Approximately 70% of your immune system is based out of the gut. Recent studies also suggest the existence of a robust brain-gut axis which means that the microbes in the gut interact directly with the brain and cause changes in brain chemistry. Babies receive good gut microbes from their mothers when they are in the womb, during vaginal birth, and after that, via breastfeeding. However, the good bacteria they receive is directly connected to the health and quality of the gut bacteria that their mothers have.
In today’s world, our guts are affected by all the processed food we eat. With this in mind, the truth is that your baby’s gut requires all the help it can get. This is where probiotic supplements come in. An influx of friendly bacteria helps to repopulate your baby’s gut microbiome. Here is everything you need to know about probiotics for babies.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are naturally-occurring live bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal tract. Not only do these good bacteria help your immune system fend off inflammatory bacteria, but they also have a host of health benefits for the host. While babies are born with a sterile gut, their microbiome rapidly develops as it picks good bacteria at the time of descending through the vaginal canal, from breastmilk, and eventually, from the solid food they eat. By adulthood, the gut is home to over 400 species of all kinds of bacteria. The balance of friendly and other bacteria is what dictates your child’s health and mental wellbeing.
Where are probiotics found?
As mentioned earlier, probiotics are naturally-occurring live bacteria in the gut. Owing to lifestyle factors, use of antibiotics that kill both good and bad bacteria, and poor diet, the number, and quality of the species of good bacteria in the body dwindles. There are some food items that contain probiotics such as fermented foods like yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi. However, the number of probiotics available in each serving of these dishes may not be enough to make a difference. Probiotic supplements, on the other hand, contain a generous amount of colony-forming units that can help repopulate the gut. Supplements can be found in the form of powders, liquids, capsules, and tablets.
Do babies need probiotics, and are they safe for infants?
Babies can benefit from probiotics – this includes infants, toddlers, adults, and seniors. However, some babies can draw more benefits from probiotics than others.
- Babies born via Caesarean deliveries do not get a generous dollop of good gut microbes from the mother’s vaginal canal and can use the help that probiotics proffer.
- Babies who have been put on any course of antibiotics need probiotics to help their weakened digestive system work well. This also includes infants suffering from GERD, diarrhea, constipation, or other digestive issues.
- Formula-fed babies miss out on the probiotics transferred via their mother’s breastmilk. Even breastfed babies can only get probiotics that their mother’s gut already possesses. In both cases, probiotics can help a baby’s gut function better.
Not only are probiotics safe for infants, but research also shows that probiotics might help ease infant conditions like colic.
What are the benefits of giving probiotics to babies?
These friendly bacteria are incredibly vital for the proper functioning of any person, child and adult, alike. Babies are susceptible to issues like reflux and dyspepsia. Studies show that probiotics can significantly reduce the chance of suffering from reflux. Another sign of an unhealthy digestive system in babies is constipation or diarrhea. When probiotics are given to babies regularly, studies show that they can help improve their bowel movement and keep these digestive ailments at bay. Probiotics also help reduce the risk of developing skin conditions like diaper thrush or rash, oral thrush, and eczema.
Most new parents find themselves staying up with a fussy baby wondering what to do when your baby has gas – the long-term answer to getting rid of gassiness is probiotics. Probiotics help boost the immune system and has been shown to help babies with low birthweight gain weight faster. Regular use of probiotics helps reduce the chances of getting gut infections. Probiotics also aid the health of intestinal bacteria that produce vital nutrients like Vitamin B, thereby, assisting in vitamin synthesis.
What are the best strains of probiotics for babies?
Probiotics come in many species and multiple strains. Some probiotic strains work better than others, and each one offers distinct benefits to your baby. If you are looking for a suitable probiotic supplement for your baby, these are a few of the strains that you should look for:
- Lactobacillus reuteri – This is one of the most critical strains when it comes to the health of infants and children. Studies show that L. reuteri reduces the risk of colic, respiratory disorders, and diarrhea.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum – As your baby grows, B. bifidum is one of the first strains to colonize the gut. Research shows that this strain helps reduce the risk of getting ailments like constipation, diarrhea, eczema, and IBS.
- Bifidobacterium infantis – This gut microbe helps reduce inflammation and boosts immunity.
Not all supplements are created the same. Choose a probiotic supplement that is designed and formulated specifically to meet the needs of babies. LoveBug Probiotics’ Tiny Tummies supplements are designed for babies from 0 to 4 years. Give your little ones the gift of good health for life.
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