Posts Tagged ‘probiotics’

A Health Counselor’s Favorite Kid Vitamins

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 9.40.49 AMFeeding children healthy food always feels like such a loaded topic. Are they getting enough nutrients?  Are they eating mineral rich foods? Are they currently going through a food strike where they refuse to eat anything but crackers? It’s enough to pull your hair out!

Personally I tend to focus more on nutrient-dense foods (like grass-fed beef, pastured liver and butter to name a few) and stress less (yes, I still stress) about the vegetables that my daughter is eating. I’ve also added vitamins to her diet because it makes me feel better when she goes through a day refusing to eat a single fruit or vegetable.

The problem is that not every children’s vitamin is created equally. In fact, some are so full of junk that it’s a joke that they’re even labeled as vitamins. I searched high and low before deciding which ones I deemed worthy of giving my daughter and here’s what I discovered.

Probiotics. These are great for supporting gut health and especially important if your child has ever been on antibiotics. When they’re infants you can start with putting some probiotic powder on your nipple before breastfeeding. We use Raw Probiotics by Garden of Life. They’re organic and I feel good giving them to my daughter. It comes in a powder and you can’t really taste it, which makes it easy to mix with water.

Magnesium. It’s safe to say that almost everyone is magnesium deficient. Magnesium is one of the most important minerals–it helps with so many bodily functions and our modern food supply just doesn’t offer enough. I throw a handful of Epsom salts in my daughter’s bath every single time- it absorbs wonderfully through the skin. We have also used Magnesium Calm and sometimes still do, especially when we’re traveling. It’s a great powder that mixes into water and tastes good enough that my picky daughter loves it.

Multivitamin. This might be the trickiest of all! My daughter refuses to take a chalky chewable and will only eat gummy vitamins most of which are loaded with junk. We love Nordic Berries by Nordic Naturals. They are non-gmo, have no added colors, preservatives or allergens. We don’t take them everyday because I try to focus on a nutrient-dense diet but we always have them at home.

Omega 3. Another win for Nordic Naturals. They come in a variety of fun gummy shapes, from dots, to worms to squishy little fishies. They contain all of the omega 3s your child would need without any of the junk.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor and online fitness coach. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their grove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.

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.