I’m often asked if it’s okay to give babies and children probiotics. The answer is YES. I believe probiotics should be added to the water supply so that anyone from the age of 0-100+ gets a daily dose of these magical organisms. It’s not going to happen though – there’s no money in making people well, pardon the cynicism. Probiotic benefits are very well documented, not just helping to support digestive and gut health, but immunity and cognitive health.
You can give your developing baby probiotics in the womb, by taking them orally yourself. The beneficial bacteria will pass through the placenta and umbilical cord and begin to colonise your growing baby’s gut, giving your baby the best chance of having a strong, robust immune system. For those of you who are interested in the science behind the infant microbiome, and how probiotics can benefit infant gut health, this is a very interesting and detailed paper outlining some of the research that has been carried out: The infant microbiome development.
How can probiotics help my child?
Children of all ages can benefit from probiotics. Even infants can benefit from a high-quality probiotic, as long as it’s labelled safe for infants.
Infants first come in contact with bacteria during the birth process. Upon birth, the infant gut gets populated with bacteria during vaginal delivery and through the mother’s breast milk. If a pregnant woman has to take antibiotics during her pregnancy or when breast-feeding, if an infant is delivered via c-section, has to take antibiotics, or receives infant formula, the infant’s gut is often not populated with the same amount of good bacteria and can lack bacterial diversity. This can lead to digestive issues during infancy, as well as issues such as allergies, asthma, eczema and a weakened immune system later in life.
If your child has to take a course of antibiotics, use of probiotics is essential. Antibiotics kill the bad bacteria that are making your child sick, but they also kill many of the good gut bacteria that are necessary for overall health. This can result in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and other uncomfortable, digestive side effects of antibiotics.
Clinical studies have shown that the right combination of probiotic bacteria can help prevent and alleviate antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
Let’s not forget how modern-day life poses many stress factors for our gut bacteria. Sugar, processed foods, food additives, sleep disturbances and stress can all kill our good gut bacteria. If your child is going through very stressful times (for example at school), taking a probiotic may help restore healthy gut flora and counteract the negative effects of stress on the gut.
Probiotics may also help if food intolerances, allergies or digestive ailments like acid reflux, painful bloating and constipation run in the family or if your child starts experiencing these issues. Probiotics have been shown to help strengthen the gut barrier and support a balanced immune system.
Are probiotics safe for children?
Yes. All you are doing by taking a probiotic supplement is adding more good bacteria to your gut. Therefore, probiotics are considered safe for kids. However, some probiotics may be more suitable for children than others.
If your child is under 2, I recommend that you give them an appropriate baby/child probiotic. Get in touch with me and I will recommend one to you. There are plenty of probiotics on the market that are formulated specifically for infants and children. The main difference between the child-specific products and the ones for adults is the amount of active bacteria, the number of strains, and the specific strains included in the formulation.
Can I give my child your Just For Tummies Live Bacteria?
Absolutely. Once your child is two years old, you can start to give him/her my Live Bacteria capsules.
Simply open up one of the capsules and sprinkle the powder into a drink or yogurt.
Read how they have helped Sneha’s daughter:
My granddaughter, Jessie, will be 3 in February next year, and up until the age of about 2, she was a very good eater. However, like many children, as her personality has developed, so has her vocabulary and she loves the word ‘No’, especially when it comes to food.
Since she isn’t eating as much fruit and veg as she once did, she does get constipated. Giving her the powder from one of our Live Bacteria capsules in a little milk before bed ensures she has a good bowel movement the following day. Secondly, she goes to nursery where she picks up all manner of bugs and viruses, which she then brings home to Mummy, Daddy, Granny and Grandad. As such, we all take regular Live Bacteria to help maintain a robust immune system.
Another easy way to give your child probiotics is by making these simple, tasty and very healthy Probiotic Ice Lollies. It may not be the season for it, but I’m sure the kids won’t say no if you offer them one!
If you have any questions about giving your child probiotics, or would like to know more about our range of supplements, please get in touch. Just get in touch!