Reasons Why You Would Give Probiotics To Your Baby Or Young Child
Probiotics are beneficial for adults and children alike, but why and when would you give probiotics to your child?
Our gut microbiome plays a central role in supporting our health in a variety of ways. You may have recently read numerous blogs or research papers focusing on the positive impact of live bacteria on our immunity, digestive function and even the ability to alter our attention, behaviour and mood.1,2 Perhaps you would like to support your childs health by optimising their gut flora, yet have a few questions we aim to answer.
The number of bacteria in the body, including our gut microbiome lining the gastrointestinal tract outnumbers even the bodys own cells. It has been known for a long time that the bacteria play a role in digestion yet a new field of study is finding that these bacteria can influence many organ systems in the body, including diseases of the digestive tract, immune system and even the brain.
Over the past decade or so, weve seen a huge growth in childhood allergies, behavioural problems and chronic disease. Many experts now consider disrupted microbiome as a major contributory factor, and one that is possible to do something about using simple appropriate dietary changes and supplements.
Why and when to consider probiotics for your child:
- My baby was born via C-section
Certain probiotics have been designed to include the prebiotic GOS in order to most closely emulate breastmilk.
- Baby Thrush & Feedback to Mum
Your Baby Has Acute Gastroenteritis
Acute gastroenteritis is defined as diarrhea or vomiting that lasts more than seven days. You should always talk to your doctor if your baby is experiencing these symptoms, and there is some evidence that probiotics can help, according to Kaufmann. The effect is that probiotics compete with enteric pathogens, there are then less nutrients for these pathogens, and probiotics increase immune response, she says.
One systematic review of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials found that the use of probiotics compared with placebo was associated with a significantly lower risk of diarrhea lasting more than three daysSzajewska H, Mrukowicz JZ. Probiotics in the treatment and prevention of acute infectious diarrhea in infants and children: a systematic review of published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2001. 33 2:S17-25. .
Are Probiotics Safe For Kids Heres What You Need To Know
You may have passed them in the health food aisle at your local grocery store or seen a reference to them in your favorite healthy living blog probiotics.
Many adults use these supplements to help regulate their digestive systems. Some claim that probiotics can help with conditions like eczema and even yeast infections.
But probiotics dont always work the same for children.
Probiotics are useful for keeping your digestive tract healthy, says Dr. Joy Drass, pediatrician at Geisinger Port Matilda. But its important to know which probiotics you can give to your child, since they may not work the same way they do in adults.
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How The Science Stacks Up
Because most foods do not contain nearly enough probiotic CFUs to be considered “therapeutic,” you’ll most likely need probiotic supplements to find higher doses and target specific problems. They come in all kinds of forms, including drops, chewable tablets, and even special straws that are coated with probiotics. But you should talk to your pediatrician first, stresses Dan W. Thomas, M.D., head of the gastroenterology department at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, who is also a coauthor of the pending AAP report on probiotics. If your doctor approves, try offering probiotic supplements to your child when he comes down with any of the following ailments.
Colic: A study published in Pediatrics in 2007 found that colicky infants who took Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis, the strain found in BioGaia probiotic drops, saw results within one week. On the fourth week, the babies were crying for only 51 minutes a day, compared with 145 minutes for the infants who were given simethicone, the active ingredient in many OTC anti-gas products. “These results were startling, and we need more research,” says Dr. Merenstein.
The bottom line: Probiotics are considered safe for healthy children. And while more research is needed before doctors can begin prescribing probiotics for specific childhood illnesses , it’s certainly worth discussing the idea with your pediatrician.
Biogaia Protectis Probiotics Drops With Vitamin D
Why its great: This probiotic doesnt come in a glass jar, like most other liquid infant probiotics. Instead, it comes in a squeeze tube with a stopper on the end that makes counting the drops a lot easier . This probiotic can be given as early as the first day of life for infants. The tube seems tiny, but it actually contains a 50 day supply of probiotics and vitamin D.This product is great for breastfeeding mommas. Its recommended that breastfed babies take a daily supplement of vitamin D, which this product contains . Instead of giving 2 separate supplements, you can just give 1! You can administer this product in pumped milk, on a spoon, or even put it on your nipple before breastfeeding.
