"Newborn crying is quite variable, and between 2 weeks and 8 or 10 weeks you can expect at least an hour of crying in a day. There may be some who cry less; some who cry more. But, babies with colic really do cry for three to four hours a day," said Dr. Michael Hobaugh, chief of medical staff at La Rabida Children's Hospital, in Chicago.
In the current study, the researchers tested more than 200 fecal samples from 12 infants with colic and 12 infants with low levels of crying (the control group). Colic was determined at 6 weeks of age.
The fecal samples were tested for more than 1,000 known intestinal microbes. There were four samples taken during the first month and then another five samples were collected between three and five months.
They showed significant differences in the microbial flora between babies with colic and those without. The researchers say these findings might lead to early screening tests for colic, or possibly for a treatment for colic.
De Weerth said it's "possible to make positive changes to the microbiota of babies with colic with the use of probiotics." She also said that the mother's diet in pregnancy and while breast-feeding could have an influence, and that adding probiotics and prebiotics (good bacteria) to infant formula might also positively influence a baby's intestinal flora.
But, not everyone's convinced that anything should be added to infant formula just yet.
"This was an interesting, intriguing study, but it's not definitive," said Dr. Peter Belamarich, medical director of the pediatric ambulatory subspecialty service at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, in New York City.
Hobaugh also said it is too early to make conclusions.
"I would be very cautious about supplementing infants with probiotics. Probiotics are generally safe and don't c
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