What you feed your baby is of utmost importance. As a parent, you can help create a solid foundation for your little one’s health by focusing on what you eat while breastfeeding, what goes into your baby’s formula, and of course, what your child continues to eat once they move onto solids. One of the easiest ways to support your child’s gut as their digestive tract and gut microbiome mature is through adding a probiotic to their daily diet. Here’s what you need to know about probiotics for babies.
What Are Probiotics?
Bacteria is naturally introduced into a baby’s gut system via the mother’s birth canal during vaginal delivery, and through the breastmilk or formula that they consume post-birth. When you think about bacteria, the general consensus is that bacteria causes infections and are, therefore, not good for your health. However, not all bacteria are created equal.
In fact, most bacteria serve no purpose at all, while a select few strains are incredibly healthy and life-sustaining. These are the friendly bacteria that your baby’s gut needs to thrive. Not only do these friendly bacteria help infants and children digest the food they eat and extract maximum nutrition form this food, they also help boost your child’s immune system and help your baby steer clear of several common illnesses.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) defines probiotics as supplements that contain microflora-changing organisms. Mainly of species like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus, these probiotics aid in the proliferation of a healthy microbiome in an individual by colonizing the gut. By working alongside microorganisms that are already present in the gut, probiotics aid in fighting off invading illness-causing organisms.
Do Your Infants And Children Need Probiotics?
Often, parents assume that only older kids and adults benefit from probiotics. However, research shows that this is far from the truth. In a perfect world, mothers would possess an optimally healthy microbiome that they would pass on to their kids during birth and breastfeeding. Unfortunately, the last century has been anything but utopic. Our bodies are subjected to sugary foods, starchy diets, processed items, GMOs, antibiotics, and a number of other elements that result in a degraded gut flora. This means that your child receives a microbiome that needs a little help to function optimally.
An unhealthy microbiome leads to a number of diseases, illnesses, and a weak immune system as your baby grows. According to a National Health Interview Survey probiotics have become the third highest natural product used by children. Research shows that probiotics derived from food or supplements can have a positive effect on your child’s health and wellbeing by boosting their gut’s bacterial balance. Since they have natural components, probiotics are considered safe for infants and toddlers.
Where To Look For Probiotics For Your Infants And Children?
If you are looking for probiotic food items, the grocery store is a good bet. Fermented food items like yogurt, cheddar and Gouda cheeses, buttermilk, and kefir are just a few nutrient-rich foods that also contain probiotics. While buying any of these products, ensure that they contain live and active probiotic cultures. However, specific strains of probiotics offer specific benefits to the consumer. When you feed your children food items that contain probiotics, you might not be able to ascertain exactly what kind of probiotics and in what quantity are present in the food. Probiotic supplements give you a much better understanding of the types and amounts of probiotics that your children are consuming.
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics For Your Infants And Children?
An imbalanced gut microbiome causes a number of issues such as digestive problems, weakened immune system, bad mood, skin conditions, and baby eczema, to name a few. Research on probiotics suggests that infants and children have a whole lot of benefits to earn from consuming probiotics regularly.
According to a review by the AAFP, probiotics help treat digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and gastroenteritis diarrhea. When consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, these friendly bacteria may help reduce the risk of infants developing allergies and skin conditions like eczema. Studies also suggest that probiotics help prevent upper respiratory tract infections in infants and children. JAMA Pediatrics’ study postulates that infants who are given probiotics within the first three months of birth have a better chance of sidestepping issues like colic, acid reflux, and constipation.
How To Choose The Right Probiotic For Your Infants And Children?
As mentioned, specific strains of probiotics offer specific benefits to infants and children. While getting a probiotic supplement for your little one, ensure that it contains child-friendly strains such as Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus plantarum. These strains are proven to be beneficial for children, especially when it comes to boosting their digestive system, preventing the development of allergies, and improving their immune system. Ensure that you choose supplements that are free of additives and allergens like GMOs, gluten, and sugar.
The LoveBug Advantage
LoveBug Probiotics are made by a mom for moms – perfectly fashioned for infants and children. Specially formulated with carefully selected strains, Tiny Tummies and Little Ones are probiotic supplements designed specifically with a child’s growing microbiome in mind. Give your child the gift of lifelong physical and mental wellbeing with LoveBug Probiotics.
Land MH, Rouster-Stevens K, Woods CR, Cannon ML, Cnota J, Shetty AK. Lactobacillus sepsis associated with probiotic therapy. Pediatrics. 2005;115(1):178–181
Soleman N, Laferl H, Kneifel W, et al. How safe is safe? A case of Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei endocarditis and discussion of the safety of lactic acid bacteria. Scand J Infect Dis. 2003;35(10):759–762
Vandenplas Y, Veereman-Wauters G, De Greef E, Peeters S, Casteels A, Mahler T, Devreker T, Hauser B.
J Pediatr (Rio J). 2011 Jul-Aug; 87(4):292-300. Epub 2011 Jul 8.