Babies with colic often cry for hours, and it's challenge to find ways to soothe them. New research may have found a cure for colic.
NewsCenter 5's Heather Unruh reported Tuesday that Jocelyn Levinson knows a lot about colic. She takes care of infants at the Waltham YMCA.
"A lot of the colicky babies tears will come down their face, and it will last a long time -- not just two or three seconds," Levinson said.
That chronic fussiness affects about one-quarter of all babies. There is no cure. Trying different treatments or folk remedies can be a struggle. But a new study is out in the journal Pediatrics about a new treatment for colic.
"It was statistically significant," Children's Hospital Boston registered nurse Lisa Keeler said.
Researchers followed two groups of colicky babies who were breastfed. Half received a probiotic known as lactobacillus reuteri.
"The good bacteria that are found in the intestinal system," Keeler said.
This probiotic is in breast milk, many over the counter pills and yogurts.
"It took almost four weeks, but by day 28 of the study it was a greater than 50 percent decrease in the crying time as compared to the gas drops," Keeler said.
In fact, after a month only 7 percent of the babies, who got Simethicone, or gas drops, saw relief, crying an average of 25 percent less.
But among the babies who received the probiotic, almost all of them -- 95 percent -- were less irritable, and they cried less than half as often as before.
While the probiotic seemed to really soothe the babies, and it is safe, experts said that you shouldn't run out to the drug store and buy it just yet.
"Although those results were statistically significant, the bottom line was that they recommended more research," Keeler said.
They're not sure why the probiotics worked, but the bacteria might boost a baby's immune system and help them cope better with the symptoms. Also, babies showing the early signs of allergies fared well in this study, finding some relief after being given probiotics.