Study Selection And Data Extraction
Two independent reviewers identified studies for inclusion and analyzed the selected articles. Discrepancies were resolved by discussion. The process of the study selection is illustrated in . Titles and abstracts were first reviewed to exclude manuscripts that were published in non-English-language journals, systematic and literature reviews, commentaries, meeting abstracts, letters, case reports, animal studies, and clearly irrelevant studies. The remaining full-text articles were assessed for eligibility, based on the research questions. Data on subject characteristics , study characteristics , and clinical outcomes were recorded. The included clinical trials were scored using the Jadad scale .
Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses study flow diagram. Abbreviations: non-gastrointestinal , irritable bowel syndrome , proton pump inhibitor , gastroesophageal reflux disease .
What Did The Research Involve
Between 2011 and 2012, researchers recruited 167 healthy breastfed or formula-fed babies aged less than three months, who met the criteria commonly used to diagnosis infant colic . 85 babies were randomised to the treatment group and 82 were randomised to the placebo group. There was no difference in crying/fuss time between the two groups at baseline .
The treatment group received five drops of L. reuteri in an oil suspension, spoonfed to them once a day for a month. The placebo group received an inactive substance in the same oil suspension and with the same appearance, colour and taste as the treatment.
The main outcome the researchers were interested in was how much crying and fussing the babies made during this month. This was recorded by the babies parents in a Babys Day Diary a validated measure used to record infant behaviour. Researchers measured the total daily cry or fuss time , the cry and fuss time separately, and the number of crying and fussing episodes each day.
They also looked at other outcomes at one month and six months, including:
- the babies sleep duration
- levels of gut bacteria in the babies faeces
- levels of calprotectin in the babies faeces
They analysed their results using standard statistical methods.
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Bacteria And Your Gut
The human GI tract is inhabited by trillions of bacteria. In fact, our bodies contain more bacterial cells than human cells! All bacteria are not created equal, however. While some cause illness, many other types are beneficialeven essentialfor good health.
Along with housing all those bacteria , the GI tract serves as the body’s largest reservoir of immune cells, making it one of the most important lines of defense against infection. This makes sense when you think about the number of bacteria that enter our bodies through our mouths.
And when we consider all the things that babies and children put into their mouths, you can begin to see why the GI tract plays such a big role in fighting off infection.
Good bacteria, such as those found in probiotics, are the workhorses of the gut, maintaining a healthy environment for your immune cells so that they can function effectively to keep you from getting sick.
Regularly eating foods or taking supplements that contain probiotics is one way to help increase the numbers of good bacteria so that they out-compete the bad bacteria.
Excellent gut health, which is closely linked to the health of your immune system, is achieved by striking a balance between the good and the bad bacteria. Both will always be present in your GI tract. Your job is to feed the good bacteria so that they can outnumber the bad guys.
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Should You Give Your Child Probiotics
Parents might assume that even if probiotics don’t help, they aren’t likely to be harmful. The American Academy of Family Physicians states that probiotics do appear to be safe for healthy children.
However, there are many types and strains of probiotics to choose from, and the dosages can vary widely between supplements. It can be hard to figure out how much to take as well as how often to take them.
Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding whether to give your kids probiotic supplements:
- They are not regulated by the FDA, making it virtually impossible to know if the label accurately describes what is in the products.
- Although probiotics appear to be an effective treatment for the conditions listed above , there is much we still don’t know about which strains and dosages are the most effective.
- There is no proven benefit to giving healthy kids probiotics regularly, and they are not approved bythe FDA as a treatment for any specific disease or condition, according to the AAFP.
- Gas and bloating are the most common side effects of probiotic supplements. While not harmful, these side effects can be uncomfortable.
A healthy and safe choice is to give your child a serving of yogurt daily or include other probiotic-rich foods in your family’s meals. Look for a statement on the label that the food contains “live and active cultures.” These foods will provide good bacteria to support a healthy immune system without the risk of side effects.
Improve Symptoms Associated With Constipation
As we just saw, Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria combined with either Bifidobacterium breve or Bifidobacterium animalis has been found to improve many underlying causes associated with constipation. Research has found that Bifidobacterium lactis can also help ease stool expulsion and improve symptoms such as bloating, hard stools, and the sensation of not emptying your bowels completely.5
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Nordic Naturals Babys Nordic Flora Probiotic Powder
Why its great: This one is the least expensive and it comes in powder packets that are easy to use. Each packet is the correct dosage, so you dont have to worry about measuring out the right amount. It has 4 billion CFU and contains 2 strains of probiotics that are proven to help with digestive health. This probiotic is also completely odorless and tasteless, which means its also easier to get your child to take it.You get 30 doses with this box and it is best for babies and toddlers 6 months to 3 years old.
Keep in mind: This one is for 6 months and up, so youll need to find something else to use for newborns.
