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Probiotics have become a bit of a buzzword in the last few years – but do they live up to the hype?
According to Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, babies are naturally introduced to bacteria after birth through the breast milk or formula they drink.
“These bacteria are an important part of the way that humans digest food and extract all the necessary nutrients. They also play a role in your baby’s developing immune system,” says the website.
However, sometimes the balance of bacteria can become disrupted. That’s when probiotics can come in handy.
Confusingly, there are many strains of probiotics, and each one reacts differently in the body.
The most common groups of probiotics are:
Murdoch Childrens’ Research Institute says probiotics are safe for healthy infants.
That said, we recommend consulting your GP first.
It’s hard to say how well probiotics work for treating health conditions in babies, and so far – the research is mixed. Here’s what we found.
Could probiotics help your gassy baby? Perhaps!
This article talks about research that looked at babies who were given bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis) in the first 100 days of life. They found “babies were less gassy and slept better, and the babies were at a lower risk for the development of asthma and allergic dermatitis later in life.”
So what about probiotics and eczema?
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute says, “At the moment, the research and evidence suggests probiotics could help manage allergies and provide relief from eczema symptoms.”
So, that’s a positive.
Similarly, the Research Institute says, “Probiotics might also help to reduce the frequency and duration of diarrhoea.”
Likewise, an article published in Reuters says taking probiotics might help ease a child’s symptoms of constipation.
However, the article adds, “There had been no definitive evidence to recommend that kids with chronic constipation be treated with probiotics.”
The results for treating infant colic with probiotics is also mixed.
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute says, “The evidence indicated that probiotics are of limited use.”
However, a study published in Science Daily suggested otherwise.
So, once again, it’s unclear and we recommend talking to your GP before giving your baby probiotics for colic.
There are a couple of ways you give your baby probiotics: drops and powder. Remember: a health professional should always be consulted first.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Vitamin supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet.
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