Why Babies Benefit From Probiotics
Probiotics for babies—explained!
Parenthood may be one of the most challenging (and rewarding) times of your life—especially in your baby’s early months, when both of you are trying to figure out and navigate your new worlds. You’re on a day-to-day learning curve. And, Google may have become your best friend during late night feedings. Yet, while it’s helpful to have so much information at your fingertips, you can easily get bombarded with the amount of online opinions about which trends you should try. Case in point: infant probiotics. They’ve gained significant traction and praise in recent years. But, how do you even know if they’re actually worth giving a shot? To help you decide, we’re here to dig into probiotics for babies.
Keep reading to learn what probiotics are, potential probiotics’ benefits, and how incorporating infant probiotics into your daily routine may help promote your baby’s health. After all, no one likes the feeling of an upset stomach—and understanding babies’ tummy troubles is our specialty.
What Are Probiotics?
Our bodies are home to more than 100 trillion bacteria, some of which are “friendly” bacteria known as probiotics. These little buggers help support our immune system, and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption, among other natural processes. Good bacteria are introduced to babies’ guts through breast milk, formula, and the eventual food they eat. Probiotics are a vital component of your baby’s digestive system; the same goes for the development of their immune system.
Dietary supplements containing probiotics have become commonplace for adults, children, and yes, even babies. Different types of probiotics often act in different ways, depending on the strain of probiotic used. (Think of the term “probiotics” as an umbrella, similar to saying “tomato.” It encompasses all kinds of tomatoes, but doesn’t in itself define whether it’s referring to a cherry, plum, or grape tomato.) In short, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as: “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” These bacteria aren’t just friendly, they’re downright helpful.
What Are The Benefits of Probiotics?
Pop quiz: Did you know that around 80% of the immune system is located in the gut? Not only does your baby’s digestive system contribute to fighting off infection with a healthy immune system, it practically calls the shots! But that’s just the tip of the probiotics’ benefits iceberg. When taken daily, probiotics can help rebalance healthy bacteria that may be lost after taking antibiotics, as well as promote good digestive health. They’re effectiveness is even being studied for specific immune system issues, like preventing eczema.
The term probiotic literally means “life-promoting,” from the Latin for “pro” (forward) and “bios” (life). Out of the more than 400 probiotic strains present in our bodies, only about 20 account for 75% of all of them.
One of the most documented strains, Bifidobacteria animalis subsp. lactis, is the probiotic in our Infants’ Mylicon Daily Probiotic Drops. It’s been described in over 300 publications and evaluated in more than 180 clinical studies. In one recent study, it was shown to reduce crying and fussiness in colicky babies after two weeks of use. Unlike the babies who received a placebo, a greater percentage of babies who were given our probiotic experienced a 50% or more reduction in daily crying.
You read that last one right. Imagine reducing the duration of your baby’s daily crying and fussiness by at least 50%. It sounds far-fetched, we know, but a clinical, peer-reviewed, published study has shown just that. Daily supplementation of our infant probiotics can be effective at helping to manage colic, along with promoting healthy immunity and digestion. There’s a reason Mylicon is a leading pediatric digestive health brand. Just like our flagship product, Infants’ Mylicon Gas Relief Drops, “Moms who know, know Mylicon.”
Are Baby Probiotics Safe?
You might be thinking: OK, that sounds great. But what’s the catch? What are the risks of baby probiotics? And that's a question you’re 100% right to ask. Probiotics are generally well-tolerated, including in infants. A study by the Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, which followed almost 300 infants who took probiotics for the first two years of their life, starting at birth, reported a strong safety profile.
The Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis probiotic in our daily probiotics for babies has been used safely in food and dietary supplements since 1985, with no reported serious adverse events. Plus, our probiotic was developed from dairy cultures by the over 145-year old renowned bioscience company Chr. Hansen.
However, it’s important to note that probiotics may not be for every infant. If your baby was born prematurely or has immune problems, be sure to talk to your pediatrician about giving your baby probiotics.
How Do You Give Your Baby Probiotics?
Of course, the first step to introducing any new supplement to your infant should always be to consult your pediatrician. Babies’ digestive systems are in their infancy, so be sure to handle yours delicately, just as you do the rest of their tiny little body. Remember: it’s important that your pediatrician is aware of any and all supplements and medications your child is on—even over-the-counter ones and seemingly innocuous products like gripe water.
You may also be wondering: Should I give my baby probiotics every day? The answer is a resounding, yes! As with any healthy habit, consistency is key. If you decide that you want to give infant probiotics a go, you'll want to be sure to give them to your baby every day. Otherwise, they won’t work as efficiently. And, if you stop giving them entirely, the probiotics’ benefits may subside over time. You’ll also need to practice a bit of patience when you start probiotic usage; like any supplement, they need time to establish their benefits.
You now know that there are a lot of different types of probiotics, as well as which one we strongly prefer (wink!). Whichever one you choose, be sure to follow the instructions on its unique packaging.
For our Infants’ Mylicon Daily Probiotic Drops, start by shaking the bottle well before each use to ensure that any probiotic that may have settled at the bottom gets thoroughly mixed in. Then, using the integrated dropper, dispense six drops at a time into a bottle of lukewarm formula or breast milk. If you like, you can also apply them directly on your breast for your baby to suckle up, or dispense them with a spoon. (Keep in mind that you should never microwave the drops, or mix them with hot food or formula. Also, stick to the recommended dose of six drops per day—no more, no less.)
When done, screw the cap on tightly to help maintain the drops’ freshness. To ensure full potency, use all the formula in the bottle within 28 days after opening. After all, probiotics are live microorganisms, and in order for them to help you and your baby, it’s best they stay that way.
Next: Need immediate relief for your gassy baby? Check out our article, How To Relieve Infant Gas.