New hope for parents struggling to settle crying newborns

Melinda Sarris

Struggling with an unsettled, crying newborn is a common feature of early parenthood, but relief may be in sight.

Australian researchers have found a probiotic that could significantly reduce crying in babies suffering from colic.

Celia Hutchinson is a healthy baby, but she has spent the first 12 weeks of her life quite unsettled.

"Celia just cried all the time, she woke up crying, she went to sleep crying," new mum Kim Hutchinson said.

Mother Kim Hutchinson with baby Celia, who has colic. Source: 7 News

"She was always sad."

Celia's early weeks were vastly different to those of her big sister Vivienne, who hardly cried at all.

Celia has colic, but just what causes the excessive crying is still a mystery, and until now there has been no effective treatment.

It is not known what causes excessive crying in babies with colic. Source: 7 News

But a new international study helmed by Melbourne researchers may have found one.

"The probiotic Lacto Bassilis is effective for breast-fed infants with colic, but is not effective for formula-fed infants with colic," Dr Valerie Sung from Murdoch Children's Research Centre said.

Melbourne researchers have found that a certain probiotic may help. Source: 7 News

Breast-fed babies who were given the probiotic for three weeks were twice as likely to halve their crying.

The specific strain of probiotic is now available at some chemists and the drops are given straight into the baby's mouth, but researchers stress the treatment won't work for everyone.

"I think it's worth trying, but it's not a cure for all babies," Dr Sung said.

Kim Hutchinson's oldest daughter did not have the same symptoms as little Celia. Source: 7 News

And if it doesn't work for your baby, Kim Hutchinson has some sage advice.

"You're [feeling] alone at 3am when the baby is crying, but you're not alone," she said.

"So try and get through it, and just remember that everything passes."