Infant colic - inconsolable crying for at least three hours a day, three days a week in an otherwise healthy baby during the first three months of life - is a common but poorly understood and often frustrating problem for parents.

Even after decades of research the cause of infant colic remains uncertain, but there are probably many contributing factors.

In recent years the role of the gut bacteria has come into focus: a low number of good bacteria and increased concentrations of bad bacteria have been observed in colicky infants compared to healthy ones.

How can one prevent or calm infant colic?

Since there has been no widely accepted and efficient treatment for infant colic, many families have turned to complementary as well as alternative medical and behavioural interventions, such as warm baths, tummy massage and daily routines for sleep and food intake, to provide relief for their babies.

Experts have proven that infant colic can be induced if the breast-feeding mother eats certain foods and that avoiding such kind of food may help the child.

About 25% of infants with moderate or severe symptoms have been diagnosed with cow’s milk-dependent colic that have shown to improve after a few days of hypo-allergenic diet.1

Are there any medical treatments?

Up till now, available treatments for colic have been limited. Simethicone has been widely used in many countries but a clinical study published in Pediatrics in 2007 showed that it is no more efficacious than placebo for infant colic.2

Although anticholinergic drugs have proven effective they are not recommended because of serious adverse events (i.e. breathing difficulties and seizures).3

Instead, probiotics may be beneficial. Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis - the bacteria in BioGaia® - is a probiotic originally isolated from breast milk and has a proven safety and efficacy profile.

Read more about BioGaia®

1 Hill DJ et al. Infantile colic and hypersensitivity. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2000; 30:S67-76.
2 Savino F et al. Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 versus Simethicone in the treatment of infantile colic: a prospective randomized study. Pediatrics, Jan 2007; 119:e124-130.
3 Garrison MM et al. Early childhood: colic, child development, and poisoning prevention. A systematic review of treatments for infantile colic. Pediatrics 2000; 106:184-190.