Probiotics seem to be the new ‘hot’ item on the market, but could they really help your baby?
If your baby suffers from gas or colic there are studies suggesting that regular probiotic use can be beneficial.
What are Probiotics and What Do They Do?
Probiotics are tiny living microorganisms like bacteria or yeast that help the digestive system. You can think of probiotics as the helpful bacteria that renew the good bacteria in your gut to help you digest food and fight off infections.
There are three groups of main probiotics, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Lactobacillus is the most common probiotic often found in fermented food or yogurt. This strain of probiotic is particularly useful for preventing diarrhea and helping digest lactose. Bifidobacterium is found in most dairy products and helps the gut absorb nutrients while keeping the food moving. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic found in yeast that helps with digestive issues like diarrhea and gas.
When probiotics enter your system, they remain in the digestive tract to restore the balance of good bacteria, particularly if you or your baby have been on antibiotics. They help boost the immune system and protect against infections by preventing the harmful bacteria from growing in your gut.
There’s even some evidence that probiotics will help relieve your baby’s colic or gas.
Why Babies Get Colic
Colic is very common in babies, affecting nearly 20% of them. They will be fussy and irritable for hours at a time, and it will be tough to soothe them. You can tell your baby has colic if he has been crying for three hours at least three days a week for three weeks at a time.
Despite how common colic is in babies, no one knows precisely what causes it. Experts think it could be overstimulated senses or exposure to tobacco, but the majority of the reasons have to do with the digestive system.
The undeveloped digestive system could cause your baby’s colic. The digestive system of newborns and infants are still maturing, making it difficult to break down the foods. This leads to gas in the intestines which can cause severe discomfort for your baby.
Acid Reflux could be another digestive cause of your baby’s colic. Acid reflux will often develop in babies with an underdeveloped esophagus, letting the stomach acid flow back up into the throat and mouth. The acid causes your baby’s throat to become raw and painful.
Food allergies are another possibility. If your baby is formula-fed, it could be an allergy to milk protein. But if he is breastfed, it could be an allergy to something in mom’s diet that is getting into the milk. The allergies can cause pain in the stomach or intestines, leading to colic.
How Probiotics Help Colicky Babies
Probiotics may help with your baby’s colic by reducing gastric inflammation and improving conditions like lactose intolerance which may cut his crying time in half. Studies have recently shown that probiotics, particularly the lactobacillus family of probiotics, can help manage the underlying issues.
The helpful bacteria in probiotics support healthy gut flora to digest food. As the probiotics break down the food, your baby’s digestive system can move the food without creating gas.
Probiotics can also help with colic caused by acid reflux. The Lactobacillus helps the meals move through the stomach faster, preventing your baby from spitting up.
Why Babies Get Gassy
Most babies will have gas at some point in their infancy, but for some, it can cause pain.
If your gassy baby is breastfed, you might take a look at mom’s diet. Sometimes the gas is caused by the traces of certain gas-inducing foods like legumes or cruciferous vegetables found in mom’s breastmilk. Sometimes gas is produced by the acidity of foods in mom’s diet like tomatoes, citrus, or berries that are highly acidic.
As we mentioned, the digestive systems of newborns are still maturing and learning how to function correctly, leading the supportive digestion muscles to be inefficient. Because the muscles don’t create the most efficient rhythm yet to move the food through the GI tract, it creates pockets of gas in the intestines.
For older babies who are starting with solids, the new foods can irritate the GI tract and produce painful gas.
How Probiotics Help Gassy Babies
Because baby’s digestive system is still maturing, it doesn’t have all the beneficial flora the system needs to digest the food thoroughly.
Probiotics help balance this lack, adding the beneficial bacterial flora to the gut. As the healthy bacteria grows over time, it aids the digestion process and helps the intestines secrete enzymes. Probiotics also help reduce the intestinal inflammation, preventing gas pockets from getting trapped in the intestines.
Mommy’s Bliss Probiotic Drops
If your baby is colicky or gassy, it might be time to try a probiotic. Mommy’s Bliss Probiotic Drops have 1 billion Lactobacillus rhamnosus cells in each serving which are designed to ease symptoms of gas or colic.
It is safe for newborns and infants as well as toddlers or older children. We use an all-natural live culture of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and it does not have any parabens or artificial colors.
You don’t even need to store it in the fridge and it’s easy to give to your baby. To use, simply shake the bottle and administer one serving daily. You can add it to a bottle or use the dropper.