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Does My Baby Need to Take Probiotics?

Why are so many moms talking about Probiotics?

As a mom, you’re always looking for the best for your little ones. No matter their age, you want to give your child the best chance to thrive. Probiotics are live microorganisms that live in your gut and provide a range of benefits. They support immune and digestive functions. They’re a great way to boost your infant’s immunity which will make those little smiles come more often.

Probiotics come in many forms, foods, liquid supplements, and pill versions.

What are baby Probiotics and what are the benefits?

Probiotic supplements contain good bacteria that occupy space in your digestive tract and keep out bad microorganisms from flourishing in the same space. A bodyguard for your gut, if you will.  These good bacterias start to form in your intestines from the time you’re in the womb. When it comes to gut health specifically, you’ll want to make sure the good bacteria is out-competing the bad bacteria in your stomach.

Probiotics are also found in other parts of your body such as:

  • Skin
  • Gut
  • Mouth
  • Lungs
  • Vagina
  • Urinary Tract

Probiotics can treat conditions like diarrhea, allergies, and eczema in infants. All things you hope your infant will not have to deal with. Probiotics can also help with relieving some symptoms of colic in infants.

The two most common probiotic strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. You’ll find these two in most over-the-counter supplements and in fermented foods like yogurt. If you regularly consume dairy products with live cultures like yogurt, fermented vegetables, or kombucha–your gut is already a probiotic superhero. Since your baby can’t eat these foods, a supplement is recommended. We have yet to meet a baby who likes kombucha.

Are baby Probiotics safe?

If your baby is healthy and thriving, Probiotics are a great way to provide additional protection for your baby’s tiny gut. Probiotics help with a range of digestive issues your infant may have–but consult with your child’s doctor to make sure they recommend it.

Infants with serious medical conditions or ailments should not be given Probiotics.

Do I need to give a Probiotic if I’m breastfeeding?

Not necessarily as the non-digestible component (prebiotic) in Probiotics promotes the growth of gut bacteria. In most normal situations, an infant will get prebiotics from their mother’s breast milk.

Do I need a give a Probiotic if I’m giving formula?

Formula does not contain Probiotics in the same way that breast milk does. Many moms try to supplement infant formula with a Probiotic to replicate the benefits of natural breast milk. A simple liquid drop of Probiotic would be the perfect match for the formula.

Why does my baby need a Probiotic?

Since an infant’s digestive system is so delicate, having an imbalance of good and bad bacteria can cause a number of symptoms:

  • Infant colic
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

In most cases, Probiotics may relieve symptoms or help alleviate issues your infant is experiencing.

Which Probiotic strain do I look for?

There are three commonly found Probiotics: Lactobacillus Rheuteri, Bifidobacterium Infants and Bifdobacterium Bifidum. You really can’t go wrong with any. Here is some information on each of the commonly found types.

Lactobacillus Rheuteri

Studies have shown lactobacillus reduced the number of respiratory infections by 50% and helped also reduce cases of diarrhea by 33%.

Bifidobacterium Infantis

The most common strain in infants (as the name would suggest), Bifidobacterium helps with overall health and digestion. It helps reduce inflammation and support overall immune functions.

Bifidobacterium Bifidum

Differing from Infantis, Bifidum helps with digestion and nutrient absorption. It also helps with infant eczema, yeast infections, diarrhea, and constipation.

At what age is safe to start giving a baby Probiotics?

You’ll find a multitude of different Probiotics for newborns, older babies, and toddlers of any age. There’s no minimum age specified for use but you should always consult your child’s doctor if you have questions. Most over-the-counter Probiotics are safe for any age.

When and how often should I give my baby a Probiotic?

In specific instances, such as treating colic, you may find your doctor recommending a probiotic for daily use. Most baby Probiotics are to be consumed daily. Conditions can vary, always check if you have uncertainty about dosage.

Probiotics may reduce your baby’s chance of getting sick in daycare

If you have a baby settling into a daycare center, a Probiotic is a great way to decrease your little one’s chances of getting sick. A recent study found a decrease in the incidence of the common cold (rhinopharyngitis) with daily Probiotic use. It’s hard to keep your baby away from childhood illnesses that seem to be often present in daycares, but Probiotics can surely upgrade your little one's gut health. Now if they would just stop putting everything in their mouths, you’d be golden.

Probiotics may help with colic in your infant

Colic can really put a damper on some of the most enjoyable moments with your baby.

Colic is defined as three or more hours of crying per day on three or more days of the week for a period of three weeks in a healthy, well-fed infant. If you’ve had a child experience it, it’s simply not a fun experience.

Probiotics may decrease the duration of crying in colicky babies by removing some of that awful discomfort they feel.

Probiotics helping with AG (acute gastroenteritis) in your baby

The hallmark of AG (acute gastroenteritis) is increased stool frequency and changes in your infant’s normal stool consistency. Some of the accompanying symptoms are diarrhea or vomiting (sometimes both) which last more than seven days.

Probiotics help with AG by competing with EP (enteric pathogens). EP can include a bunch of different, ugly genera like salmonella, yersinia, and campylobacter. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of them outside of salmonella. They all stink.

With Probiotics active, there will be fewer nutrients for the pathogens. From there, Probiotics will boost the immune system and fight off EP.

For your baby, Probiotics can help with GI (gastrointestinal illnesses)—keeping the duration short for GI and making the post-GI recovery easier. That has to be music to your ears.

We get asked often if Probiotics cause gastric distress. The opposite is actually true. Infants and children often show improved digestion, less constipation, and less regurgitation when taking Probiotics.

Final thoughts on Baby Probiotics

Having good bacteria, like Probiotics, in your gut is such a great way to boost overall immunity and well-being. Since the process starts in the womb and continues throughout life, Probiotics play an important role in protecting your gut and supercharging it to fend off all the yucky bad bacteria of the world.

As a parent—you want your little one to lead a healthy lifestyle and that starts with making sure they’re getting every bit of available nutrients. It’s not often you can point to bacteria and welcome it with an open gut. If your infant does have any underlying conditions, consult with their doctor first.

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