Colic Babies Cramp Family Lifestyle

Probiotics and sugar water may reduce colic

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Colicky babies are difficult and frustrating, especially for first time parents. The despair parents feel while seeking ways to help their baby is very real. So what can parents do to help their sobbing baby?

Dr. Edzard Ernst, of the Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, in the United Kingdom, reviewed 15 clinical trials designed to test alternative therapies for colic and assessed the findings of these 15 trials. The chosen trials studied several therapies which included chiropractic manipulation, sugar water, fennel, herbal supplements, reflexology, soy-enriched formula, and probiotics (beneficial bacteria found in healthy intenstines and available in some foods). 

dailyRx Insight: If you have a colicky baby, try some sugar water.

The review found a lack of support for the chiropractic remedies. A small reflexology study showed some improvement, but when reflexology targeted  feet, the area considered therapeutic for colic, there was no difference in the result when  compared to touching other parts of the body.   The human touch itself may be the improvement.

Three studies looked into herbal supplements.  One study found improvement when babies received a fennel extract.  Fennel is a known antispasmodic which may help the food move more quickly through the intestine. The second study gave babies a tea with chamomile, vervain, licorice, fennel and balm-mint, which also showed improvement.  The third study gave infants a similar tea containing fennel, lemon balm and chamomile, and again these babies also cried less.

Two studies reviewed giving sugar water for the colicky baby.  Parents reported significantly less crying when given sugar water. A study on probiotics, thought to help digestion, had great results. This probiotics study found 95% of the babies seemed to reduce the length of their crying time.

This compares to the not so spectacular finding that babies given Mylicon or PediaCare Infants’ Gas Relief reduced their crying time by only 7%. These products are considered the best prescription medicine available for colic at this time. 

Given the excellent results, further study is definitely due for probiotics.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 29, 2011
Citation: 
Last Updated:
March 29, 2011