Keep in mind: This product is only shelf stable up to 77 degrees F, so delivery in the middle of the summer can be problematic.
Good for: Breastfeeding mommas who need to give their baby vitamin D drops as well as probiotics.
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Probiotics Colic And Gi Issues
How effective are probiotics for babies? The evidence is mixed, at least for now— and much more research is needed.
We don’t have enough information to confirm which probiotic strains work best to treat certain conditions in babies, how much of each probiotic works best to treat a condition, and when in a baby’s life is the best time to give a certain probiotic.
There are also no official approved doses of probiotics for babies at this time, so doses are at each doctor’s discretion.
Even so, the results of some recent clinical studies show promise. Here’s a brief overview of current research on probiotics, colic, and GI issues. Most studies of note involved lactobacillus reuteri:
Does Biogaia Work Immediately
When will I begin taking Biogaia Drops? It usually takes a few days for you to notice the results. In people who are healthy, the effects of taking L may not differ, but they do for those who take it. If you are suffering from reuteri, it may take 3-4 days for your symptoms to improve due to digestive system disturbances.
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What Should Parents Look For When Buying Probiotics For Babies
The FDA considers probiotics a supplement, which means theyre not regulated in the same way that medications are. You want to make sure youre getting something thats actually beneficial and not just something thats been marketed at you, so make sure its coming from a reputable brand, says Dr. Doshi. And you want to make sure that you get the right strain for whatever issue your baby is having.
Heres a tip: Next time youre in the pharmacy, take a few photos on your phone of probiotic products aimed at babies. Then, at your next doctors appointment, show your pediatrician the images and get their professional advice. That way, while youre already there for something, you dont have to pay for another co-pay just to ask them that question.
Bottom line: Theres currently not enough evidence to recommend that all babies should take probiotics daily, but research shows that some strains may help with certain health issues. If youre considering giving your infant a probiotic, check in with your doctor first.
Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease
It is estimated that up to 70 percent of children and adults with chronic inflammatory bowel disease routinely use complementary and alternative medicine, including probiotics, as adjunctive or replacement therapy for prescribed medications. Theoretically, probiotics may be beneficial in the treatment of these conditions. However, the long-term benefit of using probiotics to treat Crohn disease requires further study and is not recommended in children. The results of RCTs in which probiotics were used to treat chronic ulcerative colitis are encouraging, but require further confirmation.
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Probiotics And Acidophilus For Kids
By now youve probably heard of probiotics, the “good” bacteria that are available in supplement form and found naturally in certain fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. A few of the probiotic strains that you might see listed on product labels include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.
Before we can understand the role of probiotics in the body and decide whether we should give probiotic supplements to our kids, we need to take a step back and look at how the gastrointestinal system works and the ways gut health is affected by bacteria.
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Mary Ruths Liquid Probiotic For Infants
Why its great: Soothing and supporting our babies overall health is a goal all of us mommas have, and this infant probiotic delivers. This proprietary blend is intended for babies 0-12 months. Each bottle contains 84 servings of organic probiotics , which is more than most of the other options. Another added bonus, unlike some probiotics, this blend doesnt require refrigeration.
Keep in mind: This probiotic isnt flavored, so some babies have an aversion to the taste .
Good for: Mommas with multiple babies needing probiotics, as the bottle is bigger than most of its competitors.
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How Do You Give Your Baby Probiotics
Of course, the first step to introducing any new supplement to your infant should always be to consult your pediatrician. Babies digestive systems are in their infancy, so be sure to handle yours delicately, just as you do the rest of their tiny little body. Remember: its important that your pediatrician is aware of any and all supplements and medications your child is oneven over-the-counter ones and seemingly innocuous products like gripe water.
