Probiotics are widely known to be good for gut health and immunity. It balances out the harmful bacteria on the digestive tract. There are different products advertised in the market that aim to protect the gut health of infants.
Infant probiotics are promoted as a dietary supplement that aid in gut health. Certain types of probiotics are suitable for a newborn; that is why it’s essential to seek guidance from a doctor to ensure that the baby will truly benefit.
Babies are born with a sterile gut and good bacteria are naturally introduced to them via breastmilk, formula, and healthy foods. Probiotics are good for adult’s digestion and immunity, but do newborns need probiotics?
Benefits of Infant Probiotics
Digestive issues such as diarrhea, colic, acid reflux, constipation are experienced when gut health gets wonky.
Even worse, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s Disease may be experienced when the good and bad bacteria in the gut are not balanced. Probiotics support the gut health of both infants and adults to prevent digestive issues.
Immune System Issues
Studies show that almost 80% of human immunity resides in the gut. When the gut flora is disturbed, it will lead to an ill-functioning immune system.
When the immune system isn’t functioning well, the newborn is more prone to catch the flu, colds, and other illnesses. The use of probiotics for a newborn can help in warding off these issues.
There is research that shows that the gut and brain are connected. It is said that about 80-90% of serotonin, a happy hormone, and the dopamine that regulate pleasure are mostly made in the gut.
Certain types of probiotics are effective in reducing depression and anxiety by influencing the increased production of dopamine and serotonin.
The baby’s skin is sensitive; that is why baby eczema, baby acne, cradle cap, and other skin conditions are usually caused by imbalanced gut flora.
Probiotics deliver balance; that’s why inflammation and infections are reduced, which also improves the skin condition.
Do Newborn Need Probiotics?
The supplementation of probiotics to a newborn is unnecessary, but it helps increase the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.
The use of probiotics is recommended for babies born via cesarean section. If the mother is not in the best health condition during pregnancy it can affect the baby’s gut.
When the baby is about to eat solid foods or takes antibiotics, they can experience constipation or tummy problems.
How to Give Probiotics to Infants
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving your infant any kind of probiotics. If you are still starting to administer the probiotic, start slow, and observe any bowel or behavior changes.
Follow the dosage suggestion depending on the product or depending on the advice of the doctor.
Side Effects of Probiotics for Newborns
Infant probiotics are not suitable for newborns who are seriously or chronically ill, especially those who are immuno-compromised. It is always advisable to seek medical assistance if you want to try an infant probiotic for your baby.
Probiotics are yeast or bacteria-based, so there is a potential risk of gut infection or immune system infection if given to your baby incorrectly. Probiotics are not a regulated medication.
That’s why when administered incorrectly, it may lead to allergic reactions, diarrhea, stomach pain, and bloating.
Overall, the use of probiotics for newborns can be good as long as you have the supervision of your pediatrician. It delivers a lot of benefits to the newborn, especially when it is appropriately administered.