Can You Give Probiotics to Your Baby?

Probiotic supplements for babies have suddenly popped up everywhere. These “good bacteria” supplements are intended to help balance the amount of bad bacteria in our bodies, which can aid in treating the symptoms of various ailments, but are they good for infants?

Though not enough research exists yet to be totally sure, the answer seems to be yes. Most breast-fed babies get enough good bacteria from their mother’s milk from fibers called prebiotics, especially if Mom eats foods like apple skin, onions, and bananas. Baby can also get these naturally through foods like yogurt if he is old enough. Formula-fed babies are more likely to need an extra probiotic boost, but check with your doctor first. All babies can benefit from the good bacteria if they are on antibiotics; this will calm their tummies and give them less diarrhea.

Pediatricians suggest that probiotic supplements should be given to infants with specific, bacteria-related health problems. If your baby has diarrhea from taking antibiotics or from an infectious illness, Lactobacillus can reduce their symptoms. Babies suffering from colic can take probiotics to reduce their number of upset stomachs and, as a result, their number of crying episodes. If your infant has eczema, probiotics can reduce her sensitivity to allergens like milk, which will help with flare-ups. Though there is not yet enough solid proof, probiotic supplements may also strenghtnen the immune system, reducing baby’s susceptibility to colds and allergies.