You may also be wondering: Should I give my baby probiotics every day? The answer is a resounding, yes! As with any healthy habit, consistency is key. If you decide that you want to give infant probiotics a go, you’ll want to be sure to give them to your baby every day. Otherwise, they wont work as efficiently. And, if you stop giving them entirely, the probiotics benefits may subside over time. Youll also need to practice a bit of patience when you start probiotic usage like any supplement, they need time to establish their benefits.
You now know that there are a lot of different types of probiotics, as well as which one we strongly prefer . Whichever one you choose, be sure to follow the instructions on its unique packaging.
When done, screw the cap on tightly to help maintain the drops freshness. To ensure full potency, use all the formula in the bottle within 28 days after opening. After all, probiotics are live microorganisms, and in order for them to help you and your baby, its best they stay that way.
Moms Immunity Before A Babys Birth
The first part of picking the best probiotics for newborns is to understand why an infant could benefit from probiotics in the first place.
When a baby is in the womb, he benefits from his mothers immune system. During approximately the last 3 months of pregnancy, the moms antibodies pass to the baby via the placenta. In this way, the mother can maintain the immunity of the soon-to-be newborn.
However, as soon as the baby is born, that ability for the mother to easily pass antibodies – or any protective elements – through the umbilical cord, is gone.
Theres one last chance before a baby officially becomes a newborn to get a great dose of healthy bacteria. Its in the birth canal. Babies born vaginally may get a boost in the probiotics department, while those born by C-section miss out.
Thus, even babies that are vaginally born and breastfed may not be getting the right baby bacteria and can benefit even more from a healthy probiotic. B. infantis is good for the baby’s overall immune and mental health.
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Are Baby Probiotics Safe
You might be thinking: OK, that sounds great. But whats the catch? What are the risks of baby probiotics? And that’s a question youre 100% right to ask. Probiotics are generally well-tolerated, including in infants. A study by the Journal of The American Medical Association Pediatrics, which followed almost 300 infants who took probiotics for the first two years of their life, starting at birth, reported a strong safety profile.
The Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis probiotic in our daily probiotics for babies has been used safely in food and dietary supplements since 1985, with no reported serious adverse events. Plus, our probiotic was developed from dairy cultures by the over 145-year old renowned bioscience company Chr. Hansen.
However, its important to note that probiotics may not be for every infant. If your baby was born prematurely or has immune problems, be sure to talk to your pediatrician about giving your baby probiotics.
Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Daily Probiotic Drops
Why its great: The Zarbees brand was created by a pediatrician and father that wanted to make products that were chemical-free and made from natural ingredients. The probiotic drops are just one of the many products the company makes. They include 2 strains of probiotics that are great for gut health and decreasing colic and gas in infants.
The dropper is easy to use and get an accurate dosage. Plus, this can be used right away for newborns. Plus, this one doesnt need to be refrigerated, however, it does need to be kept in a cool, dry place.
Keep in mind: This is a smaller bottle and only contains 30 doses, so it doesnt last as long as some of the other options.
Good for: Parents that want to make sure their babys probiotic is composed of all natural ingredients.
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What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics
Pop quiz: Did you know that around 80% of the immune system is located in the gut? Not only does your babys digestive system contribute to fighting off infection with a healthy immune system, it practically calls the shots! But thats just the tip of the probiotics benefits iceberg. When taken daily, probiotics can help rebalance healthy bacteria that may be lost after taking antibiotics, as well as promote good digestive health. Theyre effectiveness is even being studied for specific immune system issues, like preventing eczema.
The term probiotic literally means life-promoting, from the Latin for pro and bios . Out of the more than 400 probiotic strains present in our bodies, only about 20 account for 75% of all of them.
One of the most documented strains, Bifidobacteria animalis subsp. lactis, is the probiotic in our Infants Mylicon Daily Probiotic Drops. Its been described in over 300 publications and evaluated in more than 180 clinical studies. In one recent study, it was shown to reduce crying and fussiness in colicky babies after two weeks of use. Unlike the babies who received a placebo, a greater percentage of babies who were given our probiotic experienced a 50% or more reduction in daily crying.