Chances are you’ve been hearing about the benefits of probiotics for a while now. You may even take one yourself every day—good for you! Wondering if your baby could also benefit from taking a daily probiotic? We’ve gone through the latest research and the good news is yes! Here are just a few of the ways your baby could benefit.
GAS AND COLIC
Probiotics are natural microorganisms similar to those found in healthy digestive tracts. By adding them to your baby’s routine, you can help to build up good bacteria in the gut leading to less tummy troubles like gas or colic. In fact, a 2007 study in the journal Pediatrics found that giving probiotics helped to keep the bacteria in the gut balanced which resulted in less intestinal inflammation, which is a major cause of gas and colic in infants. A 2011 study in European Journal of Clinical Investigation found that probiotics can also help food to move through the digestive system more easily, leading to less frequent spitting up.
ANTIBIOTIC-INDUCED UPSET TUMMY AND DIARRHEA
When your doctor has prescribed antibiotics for a baby’s ear or other infection, she likely suggested you give baby a probiotic as well. Here’s why: Antibiotics wipe out the bad bacteria causing the infection, but because they’re strong, it also means they can also wipe out the good bacteria in baby’s gut. Giving her probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in baby’s bowels and can help with preventing antibiotic induced diarrhea and tummy pain. While we recommend a daily probiotic for good gut health overall, at the very least you’ll want to give probiotics during the round of antibiotics and for at least two weeks after.
Sometimes it feels like the first year of your baby’s life is really just a series of discussions about poop. What color is it? What’s the consistency? Is this normal? And maybe most concerning: where is the poop?? Constipation can be caused by several factors including changes to diet and changes to routine, but studies have shown that keeping the digestive tract healthy with a healthy amount of “good bacteria” can help to prevent occasional bouts of constipation. To put it simply: a daily probiotic supplement can help keep your little one regular!
In addition to digestive and gut health, probiotics can help fight toxins and boost baby’s immunity. Try feeding your little one probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or kefir or give her a daily probiotic supplement to keep her immune system strong.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PROBIOTICS FOR C-SECTION BABIES
If your baby was born via C-section, he could benefit from a daily probiotic supplement. A 2013 Swedish study found that C-section babies had less gut diversity during the first two years of life than babies delivered vaginally. They found that C-section babies are lacking the Bacteroides phylum, which helps the immune system respond to the right triggers, a bacteria they would have otherwise been exposed to in the birth canal.