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7 minute read
Infant probiotics! What are they and are they worth it?
Infant probiotics are a common tool parents use to build up their babies gut health. We do this because a healthy gut helps create a stronger immune system.
With a healthy gut, babies cry less and smile more.
They have digestion that is easy and comfortable, because they have less gas.
A healthy gut can even help resolve baby acne and rashes leaving your little one with clear skin. And that is only the beginning!
Researchers like Sabine Hazan M.D., author of Let’s Talk S–, have even linked a healthy brain and healthy heart to gut health.
Building a healthy gut microbiome is top of mind for many parents. And, if you need to supplement your way there with infant probiotics – it is an affordable solution to many problems. Most infant probiotics – like this one – cost less than $20.
In this article we are going to look at common reasons why parents use infant probiotics so you can get a good idea if they are right for your family or not.
Skip Ahead To Learn About
Infant probiotics and colic (can infant probiotics reduce crying? the answer might surprise you.)
Infant probiotics and your baby’s skin (acne and eczema).
Infant probiotics and constipation.
Infant probiotics and temperament.
When Should I Use Probiotics For My Baby
Infant probiotic recommendations
Are probiotics safe for babies?
Let’s take a look at the top reasons why parents consider supplementing their baby’s diet with a probiotic. And why these little digestive superheroes may be right for your little one., and when they are not.
After that, I’ll show you which infant probiotics are the best!
Infant Probiotics And Colic
If you have a baby that seems to cry a lot, for no apparent reason, you are not alone. Colic affects nearly 1 in 3 babies.
Crying is the number one reason for pediatrician visits during the first three months of life. Your baby crying does not always mean that they are sick.It definitely does not mean you are a bad parent. In fact, let me tell you, I see the work you are putting in and all you are going through to meet your baby’s needs. You are incredible.
But, is it possible that probiotics could help your baby cry less? The answer is yes.
One double-blind placebo study found that when infants were given 5 drops of infant probiotics before their morning feeding, that crying time reduced by 50% by day 7.
One thing to note though, is that this study was done in breastfed babies only. Further studies have found the same results for breastfed babies who were given a probiotic for 21 days. Unfortunately, no difference was found in formula fed babies.
If you are breastfeeding and you have a baby who is suffering with colic, then infant probiotics are quite likely to help you soothe the crying and find more peace in your home.
If you are a formula feeding family, maybe try switching to an organic formula inspired by breastmilk, such as Bobbie.
Infant Probiotics And Skin: Baby Acne And Eczema
Many babies have very sensitive skin. This is why parents often use special detergents and buy natural, organic and gentle soaps and lotions for their babies. But, skin conditions such as eczema, baby acne and rashes remain common.
The skin is closely linked to the gut. Though we certainly have a lot to learn about the how and why, there is a growing body of evidence that gut microbes and the integrity of the intestinal tract are contributing factors to acne.
However, the same is not true for eczema. Currently using probiotics to treat eczema is not an evidence based practice.
Nourishing your baby’s gut and supporting a healthy balance of bacteria may help resolve skin problems. You may see relief from severe symptoms or even a complete resolution of their condition when you treat with probiotics.
But, gut imbalances are only one of the common causes of skin problems in infants.
If your little one is suffering from acne, eczema or rashes, seek out advice from a board-certified dermatologist or pediatric dermatologist.
Infant Probiotics And Constipation
I don’t like to be constipated – and I bet your baby doesn’t either. Researchers set out to find out if probiotics in the first 3 months of life could help decrease crying, spitting up and constipation.
Here’s what they found:
After one month, babies that received probiotics supplements had less crying and less constipation than their peers that did not have probiotics! Total win.
Probiotics helped with spitting up as well – but it took a bit longer to see results. It wasn’t until 3 months of treatment that babies who had probiotics started to have less spit up than their peers.
Although it wasn’t the purpose of the study, these researchers also uncovered other interesting things. Babies who had probiotics had fewer visits to the pediatrician. This meant that their parents missed fewer days of work to care for their little one.
As in other studies, parents in this study were instructed to give 5 drops of probiotics to their infant each morning.
