New research set to soothe colicky babies

20 Jun 2012

Parents could soon have new tools to soothe the tummies and ease the cries of colicky infants, thanks to a new study at the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland.

Study leader Tracy Harb said the research aimed to determine whether careful modifications to the diets of lactating mothers would ease the symptoms of colic in babies.

“Colic is unexplained, persistent crying in an otherwise healthy baby and in spite of much research into the condition, its cause and its treatment remains unknown,” Ms Harb said.

“One popular theory is that colic may be triggered in breastfed babies when foods consumed by the mother cause symptoms of food allergy, intolerance or gastrointestinal discomfort.

“Mothers are often told to avoid cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage), chocolate, onion, and cow’s milk, as it is commonly thought that they may cause colic in infants – yet limited scientific evidence exists to support this claim.

“Our study will compare a behavioural intervention for colic with four special maternal diets. 

“During the four week intervention period, mothers and babies will undergo a range of simple tests to determine whether dietary interventions are suitable treatments for colic, and which dietary interventions are most successful in alleviating symptoms for babies.

“We hope this study will finally resolve whether maternal diet is associated with the incidence of colic in breastfed babies, and support the development of evidence-based treatment options for primary health care professionals to assist parents of babies with colic.”

The Children’s Nutrition Research Centre is seeking mothers of colicky or unsettled babies who are exclusively breastfed and younger than four months of age to participate in the study.

Volunteers need to live in the Brisbane Metropolitan area and be willing to undertake some brief questionnaires and follow a prescribed diet for a four week period.

Contact: Tracy Harb, 0407 381 691