Probiotics and Baby: What You Need to Know
If you’re a new parent you probably have a million things per day running through your head. From right-now questions like how to feed your baby and how to get them to sleep, to bigger questions like how you can raise them to be a good person, you probably don’t have time to do research on every little thing that comes up.
One thing you should know about? Babies and probiotics. While you might have heard a little bit about probiotics, we’re here to tell you exactly what you need to know to keep your baby happy and healthy.
“Probiotics are dietary supplements containing beneficial bacteria or yeast which interact with the body differently to help balance your gut flora to support a healthy digestive system,” says Karen A. Taylor, BSN and RN at Biocodex. “The human body hosts approximately 100 trillion microorganisms, also known as microbiota or microflora. Anyone's intestinal flora can become upset and vulnerable—whether from the daily flow of an active lifestyle (travel, stress, diet), disruption from a prescribed antibiotic, or nonspecific digestive issues. Probiotic supplements help individuals maintain digestive health by promoting immune system function, supporting healthy digestion and aid in the absorption of water and nutrients.”
So should your baby be taking probiotics? While they probably won’t suffer without them, some studies have shown taking them can be a real boost to their health.
You may find that probiotics appear in everything from baby formula to drinks to foods. Your child’s pediatrician should be able to guide you as you begin making decisions about your baby and probiotics.
One important thing to remember: everyone is different and has a unique intestinal microflora. Every probiotic strain impacts individuals differently. “Probiotic supplementation can help optimize levels of good bacteria which helps keep the overgrowth of opportunistic (bad) bacteria from occurring,” says Taylor. So it’s important to research (or ask your doctor for a recommendation) on what sort of probiotic is going to be a good fit for your baby’s unique needs.