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Colic is the bane of every new mother’s new parenthood — and her baby’s as well. Read on for a few ideas on what you can do to help ease your little one’s discomfort.

Crying baby with tired mom

Colic is defined as when an otherwise healthy infant has periods of crying or displays other symptoms of distress or discomfort without any easily-identified cause. Starting at a few weeks and often ending by the time a baby is 3 or 4 months old, it can be a time of major stress for the new family and sadness when you can’t figure out what is wrong with your little one.

Colic in the old days

Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, author of Colic Solved, a world-renowned colic expert and pediatric gastroenterologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, sat down to discuss colic and how we can help our babies. He was inspired by his daughter eight years ago who was suffering from irritability as an infant, and he was motivated to write his book and get to the bottom of colicky babies and help their parents.

“Things have changed and evolved in how we see colic,” he told us. “For example, the 1954 description of Baby’s behavior mentions the rule of threes — if a baby cries for three hours a day, three days a week, it’s defined as colic.” Today we know that intestinal microflora can impact a baby’s behavioral state and specific bacterial strains do specific things, so there is more known about the physiology of colic today than ever before.

Getting to the root cause

There are some things that parents and their physicians can do if a little one seems to be suffering from colic.

Dr. Vartabedian suggests a three-step approach to tackling colic:

First: Look for obvious causes — is the baby tired, hungry or wet? Does she need a change of scenery? Would a bath calm her down? Sometimes babies respond to being worn in a quality baby carrier, or by someone else toting her around.

Second: Look for treatable causes, such as acid reflux or allergies.

Third: There are proactive things a parent can do — consider a formula like Gerber Good Start Soothe, which is available without a prescription. There are also drops coming out this fall — containing the same probiotic — that are meant for breastfed infants. Gerber Soothe Colic Relief Drops can be used for breastfeeding babies when you don't wish to introduce formula.

Gerber Good Start Soothe is a new formula that contains a probiotic called L. reuteri, which has been clinically shown to reduce crying associated with colic in as little as one week. This probiotic is one that is naturally found in breastmilk and in addition to its colic-reducing qualities, it also has other characteristics that you will love, such as immune-boosting effects and protection against community acquired diarrhea.

This is the only routine formula that contains a probiotic as well as protein that is broken down and easier for a baby to digest.

How the tides have turned

“It’s an interesting turn of events,” reflected Dr. Vartabedian. “We used to sterilize baby bottles, and now we’re adding bacteria to them.”

More on colic

Natural ways to help reduce colic
Does your baby really have colic?
Colic and postpartum depression

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