Posts Tagged ‘reflux’

Can Your Baby Benefit from Probiotics?

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Can Your Baby Benefit from Probiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract and play many important roles, including protecting against infection, boosting the immune system and assisting in digestion. A baby’s digestive tract is thought to be sterile before birth and colonized with beneficial bacteria by going through the birth canal and drinking breast milk. Babies born via C-section, formula fed or born to mothers who may have less healthy intestinal flora (for any number of reasons) usually benefit from taking probiotics.

The most common gastrointestinal disorders that lead to pediatric visits during the first six months are colic, acid reflux and constipation. All three of these may be helped with regular use of a children’s probiotic. Studies have shown that infants given a probiotic showed less crying and vomiting, and emptied their bowels more each day than the placebo group.

What you eat and your digestive state is what you’re giving your baby during lactation, so it’s important that mom gets plenty of probiotics as well. Some simple ways to get more probiotics into your diet including taking a supplement and eating fermented foods that are naturally high in healthy bacteria and help colonize the gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, pickled vegetables and kombucha are all good choices, easy to include into a daily diet, and easy to find.

To further improve your baby’s digestion, try giving her a probiotic as well. While no adverse side effects have been shown when giving infants a probiotic, it is always best to check with your pediatrician and decide on a safe dose for your child. Powdered probiotics can be sprinkled on their tongue, put on your nipple right before feeding, or mixed into a bottle. Just a tiny pinch is usually enough for the first few months and can be gradually increased over time to about ¼ teaspoon once a day at about 3 months. Make sure you buy a brand specifically for children since their formulations will be different than those for adults, and check to make sure they are dairy and gluten free.

No matter how old your baby, always start off with a small dose and gradually increase it over time so their gut has time to adjust to the new bacteria.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.