Probiotics for colic

Probiotics for colic

A fussy, irritable inconsolable infant that cries and screams is very disheartening to parents.  

If the excess crying is not linked to any of the common ailments of infants, like infections, reflux, allergies, intestinal or feeding problems, they may simply be colic. It can start as early as 3 weeks and last up to 4 months of age. Colic is often associated with distention and gas that makes infants irritable and uncomfortable. Colic infants often have continuous crying that cannot easily be soothed despite parents best efforts to soothe the baby.


Current research is evaluating how probiotics may help with infant colic. An Italian study of 554 infants added 5 probiotic baby drops every day to either breastmilk or formula for the first 3 months of life. At 3 months of age, the babies given the probiotic cried 38 minutes compared to babies who didn't receive the probiotic who cried 71 minutes daily. The babies on probiotics also spit up less and had more bowel movements.

Also worth noting: even though probiotics are expensive, parents saved money with fewer emergency room visits and less work loss. 

Bottom Line: Probiotic infant drops seem to lessen colic (and regurgitation), but it is unknown whether all probiotics work as well as the one used in the study (Biogaia).

*Jour Amer Med Association Pediatrics (JAMA Pediatrics) 2013;167:1150-7.

** JAMA Pediatrics 2014;168:22-33.