Good for: Parents that want a good quality probiotic on a budget.
Baby Probiotics: Do Probiotics Really Improve Your Infant’s Health
Over 100 trillion microbes live in our intestinal tract, some of them are good and some are bad. Good microbes, like probiotics, help support your little ones health and longevity. Probiotics are like tiny superheroes that balance out our body’s bad and good bacteria. They boost gastrointestinal and general health by supporting immune function and reducing inflammation.
Babies get probiotics through the foods they eat or in the form of a dietary supplement. Research has shown probiotics are safe and well-tolerated in babies and children. Probiotics are important for newborns because they are born with a sterile intestinal tract. Exposure to bacteria before birth is dangerous for a fetus. So for nine months, babies live and grow in a microbe-free safe zone.
But after birth, microbes such as probiotics are introduced into babies bodies to aid immunity, boost infection resistance and nutrient absorption, and promote detoxification and metabolism. Infant immunity is largely dependent on maintaining an equilibrium of intestinal microbes imbalances can lead to issues like abnormal gastrointestinal function, allergies, asthma, and more.
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Does My Baby Need Probiotics When Having Antibiotics
Yes, probiotics are beneficial for babies on antibiotics. Antibiotics not only deplete the harmful bacteria but also bring down the numbers of good bacteria. Infants on an antibiotic course may also develop diarrhea as a side effect. Giving probiotics is an excellent way to restore good gut bacteria and cut down the side effects of the antibiotics .
What Time Of Day Is Best To Give Baby Probiotics
Always speak with your infants pediatrician about whenand ifit is appropriate to give your child probiotics. There is not one recommended time, but in general, the morning with the first bottle or feeding is best so that you can observe any potential adverse reactions throughout the day.
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Taking Excess Probiotics Can Cause Mild Discomfort
Taking more than a usual dose 1 to 10 billion colony forming units of probiotics doesnt necessarily mean better results and, instead, might provoke some mildly uncomfortable side effects.
Some research has shown that using more bacteria may, in fact, counteract . If the bacteria get to the food before us, they can turn it into gas, says Farhadi. On top of excess gas, you might experience bloating or a generally upset stomach. Diarrhea can also occur, but thats about as bad as it gets.
Side effects, most commonly gas, may also occur when someone first starts taking probiotics, as their gut may experience some changes in bacteria levels. Usually, though, if someone is taking an average dose, these side effects should wear off soon, once the body adjusts.
Infant Probiotics: Does Your Baby Need Them
If you spend any time talking to moms of infants, the conversation inevitably turns to probiotics.
These tiny bacteria are hailed as digestive superheroes for everything from constipation to colic! In recent years, probiotics have gone from an alternative health concept to a lifestyle-conscious buzzword to mainstream wellness advice.
But what exactly are probiotics? In this article, well explore what makes these good bacteria so glorious for immune function.
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Development Of The Gut Microbiome
Babies begin to develop their unique intestinal bacterial profile, known as the gut microbiome, even before birth as they are exposed to bacteria in the womb. During the birth process, the gut becomes further colonized with bacteria from the mother.
A 2019 study found that 63% of infants’ gut bacteria matched their mother’s bacterial profile, demonstrating that maternal health directly affects babies’ health from birth.
Other factors that influence strains of gut bacteria in early life include exposure to antibiotics, premature birth, genetics, and nutrition. Breast milk naturally contains probiotics, and while many infant formulas have probiotics added to them, the research is unclear on whether they provide the same benefits for gut health.
Why Infants Babies And Toddlers Benefit From Probiotics
The gut is made up of trillions of live microorganisms responsible for 80% of our immune system, so having good gut health is extremely important for baby and toddlers health for years to come. The gut also plays a huge role in digestion, skin health, brain chemistry, hormones, and immunity and is often referred to as a second brain.
A healthy gut makes for a healthy life!
And while you would think that baby comes into this world with a perfectly balanced little gut, that just isnt the case. Babys gut bacteria is influenced from moms gut health in utero, gestational age, mode of delivery, diet and antibiotic exposure. And because of the modern world that we live in high-stress, pro-antibiotic, nutrient-poor and abundance of refined foods, most moms gut health is depleted to some extent.
So while I am wary of adding any supplements or medicine into an infants daily life, I am a firm believer that probiotics are a must for most babies to help them boost their growing gut health. They are generally safe for healthy babies, but as always, consult with your pediatrician before starting any probiotic, especially if your child has serious health issues.
Probiotics For Babies: When Can You Introduce Them And How Do They Work
From a brief episode of a stomachache to constipation or diarrhea, babies often encounter a range of gastrointestinal problems. Several remedies aim at easing these problems, but one that stands out from the rest is probiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that rectify a malfunctioning digestive system. Probiotics are popular among adults, but can babies have them?
Here, MomJunction answers this question and tells you more about probiotics for babies.
