Treating Your Baby’s Infant Gas, Colic and Reflux with Probiotics
by A. Lawrence Ph.D.
Anyone who has been put on a course of powerful antibiotics is probably aware of the havoc caused to one’s digestive system as the medication kicks in and does its job. Not only the bacteria causing the infection are targeted for a concentrated attack; other friendly and benign bacteria that are doing such a valuable job throughout the digestive system by helping convert ingested food into nutrients and energy, also come into harm’s way. The result can be extremely unpleasant for the patient – the more powerful the antibiotic the longer and more severe can be its effects on the gastric tract.
Many enlightened physicians have long been aware of this and will often recommend their patients to start taking a readily available probiotic such lactobaccillus acidophilus, lactobacillus reuteri and bifidobacterium infantis. This helps restore intestinal flora and bring the stomach’s natural balance of bacteria and enzymes back to normal as quickly as possible.
Many leading yogurt makers now advertise the fact that their products contain probiotic additives to help deal with digestive problems. Probiotics are thought to work by encouraging the growth of friendly intestinal flora and are believed to actually promote the development of a healthier immune system. Studies have indicated that long-term consumption of infant formulas supplemented with B. lactis and S. thermophilus reduce the incidence of colic and irritability. Other studies have shown that feeding probiotic organisms to infants or young children can reduce the incidence of infections and decrease the incidence or severity of eczema.
Probiotics versus Colic – the likely favorable outcome
So far there is no commonly accepted explanation for colic. A baby is deemed to be “colicky” if it cries intensely for more than three days a week, for more than three hours, for more than three weeks in a month. Over the years, colic has been considered to be the result of abdominal pain arising from trapped gas in the digestive tract. But now a considerable body of medical opinion questions traditional theory and is looking for answers elsewhere.
There is solid and mounting evidence that the causes of colic are related to gut flora. Multiple studies have shown that colicky babies have different gut flora patterns, which includes a lack of Lactobacillus acidophilus. Some of these studies suggest the administering of a probiotic, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, will improve the condition. Probiotics have been shown to improve other conditions associated with colic, such as lactose intolerance, necrotizing enterocolitis, and gastric inflammation. Additionally, probiotics have been shown to generally improve the health of children who take them. Certainly there has been a movement within the health food industry to emphasize the positive qualities of proprietary products such as yogurts containing additional probiotic cultures.
A baby’s first ingestion of friendly digestive bacteria occurs naturally while passing through the birth canal. But there are times when a baby may need assistance in maintaining the levels of these friendly bacteria. It is worth noting, probiotics occur naturally in breastmilk and furthermore a breastfed baby and a formula fed baby have very different gut floras.
Some doctors claim that it is a combination of a baby’s sensitive temperament, the environment, and its immature nervous system that may makes a child cry easily and without control. Others believe that the problem originates in the baby’s digestive system, specifically because of the buildup of gas which cannot readily be released – the traditional theory. But new studies at the Colic Clinic at Brown University have demonstrated that nearly half of babies with colic have mild gastroesophageal reflux (GER). Some cases may be the result of lactose intolerance or lactose overload (the latter when accompanied by green stools).
Given the links between such factors as prenatal stress, birth trauma, maternal stress and colic itself, it has even been suggested that some forms of colic may actually be beneficial. Excessive crying, it is postulated, facilitates a healthy release of stress and needs to be encouraged rather than suppressed or cured. There can’t be too many sleepless parents happy to support that theory.
Although there may be widespread controversy surrounding the actual causes of colic, it is now widely acknowledged that probiotics can have a very beneficial effect on an infant’s evolving digestive system as it gradually learns to cope with new foods. Probiotics certainly seem effective in helping promote the build-up of benevolent gut flora to a level where the right balance is achieved. But it must be stressed that a probiotic needs time to take effect fully in the replenishment of the necessary gut flora – a month or more is now the general consensus. Many pediatricians suggest that during this interim period, a colicky baby can greatly benefit from a regular ingestion of a natural gripe water such as Colic Calm to help sooth the transition to a harmonious digestive process, able to deal with new foods without trouble or colic pains.
What Parents Are Saying
“My grandson is 5 months old and very fussy. I changed his formula to soy milk and that seemed to help but he is still seems to have lots of gas. I ordered colic calm as a last resort and wished I would have bought it a long time ago. I give him a dropper full and he almost calms down right away. It seems to be worth every penny I payed for it and I am a very skeptical person. Thanks Colic Calm for helping my now happy baby.”
“We have been using Colic Calm since Gabe was two months old. I can remember it was the Friday before Christmas that we used it for the first time. Christmas eve night, he slept on my shoulder for the four hours it took my family to open gifts. Christmas day he was all smiles. Gabe is a high need (fussy) baby and although the Colic Calm doesn’t help with that, it has been a Godsend in helping him regulate his bowels and reduce his reflux. We’ve even had him on Zantac, but I find the Colic Calm works even better. We have been using it daily since then. Occasionally, when we run out and I haven’t placed the next order in time, we’ll have some fussy sleepless nights which confirms my belief that Colic Calm is the only gripe water out there that’s effective for colic and gas. We’ve tried everything else. I’ll continue to use the Colic Calm until he is a year old or more. It’s an all natural product that I don’t even think twice about giving him and he loves the taste. He truly does get excited as soon as he sees me pull out his numi-med and fill it up. I work in a doctor’s office and I tell everyone with infants about Colic Calm. You have a great product and I am so glad I happened upon your website! Viva La Colic Calm!!!!!”
“Our son had reflux for his first 4 months of life, and Colic Calm was a savior to us. He still has a sensitive belly, and transitioning to solid foods has been rough. My husband and I often call your product "magic." As soon as our 6-month-old son sees the dropper heading his way, he sighs with relief. It takes about 15 minutes, and then he feels better. He seems to love the flavor, and he also seems to know that once he gets his dose, everything’s going to be better again. It’s also peace of mind for us to know your product is all-natural, especially with all the recalls going out in the news lately. Thank you!”
“Wow!! My 2- month was very gassy. I tried everything, from old homegrown remedies to everything the doctor suggested or gave me. Nothing seemed to work. I was at my wits end since my baby girl was crying nonstop at night and early morning. I take that back – she would scream at the top of her lungs. We would rub her little tummy but to no avail, she still had gas. So I gave Colic Calm a try, I thought to myself, hey, I’ve tried everything else. I called customer service, very concerned. She eased my anxiety and I waited patiently. The moment I received the gripe water, I used it and it worked perfectly. I was so impressed that I reordered 2 more bottles for the future. Now my daughter is 9 months and I use it for teething. The only thing is I wish I’d invented it first.”