“Why can’t I have a happy baby like everyone else?”
It’s a question that I’ve heard time and time again from parents of a fussy or colicky baby. It’s hard to remember, during those epic Screamfests, that your baby doesn’t feel well.
It’s hard to see your precious little one in pain—especially due to a seemingly incurable bothered belly.
The good news is that science has come a LONG way towards identifying and treating digestive issues in young children and one of their best new discoveries lies in something called infant probiotics.
Achieving Balance in the Force
Infant probiotics are actually a fancy way of saying bacteria.
Hold on there! Before you get all stereotypical and “bacterist” on me, let me correct your assumption.
It’s true that most bacteria are BAD, but infant probiotics are not on that side of the intestinal
tracks tracts. They are actually quite heroic, helping promote a healthy digestive tract and immune system.
The thing is, it’s pretty easy for bacterial balance (“gut flora,” if that sounds better) to get out-of-whack. Probiotics, which occur naturally in your body, help to balance that bacteria between good and evil. (See? Heroic.)
Unhealthy foods, stress, lack of sleep (HA!), antibiotic overuse, and several other factors can all cause the balance to move toward the bad bacteria side. Or, in the case of your baby (who, let’s hope, hasn’t had cheeseburgers, chips, and shakes yet) an imbalance due to an immature digestive system.
Probiotics (and specifically infant probiotics) are added to your diet as a way to boost the numbers on the “good” side and restore harmony into the biosystem.
Why Probiotics are in the
Probiotics are awesome. They help our digestive system flow smoothly (i.e. preventing constipation) and give a healthy boost to our immune systems. In fact, research has shown that probiotics can help in preventing and treating the following conditions and more:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin infections (eczema, cold sores, acne)
- Vaginal infections (including yeast infections and BV)
- Urinary tract infections
- Oral diseases
- High blood pressure
What is Good for You is BETTER for Baby
Hopefully that list shows you that taking probiotics is a really good thing for you to do. But what’s good for you, is amazing for your baby. By maintaining the proper gut bacterial balance from birth, you can help prevent many of the health issues you yourself may be struggling with.
In addition to those, infant probiotics have been shown to help babies with…
- Acid reflux
Let me highlight that again: Probiotics have worked wonders for parents of colicky babies.
One study, published by Pediatrics, found that the babies given probiotics were only crying for 51 minutes a day after four weeks, compared with 145 minutes for the infants who were given simethicone (gas drops). Seriously.
Time for a little experiment. Next time your baby is showing signs of gassiness, pay attention to which end delivers the gas.
Then do that consistently for a week and see if things improve.
Infant Probiotics: Even More Important for C-Section Babies
When a newborn comes through the birth canal, she picks up all kinds of good bacteria from her mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted during a c-section. This could be why studies have shown that babies born via c-section are more prone to allergies and weaker immune systems.
But even infants that do go through the birth canal can benefit from probiotics. As many as 85% of women have vaginal infections when they give birth, which can interfere with the transmission of the good bacteria.
The Best Infant Probiotics Available
Buyer beware! Not all probiotics are created equal.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Multiple (go for at least 3) probiotic strains
- Strains that will help whatever you’re trying to treat (e.g. infant-specific strains)
- Microorganisms in large numbers—upwards of 1 billion for babies (or 10 billion for adults)
Or, if you don’t want to go through all the label-reading hassle, here are several brands that pass all the tests. (Just remember, you should always ask your pediatrician before taking or administering drugs or supplements of any kind. A simple phone call should do it!)
Probiotics for Newborns (0–6 Months)
Infant Probiotics (6 Months–2 Years)
Probiotics for Older Kids (2–4 Years)
Because probiotics are live organisms (so appetizing, right?), they lose potency over time and when not stored properly. So, when ordering:
- If your probiotic needs refrigeration, make sure you order from a company that will ship your probiotics on ice.
- Choose an expedited shipping option.
- Always check the expiration date on your probiotics! They can lose strength quickly.
When in Doubt…
If you are still not sure your baby is getting the infant probiotics necessary to achieve optimum health, there’s only one more thing you can do…
Break out the greek yogurt or make your own using a probiotic yogurt starter. Mix in some healthy age-appropriate fruits and veggies and watch those tummy troubles fizzle out and the smiles settle back in.
There you have it, everything I know about infant probiotics.
Time to turn that knowledge into less screaming.
You with me?
Have You Read These Yet?
- Everything a New Mama Warrior needs to Know about Baby Care
- 10 Effective Baby Formulas for Colic That Will Get You Swooning
- Is Your Baby Getting The Right Vitamins?
- Beware the Lurking Monster: 9 Signs of Teething to Watch For
- 8 Simple Ways to Stop Swaddling
- 15 Things You Should Expect When Maternity Leave Ends
We ♥ honesty! This post contains affiliate links that provide extra money for our mutual coffee
habits addictions. Click here to learn more.
In addition to being a wife, stay-at-home mom, and regular writer here at Mighty Moms, Christi does freelance graphic design work, and manages her Etsy shop. She also enjoys photography, fine art, spending time with family and friends, being organized, chocolate, reading, and being outdoors. Get to know her better!