Is There A Minimum Age Limit
Different companies may make different probiotics for newborns, older babies and toddlers. Although there is no minimum age specified for general probiotic use, as mentioned above, it’s always important to discuss with your child’s doctor first. “You should always talk to your pediatrician before starting a specific probiotic, and this is especially important if your child has a compromised immune system or cancer,” says Dr. Ferry.
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How To Give Baby Powdered Probiotics
- Following the dosage suggestions on the particular product, add powdered probiotics to breast milk or formula.
- Alternatively, you can put the powdered probiotics directly on your breasts before feeding. To do so, apply my DIY nipple cream, then sprinkle the probiotic powder directly on top.
- When baby is eating solids, mix powdered probiotics into babys water cup or food.
What Are Baby Probiotics And What Are The Benefits
“Probiotics are good bacteria that normally should be living in our intestines, and which begin to colonize our intestines from the time we are in the womb, explains Jenelle Ferry, M.D., a neonatologist and the director of feeding, nutrition and infant development at Pediatrix Medical Group of Florida. We want to keep a healthy balance of this good bacteria in our gut to out-compete the bad bacteria.
Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are the two most common probiotic strains, and besides being available as supplements, they can also be found in naturally fermented foods like yogurt.
According to Dr. Ferry, probiotics can help support better digestion as well as the immune response. “The best supporting evidence we have for probiotics in older infants and in toddlers is to aid with some GI illnesses. Use of probiotics can shorten the duration of gastroenteritis and help the post-diarrheal illness recovery,” she says.
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Which Probiotics Are Safe For Children
While many researchers believe that having a balanced microbiome is important in infants and children, the use of probiotics and their potential benefits needs more study, since some children can experience gas or bloating with probiotics.
Cows milk isnt recommended for children to ingest until they are at least a year old, but yogurt is safe for babies between 4 and 8 months. However, you should always check with your pediatrician before adding any supplement or probiotic food to your childs diet.
Children who are chronically ill or who have compromised immune systems should never be given probiotics due to the potential for serious side effects.
Adding Probiotics To The Gut Microbiome
Ingesting probiotics adds healthy bacteria to the gut microbiome, which helps improve the balance of good vs bad gut bacteria in a couple ways.
First, by adding probiotics to your routine you are adding beneficial bacteria directly to the microbiome, at least temporarily increasing counts of these useful bacteria in your system.
In addition to this, probiotics actually exert antimicrobial activity against pathogens in the gut. This means they can help push out those bad bacteria, bringing balance back to your gut microbiome.
Rebalancing your gut by taking probiotics may help to alleviate digestive symptoms, especially if your symptoms were caused by an imbalanced gut microbiome in the first place.
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How We Chose The Best Baby Probiotics
To choose the best baby probiotic, we used the above guidance from Dr. Ferry to start our search. We looked for probiotics that had lactobacillus and/or bifidobacterium, which Dr. Ferry says are the two most common probiotic strains . We also researched which options were recommended the most by What to Expect community members and our contributing writer staff. We also made sure each probiotic had high reviews from other reviewers who tried them online.
Below, the best baby probiotics to ask your pediatrician about.
See registry advice and a custom baby gear checklist
How Could The Results Of The Study Impact How Infant Colic Is Managed
The study indicated that dietary probiotics have the potential to soothe an exclusively breastfed infant with colic. Daily probiotic supplementation could therefore provide great relief for parents and caregivers alike when looking after a breastfed child, as they no longer will feel completely helpless should their baby develop colic.
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When To Be Concerned About Baby Gas
So youve tried tummy massages and bicycle kicks, but you just cant comfort your baby. Now what? Its a good idea to speak with your pediatrician especially if:
- Your baby isnt gaining weight
- Your baby isnt interested in eating
- Your baby is struggling with constipation
Your pediatrician can help determine the cause of your babys discomfort so he can get the relief he deserves.
How Baby Probiotics Can Help With Constipation
Constipation is an all too common problem amongst many toddlers and babies. It causes painful and infrequent bowel movements, fecal incontinence, and abdominal pain. To treat this uncomfortable condition, the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition recommends behavioral modification, dietary changes, and family education.
As far as dietary changes go, some studies have examined the effectiveness of probiotic supplements in treating constipation in infants. One study found that a combination of Bifidobacteriumand Lactobacillus sppprobiotic strains helped reduce constipation symptoms in infants by increasing the frequency of bowel movements.
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What Role Probiotic Supplements Play For Formula
For formula-fed babies, there are options for formulas that have been fortified with probiotics along with all the other nutrients your little one needs. The inclusion of probiotics in baby formulas not only reflects the natural contents of breast milk but also helps to promote a healthy balance of bad and good bacteria in your babys gut. These probiotics work alongside your baby’s microflora to improve your baby’s wellbeing. As an added advantage, a probiotic enriched formula may help to prevent or treat tummy problems.