Probiotics is one of the latest and most promising areas of medicine to address baby colic and gas.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that live in the digestive tract. We all have them to varying degrees depending on diet, antibiotic use, and whether or not we were breastfed. They are what promote proper digestion and strengthen the immunity system (70 - 80% of immune cells are in the digestive tract.) Babies are born without intestinal bacteria and spend a lifetime building their own colonies of gut flora, or probiotic bacteria.
How are Probiotics Different then Gripewater and Simethicone Drops?
Gripewater is simply a combination of highly secret ingredients, most of which the manufacturer is not required to list on the label. Many of them contain sodium bicarbonate (which can be dangerous to infants in the quantities present in some gripe water formulas), simple sugars like sucrose or fructose, ginger, fennel, dill, chammomile, peppermint, alcohol and vegetable charcoal.
Simethicone drops are a common anti-foaming medication and shampoo ingredient, made by combining Polydimethylsiloxane (an organic polymer used to make medical devices and calking) and silica gel (those little plastic beads you find in your new shoes.)
Probiotics work to ease baby gas, colic and intestinal distress in infants by colonizing the intestinal tract with beneficial bacteria. Rather than address symptoms of indigestion like simethicone drops and gripe water do, probiotics provide your baby with the foundation he needs for overall health - a colony of beneficial bacteria continuously fighting indigestion, gas, stomach cramping and harmful bacteria. Probiotics are the body's natural solution. Probiotic drops simply give your baby a head start to getting the gut flora he will nurture his whole life.
Is Gripewater Safe?
Here at Pollywog Baby we are excited about probiotics because it seems that every several years another brand of gripe water is recalled. What is especially disturbing about the recalls is they are often times due to synthetic additives never even listed on the ingredients label. Many of them claim to be natural yet the recalls have shown us they clearly contain unlisted ingredients which are not.
Because not all the ingredients are listed, there can be drug interactions with gripe water. Always discuss gripe water with your pediatrician first, especially if your baby is on other medicines.
Is Gripewater Effective?
An article from the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2000 showed gripewaters to be ineffective against gastrointestinal distress, particularly amongst babies. The review surmised that any relief gripewater did provide was more likely a distracting effect from it's sucrose or fructose component than any other ingredient.
Is Simethicone Effective?
Clinical studies have found them ineffective in the treatment of infant colic. However, they do a great job of controlling the humidity in textiles.
Are Probiotics Effective?
Turin University Hospital performed a 28 - day clinical study on breast-feeding infants diagnosed with colic, dividing them into two groups. One group was given L. reuteri Protectis and the other group was given simethicone.
At the start of the study, all the infants cried on average for 197 minutes per day. By the end of the study, crying in the L. reuteri Protectis group had fallen to 51 minutes per day compared to 145 minutes in the simethicone group - a difference of one hour and 34 minutes less crying per day. Dr. Savino’s study was published in the journal Pediatrics in 2007.
Probiotic drops are clinically proven to reduce colic and digestive distress.
Unlike gripe water and simethicone drops, probiotics are all-natural and clinically proven to ease your baby's digestive ailments and colic.