If you’ve wandered down the baby food grocery aisle recently, visited your pediatrician’s office, or even joined in a discussion with local mommies in your neighborhood, then you’ve probably heard of infant probiotics.
The concept of probiotics in baby formulas and as dietary supplements has become a hot topic that’s been brewing in the circles of parents, physicians, and caregivers for quite some time now.
Mounting evidence seems to suggest that a daily dose of this “good bacteria” can help keep children and adults healthier. But, for many moms and dads, the question remains, “Could probiotics offer vital health benefits to infants?”, or more specifically, “Should I be giving probiotics to my baby?”
Are you among the millions of parents that are curious about the benefits of infant probiotics?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about infant probiotics!
The Truth About Infant Probiotics and Your Baby’s Health
There is still some controversy surrounding the subject of infant probiotics. You may have heard conflicting information about them that’s left you feeling unsure. In which case, you wouldn’t be alone.
Sorting through the myths, rumors, and parenting advice can be challenging and time-consuming. It’s often hard for today’s parents to find the time to research every subject making headlines, including the subject of infant probiotics.
Infant probiotics offer many potential benefits to up and coming generations. We feel like it’s important for parents to know the truth about infant probiotics. So, we’re sharing our research so you can make an informed decision for your little one, without having to dig through all of the information out there.
What we’ve discovered could help you understand how probiotics work and how they may benefit your baby’s health.
Infant Probiotics are Naturally Passed to Babies During Birth
Until recently, scientists have believed that the maternal reproductive system was sterile. Today’s modern-day research, however, has indicated otherwise. This has led to many new developments in the science and medical fields.
Now, it’s believed that mothers pass probiotics, otherwise known as healthy bacteria, to their infants through breastfeeding. Also, researchers propose that even before they enter the world, babies are passed this bacteria through their mother’s placenta.
But, that’s not all.
What’s even more interesting is that the probiotic bacteria babies receive from their mothers serve a unique and helpful purpose in the baby’s gut.
If the bacteria received from their mother is healthy, then it aids immune development and strengthens the infant’s immune system, giving them the ability to fight off more of the bad bacteria that they encounter once they are born.
Babies that don’t breastfeed, don’t naturally receive the probiotics that would be passed through their mother’s milk. But, there are probiotic-containing formulas that can help compensate for the probiotics that are naturally produced and transmitted through breastmilk.
In addition to boosting their immune system, research also supports other health benefits related to infant probiotics formulas and supplements.
Medical Experts Report Potential Digestive System Benefits
According to the medical site WebMD, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report stating that infant probiotics can be potentially effective in combatting diarrhea.
The AAP’s findings reportedly suggest that both prebiotics and probiotics have the potential to offer health benefits to infants and children.
Probiotics May Help Prevent Allergies
A baby’s inner ecosystem consists of a mucosal lining that is formed from bacteria and good yeast during the first few weeks of their lives. The lining is found in their gut and is necessary for weeding out food and toxins.
If the lining doesn’t have healthy microflora, then the food and toxins can leak through to the intestines. When this happens, it can put babies at risk for developing increased allergies early in life.
Giving babies supplemental probiotics that are found in the mucosal lining may help to prevent allergies. In the event of a compromised mucosal lining, these possibly preventable allergies are more likely to develop.
Professionals in infant nutrition claim that it is safe to begin giving your baby probiotics immediately, and that it is crucial that they receive them soon after birth to ensure the best potential anti-allergy benefits.
Healthy Brain Development
Dr. Mercola, a leading controversial osteopathic physician and nutrition expert, believes that babies who have bad bacteria residing in their gut flora are prone to increase psychological and developmental challenges. These include modern-day diagnosis among schoolchildren, such as Attention Deficit Disorder and Autism.
Probiotic Supplements May Prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in Preterm Neonates
Necrotizing Enterocolitis is a disorder that is characterized by dying intestinal tissue. This disorder is very common in premature infants.
An Australian study found that the use of probiotics in preterm neonates reduced the incidence of NEC by 30% or more.
Furthermore, the above-referenced study included evidence showing that infant probiotics supplementation significantly reduces all-cause mortality rates without causing any significant adverse effects in preterm neonates.
Probiotics Can Help Children Maintain Healthy Lungs and Skin
Dr. Mercola reports a wide range of potential health benefits associated with the use of infant probiotics.
These beneficial effects include the prevention and reduction of the following:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: a painful type of arthritis that affects the joints
- Eczema: a skin disorder that can cause severe itching, scaling, discomfort, and dry skin
- Vaginal Infections (such as yeast infections, thrush, and ulcerated yeast infections)
- Cirrhosis of the liver
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- H. Pylori induced ulcers
- Hepatic Encephalopathy
Dr. Mercola is an active advocate for the administration of supplemental infant probiotics.
He cites many studies that point to the potential health benefits of using probiotics to thwart health issues in infant-hood and throughout childhood.
One study that he references reveals that daily probiotic use may reduce your child’s chances of developing eczema by 58%.
He believes and quotes studies to back his professional opinion that administering probiotics prior to treating infants with antibiotics can eliminate many of the side effects that these treatments may cause.
Harvard Medical School Claims Varied Health Benefits Associated With Probiotic Use
Harvard Health Publishing, in partnership with Harvard Medical School, reports a long list naming the beneficial possibilities of infant probiotics.
In their article they claim that probiotics may help break down protein and fat in the digestive system of infants, toddlers, and other patients, providing a valuable benefit to those overcoming illnesses. They report that probiotic use strengthens the ability to fight sickness-causing agents.
Some of the other benefits they mention include the treatment and preventions of:
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Crohn’s Disease
- Pouchitis (a possible side effect in surgical colon removal)
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Infection of the Digestive Tract
- Bladder Cancer
- Vaginal Infections
The Harvard report also includes aforementioned benefits, such as combatting diarrhea, preventing irritable bowel syndrome, and warding off eczema in children.
Harvard medical professionals warn that there are many different types of probiotics, and that it is essential that the appropriate type of infant probiotics are used to gain the full range of benefits.
In addition to breastmilk and supplemental infant probiotics, they offer a list of sources where this good bacteria may be derived.
Their list includes:
- soy beverages
- fermented milk
Of course, when you are administering probiotics to children who are one year of age or younger, you must make sure that you follow dietary recommendations. In this case, offering an infant the options listed above is most likely impractical in some cases. Be sure to consult your pediatrician prior to adding any new types of milk or beverages to your infant’s diet.
While they concede that there is more research that needs to be performed, they advise that probiotics administered to infants can’t hurt and may help your baby maintain a healthy mind and body.
Where Can You Purchase Safe-to-use Probiotics for Your Baby?
There are a variety of probiotic supplements available for infants and children. You can often find these products are offered by many online and brick and mortar retail shops. However, it’s important that you choose a reputable, knowledgeable pediatric-specializing merchandiser to purchase your infant probiotic products.
One of the easiest ways to administer infant probiotics to your baby is through the breastmilk of a healthy mom. Another easy and hassle-free way to make sure that your infant is getting the benefits of probiotics is to use a formula that already contains the healthy bacteria that your baby needs.
Your infant is more inclined to take a probiotic formula, than perhaps an additional supplemental dose of probiotics that must be administered through a medicine dropper or other method. But, when you include probiotic formula regularly as part of your infant’s diet, then you eliminate the possibility of accidentally forgetting to give your baby their dosage each day.
Want to ensure that your baby is getting probiotics that offer the greatest health benefits?
Order your probiotic infant formula today and start giving your baby the health benefits they deserve.