Level 2: Mid-level evidence

Colic can be stressful for newborns and new parents alike. Previous research has suggested that Lactobacillus reuteri may reduce symptoms compared with simethicone in colicky infants. A new blinded, placebo-controlled trial with 50 infants provides further support for the efficacy of probiotics (Pediatrics. 2010;126:e526-33).

Infants aged 2-16 weeks old with fussy crying episodes lasting at least three hours over at least three days (modified Wessel’s criteria for colic diagnosis) were randomized to L. reuteri vs. placebo for 21 days. L. reuteri was given as 108 colony-forming units in five drops of oil suspension 30 minutes before morning feeding. All infants had been exclusively breastfed, and mothers were asked to avoid cow’s milk during the trial. At baseline, the median crying time was 370 minutes/day for the L. reuteri group and 300 minutes/day for controls (not significant). At 21-day follow-up, the L. reuteri group had significantly reduced crying time (median total crying time 35 minutes per day vs. 90 minutes per day, P=0.022). The proportion of infants with at least 50% reduction in crying time from baseline was significantly higher in the L. reuteri group at seven, 14, and 21 days.