Colic & Probiotics


Colic & Probiotics

The crying! The frustration! There's really nothing that will rob you of sleep or a sense of wellbeing like an inconsolable baby—especially when it's your own. Colic, or excessive crying and fussiness, affects as many as 20% of babies and their families, but you can solve it by understanding what the causes may be, and the solutions too.

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Like the good bacteria found in breastmilk, probiotics are certain types of live microorganisms which may provide digestive and immune benefits if baby consumes enough. They might even be able to help your little one when they're suffering from colic.

Colic image

Colic, cow's milk protein allergy, or both?

Does your baby seem to cry for long stretches of time for no apparent reason? Does this happen on a regular basis no matter how you try to console her? If so, it might be colic.



  • Colic and cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) can have the same symptoms.
  • Managing colic versus cow’s milk protein allergy can have very different approaches.


Colic affects as many as 20% of babies and their families. It can begin two to four weeks after a baby is born and can last through her 5th month. Why do some babies develop colic? The answer is not well-understood.

Some symptoms of cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) are similar to colic—including excessive crying and fussiness. However, only about 2–7% of infants have it.

Always check with your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have about your baby.


If your baby’s pediatrician rules out CMPA and your baby is breastfed, she may benefit from infant drops with the probiotic L. reuteri, which has been shown to cut crying time by 50% in as little as 1 week for colicky, breastfed infants. If your baby is formula-fed, your baby may benefit from a formula with the probiotic L. reuteri.

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The crying, the late nights—it's the absolute worst when you don't know what's wrong with your otherwise healthy baby. But when you understand the possible causes of colic, excessive crying and fussiness, you can find a solution that works for both of you

Colic 101 Infographic
Calming Colic

Calming colic in your breastfed baby

Is your breastfed baby having bouts of ongoing, inconsolable crying? If that’s the case, her crying might be considered colic, which begins around the first few weeks of life and typically disappears around the fourth or fifth month. Surprisingly, breastfed babies experience colic at a similar rate as formula-fed babies.

Excessive crying, often referred to as colic, is a common problem in the first months of life — affecting as many as 20% of newborns. Experts have yet to figure out the cause in most cases, but differences in the types and amounts of bacteria in your baby’s gut might make a difference as to whether or not she develops colic.


Breastmilk provides a number of benefits to your baby, including serving as a source of good bacteria that helps your baby’s digestive system develop. Research has shown that babies with colic tend to have less of a particular type of lactobacilli bacteria in their gut.


 Why use probiotics?


  • Probiotics are good bacteria that have been shown to provide a benefit when consumed in particular amounts.
  • Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a probiotic bacteria similar to those naturally found in breastmilk and that has been studied in many infants and children.
  • L. reuteri has been clinically shown to positively influence gut microbiota.
  • L. reuteri supplementation has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50% in colicky breastfed infants after just one week of use.


Colic may not mean the end of breastfeeding. L. reuteri can easily be given as a supplement to your breastfed baby and is available as infant drops found in the dietary supplement section or baby section.


Check out our range of Gerber® Good Start® supplements here!

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A colic solution for formula-fed babies

A colic solution for formula-fed babies

Excessive crying and colic can be exhausting for both you and your little one. You may be consumed with trying to figure out what's making your baby cry for hours on end and doing your best to comfort her. Experts don’t know exactly what causes colic in most cases, but it seems to happen at a similar rate in breastfed and formula-fed babies.*

The type and amount of certain types of bacteria in your baby’s gut appears to make a difference in whether or not they develop colic. Research has shown that babies with colic have less lactobacillus and more types of other bacteria.


Probiotics are certain types of good bacteria that may provide benefits when you consume enough. Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) is a probiotic similar to those found in breastmilk. Research has shown that giving babies L. reuteri positively influences the gut microbiota.


  • L. reuteri has been studied in many infants and children.
  • It has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50% in colicky, breastfed babies after one week of use.


Formula-fed babies with excessive crying and colic can get L. reuteri from a solution formula designed with their comfort in mind. Gerber® Good Start® Soothe Infant Formula is designed for colic, excessive crying and fussiness, and it’s the only formula with the probiotic L. reuteri.


Check out our Gerber® Good Start® supplements and formula!


*Talk to your baby’s doctor if you think that his colic symptoms could be related to a cow’s milk protein allergy.

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Did you know?

C-section babies miss early exposure to mother’s microflora. Gerber® Good Start® supplements naturally increase the good bacteria to support baby’s digestive health and developing immune system, right from the start.



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