4 min read
Babies bring out a protective instinct in everyone, from parents to relatives alike. What happens when your bundle of joy refuses to stop crying even after being fed, burped, and changed? One of the most common reasons for a baby’s incessant crying is discomfort from stomach bacteria that can cause problems such as gas, diarrhea, or constipation.
According to a handful of recent studies, probiotic supplements for babies may relieve discomfort by soothing your baby’s tummy and providing some relief.
The World Health Organization reports that probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria) that offer several health benefits apart from nutrition when consumed by the human body. The term probiotics refers to cultures of specific bacteria that not only maintain the function of your digestive system, but also play a role in boosting your immune system.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified probiotics as a food product and therefore choosing the right probiotic for your child can be a challenge. Most probiotics available in the market today come from two groups of bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
How Probiotics Work
The gastrointestinal (GI) system of a baby, as well as an adult contains trillions of live bacteria - and some of these good bacteria help in keeping you and your baby healthy. The baby’s GI tract becomes populated with the good, the bad, and the benign bacteria (also known as gut flora) at birth when they pass through the birth canal and pick up microbes from their mother. The balance between good and bad bacteria are essential for a healthy digestive and immune system.
When probiotics for babies are consumed by your child, they add to the amount of good bacteria already present in their gut, thereby boosting the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Probiotics as a Treatment
While probiotics support and promote good gut and digestive health, there are a handful of stomach issues in babies that may be helped with probiotics.
Constipation in babies is exactly like that in adults – there is difficulty emptying the bowels because of hard stools. There could be several reasons why your baby is constipated. Furthermore, there are numerous treatment options as well as home remedies. Along with medical treatment, a dose of probiotics may help. Research in Italy has indicated that probiotics may actually treat chronic constipation in infants.
This study found that babies taking probiotics had considerably more bowel movements when compared to babies who were on a placebo and there were no noticeable side effects to this probiotics treatment.
While constipation refers to hard stools, diarrhea occurs when there are liquid bowel movements every day. One of the main concerns when your baby is suffering from diarrhea is dehydration, because so much fluid is lost over a short amount of time. The main benefit of treating diarrhea with probiotics is that they support the proper functioning of the digestive system by maintaining your baby’s gut flora.
Probiotics for baby can also aid in providing relief when the babies are suffering from diarrhea. These beneficial bacteria may not help in treating diarrhea altogether, but they definitely can help reduce the severity of it.
When babies suffer from gas, it is extremely uncomfortable for them. Your child may express discomfort by incessant crying. A study in 2011 indicated that probiotics make it easier for the food to move through the digestive system. This may in turn reduce the instances of gas in babies. Consult your pediatrician about the possibility of giving your baby probiotics as a supplement to treat gas.
Probiotics can also help treat chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies have found that consuming probiotics may give your baby symptom relief when suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics for babies may help reduce the severity of the symptoms including cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, and bloating.
What to Consider
There is a common misconception that all probiotic supplements are the same. However, there are many varieties of probiotic supplements and each is made to feature particular strains. LoveBug has ensured each of our probiotics contains a specialized blend of strains designed to provide the optimal benefit for each age group.
Keep in mind that probiotics are not a substitute to medical treatment for your child. Speak to your child’s pediatrician about probiotics for babies to help determine if probiotics are right for your child.
Flavia Indrio, Antonio Di Mauro, Giuseppe Riezzo, Elisa Civardi, Cristina Intini, Luigi Corvaglia, Elisa Ballardini, Massimo Bisceglia, Mauro Cinquetti, Emanuela Brazzoduro, Antonio Del Vecchio, Silvio Tafuri, Ruggiero Francavilla. Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional ConstipationA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(3):228–233. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4367
Hemarajata, P., & Versalovic, J. (2013). Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 6(1), 39–51. http://doi.org/10.1177/1756283X12459294
Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, et al The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review Gut 2010;59:325-332. doi: 10.1136/gut.2008.167270
Koleva, P. T., Bridgman, S. L., & Kozyrskyj, A. L. (2015). The Infant Gut Microbiome: Evidence for Obesity Risk and Dietary Intervention. Nutrients, 7(4), 2237–2260. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu7042237