Infant Probiotics And Temperament
It is clear at this point that giving your unhappy baby a probiotic can help resolve a few different problems. So it is no surprise that when researchers looked at the diversity of a babies gut microbiome and the baby’s temperament – they found a strong relationship.
Babies that had more diversity in their gut microbiome smiled more, laughed more and had the ability to show periods of intense pleasure.
On the flip side, a low gut diversity was associated with more sadness.
Is this because the gut is directly linked to the brain? Or could it be that when invisible to the eye intestinal discomforts clear, it’s easier to be happy?
The reason is’t yet known for sure. What do you think?
When Should You Use Infant Probiotics?
A baby’s microbiome is formed through exposure to their mothers micro biome in womb and from the time spent in the vaginal canal and from skin to skin contact.
According to a study the biggest offenders of a baby forming their own micro biome are:
2. Antibiotic use
3. Formula feeding.
So it makes sense to use an probiotic if your baby has one of the symptoms we talked about above, or if they are delivered via surgery, or if they need an antibiotic.
Researchers have shown that imbalances of the microbiome can be corrected with probiotics and partial breastfeeding
Which Probiotic Is Best For Your Baby?
One of the great things about infant probiotics is that they are very affordable compared to other supplements. Most of these are less than $20.
LoveBug Baby Probiotics
LoveBug Probiotics are our favorite to recommend. We prefer them over other brands because they have 6 strains of different probiotics where many other brands typically have one or two. This means they are more likely to have the strain that your baby needs to create that diverse and abundant healthy gut microbe.
BioGaia Probiotic Drops
BioGaia probiotics have one the the most commonly studied probiotic strains, L. reuteri DSM 17938. This strain supports good bacteria in the digestive system and may prevent colic.
ZaraBee’s Baby Probiotic Drops
ZaraBee’s has a different strain of probiotics than BioGaia. These have Bifidobacterium breve BR03 and Bifidobacterium breve BR632 – to help support natural digestive balance, ease occasional tummy discomfort in babies* and support a healthy immune system.*
Are Probiotics For Babies Safe?
Probiotics are naturally found in many of the foods that we eat. They have a long history of being safe for adults and children.
Probiotics are also found on our skin, in our mouth, even the vaginal canal.
In fact, many moms take probiotics in pregnancy.
In most cases, the research that has been done points to the safety of probiotics for infants. But, more research is needed.
In general, probiotics have very few side effects in healthy adults and children. And probiotics can be helpful for many, but may not always be beneficial for all babies.
So it’s always important to use caution when introducing any new food or supplement into your baby’s diet, including probiotics, in case they have a side effect, allergy, or reaction.
And that’s why it’s a good idea to consult your child’s pediatrician before giving your baby a probiotic.
Talk to your doctor about:
- To gauge which probiotic strain is best for your baby.
- To learn of any possible side effects.
- To determine the appropriate dose for your baby.
Potential Risks Of Probiotics for Infants:
Probiotics are not currently approved by the Food & Drug Association (FDA). More research is needed on the effects of probiotics in general.
If your baby is born prematurely, has a weak immune system, or health problems, they may have adverse reactions to probiotics – or a probiotic may be just what your baby needs.
Proceed with caution by talking it through with your child’s doctor before giving your baby a probiotic. There may be one type that works better for your child’s needs than others.
And remember, there is no current standard that specifies a way to administer probiotics, particularly for infants. Not all probiotics are the same and may affect your baby in a particular way.
However, in researching this article, most studies relied on 5 drops of probiotics before the babies morning feeding. Some studies lasted only a few days, while other studies found more benefits after several months.
Again, rely on the advice of your child’s doctor before proceeding.
Should You Give Your Baby A Probiotic Supplement?
At the end of the day, the decision to give your baby a probiotic supplement is a personal choice. But there are potential benefits for your little one’s health.
Supplementing the healthy bacteria your baby needs with a probiotic may help set your child up for success in the months after birth…and even much later in life!
Listen to your “gut” and talk to your doctor to see if infant probiotics are a good option for your baby!