Role of Probiotics in Infant’s Health

preparation of formula for baby feeding.

Any parents who have spent time shopping for baby formula can attest to the fact that many baby formulas boast the benefit of added probiotics. Probiotics can help support healthy digestion while also offering other benefits. You may be wondering if it is necessary to give your baby a formula with added probiotics and what the true benefits are. Keep reading for everything you need to know about probiotics in baby formula.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are also known as the “good bacteria” that is found in the gut. Our digestive tracts contain a mixture of good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria helps with healthy digestion, which in turn support overall health. Many people take probiotics to support gut health and babies can also benefit from them.

Breastmilk contains natural probiotics from the mother that help aid in the development of a healthy gut for the baby. Many baby formulas add probiotics to their ingredient list in an effort to match the composition of breastmilk as closely as possible. Babies don’t always digest formula as well as they would breastmilk, so added probiotics can help with this.

Do babies need probiotics?

Babies are born with no bacteria in their gut. As they are exposed to bacteria (during the birthing process or their first feeding) their gut bacteria begins to develop. Having healthy gut bacteria helps to ensure a healthy start to life and comfortable digestion.

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Although the effects of probiotics for infants haven’t been extensively studied, the current research does point to probiotics being beneficial for babies. Probiotics are especially beneficial for formula fed babies, since these babies don’t get the pre and probiotics that are present in breast milk.

Once babies get past 6 months of age and begin to eat solid foods, probiotics can make it easy for babies to tolerate their first encounters with solid food. Many babies suffer from constipation when they begin to eat solid foods and having probiotics on board can help prevent this.

Prebiotics vs Probiotics

You may notice that some baby formulas contain probiotics as well as prebiotics. Both prebiotics and probiotics are beneficial for your baby’s health and digestion. Probiotics are the healthy or good bacteria found in the gut. Prebiotics are the food that feeds the good bacteria, helping to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria.

Both prebiotics and probiotics are found in breastmilk which is one of the reasons why breastmilk offers so many great health benefits for you baby. Selecting a baby formula that contains prebiotics and probiotics can help mimic the effects of breastmilk by offering similar components.

Which baby formulas contain probiotics?

Choosing a baby formula that contains probiotics is a great way to ensure that your baby has a healthy start to life. Some of the best organic baby formulas that also offer probiotics include the following:

  • HiPP Baby Formula is made from organic skin milk and comes in a variety of different forms. Choose from HiPP Dutch, HiPP German, or one of their specialty formulas such as hypoallergenic, acid reflux, and comfort. For newborns, the best HiPP formula is HiPP Dutch Stage 1 version as it has both probiotics and prebiotics.
  • Jovie Baby Formula is goat’s milk based and contains GOS prebiotics, which are very similar to those found in breast milk. This easy-to-digest baby formula is made with pure and simple, organic ingredients.
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Other tips for improving your baby’s gut health

  • If you think your baby’s gut health needs a little extra boost, try some of these tips to support their digestion and microbiome.
    Incorporate an infant probiotic supplement into their daily routine (consult with your pediatrician to find a safe and effective option).
  • Make sure to choose the right time to introduce solid foods to your baby. Don’t introduce solid foods before four months of age since your baby’s gut will still be maturing at this time. Around six months of age is the best time to begin the introduction of solid foods.
  • If you choose to and are able to breastfeed, this can help your baby develop healthy gut bacteria. If your baby will be exclusively bottle-fed, make sure to select and baby formula that contains prebiotics and probiotics.

Having a diet rich in probiotics is a great way to ensure that your baby has a healthy start to life. Give your baby a formula that has added prebiotics and probiotics to ensure a healthy gut and comfortable digestion for your baby.