Tuure T, Koskenala R, Korpela R, Könönen E. Microbial composition and fecal fermentation end products from colicky infants: a probiotic supplementation pilot. Microb Ecol Health Dis. 2008;20

What can we recommend based on these studies?

  • Adding chamomile, fennel, and lemon balm, either in tea form or dried herb form, can help ease gas production
  • Supplementing small amounts of lactobacillus or bifidobacterium probiotic strains to support a healthy gut flora may reduce the number of gas-forming bacteria

Luckily, Colic Care® contains these ingredients! Colic is most likely a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental contributions. Utilizing safe and effective approaches to improve your baby’s digestive system is a win-win situation. You can feel confident that you are using the best research by using Colic Care®.

For more information, please view all the information on the Colic Care® website. If you have any questions, please just “Ask Dr. Tara.”

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