Probiotics in Baby Formula – Enhancing Infant Gut Health

Probiotics in Baby Formula – Enhancing Infant Gut Health for Long-Term Wellness

Did you know that babies are born with a sterile intestinal tract? Newborns are exposed to bacteria, including probiotics, for the first time when they arrive in this world.

Breastmilk not only provides nutrients to the infant, but is also a source of probiotics (milk microbiota) and prebiotics (HMOs) contributing to the establishment of the infant gut microbiota.

National Institutes of Health

Probiotics in Baby Formula - Enhancing Infant Gut Health - The Importance of Probiotics in Baby Formula

The Importance of Probiotics in Baby Formula

Probiotics are important for the different systems of an infant’s body – they promote detoxification and metabolism, aid immunity, and boost nutrient absorption. Multiple research have shown that probiotics are safe for babies and older children, so these days, probiotics are often added to baby food for both infants and toddlers.

Baby formulas enriched with probiotics and prebiotics improve such stomach issues as diarrhea, gas, colic, and constipation considerably. During the first months of life, an infant’s digestive system is only developing, so it can be hard to avoid gut problems. Probiotics help solve various health conditions, so if you’re feeding your baby with formula milk, pay attention to its composition. Formulas that include probiotics and prebiotics are good for your little one’s gut health.

In case you’re looking for baby formulas with added probiotics, some European manufacturers of organic baby food add probiotics to the composition of their formulas. For example, you can find probiotics in hipp organic baby formula and prémibio organic formula.

Probiotics in Baby Formula - Enhancing Infant Gut Health - What They Are & How They Work

Probiotics in Baby Formula – What They Are & How They Work?

Probiotics are microorganisms that live in our bodies. In our intestinal tract, there are 100 trillion different microbes belonging to over 35,000 bacterial species. To be called a “probiotic”, a microorganism should be able to survive in our intestinal tract after ingestion, be safe for the human body, and bring some benefit for the host.

Probiotics perform several significant functions in a baby’s body:

  • break down toxins and medications
  • regulate the amount of harmful bacteria and prevent them from entering the bloodstream
  • improve digestion
  • produce vitamin K
  • increase the absorption of vitamin D

Interesting Fact! It takes 3-5 years for a child’s microflora to fully develop and become complex. Each child or adult has a unique microbiome – a community of good microbes in the body. And probiotics are among the first microorganisms that start the process of forming the microbiome.

Further Reading: Top 20 Natural Teething Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Probiotics in Baby Formula - Enhancing Infant Gut Health - Are they safe

Are Probiotics Safe for Any Baby?

Breast milk is considered the best source of probiotics due to its natural composition, containing essential beneficial bacteria that support a newborn’s developing immune system and digestive health. However we can all understand that breastfeeding isn’t always possible, or even preferred.

Probiotics in Baby Formula

Scientific research has demonstrated that probiotics are safe for healthy infants, low-weight newborns, and even premature newborns. These bacteria are typically well-tolerated by babies. However, there are cases when probiotics cause probiotic-induced colic, so it’s recommended to consult a pediatrician before giving your infant probiotic supplements.

Further Reading: 6 Healthy Ways Keeping Pets Benefits Your Child

Probiotics in Baby Formula - Enhancing Infant Gut Health - How they enhance infant gut health

Probiotics in Baby Formula – How Can Probiotics Enhance Infant Gut Health?

When the amount of harmful bacteria in a baby’s body is too big, different health complications can arise:

  • food allergies
  • asthma
  • bowel inflammation
  • abnormal gut function
  • eczema
  • obesity
  • irritable bowel syndrome, etc

So, it’s important to achieve a balance in a baby’s intestinal microflora. And probiotics help with that considerably. A strong and well-developed digestive system allows to break down food and process the nutrients fast and without any stomach problems.

Probiotics help improve such a condition as constipation in infants by increasing the frequency of bowel movements, and so this common problem among babies can be solved by feeding them formula milk that includes probiotics in its composition.

Recently, probiotic supplements have become a common treatment for child diarrhea. Infants and toddlers up to 2 years old often suffer from this stomach problem, and the usage of probiotic-enriched formula has shown effectiveness in curing diarrhea. It’s known from research that breastfed babies suffer from diarrhea significantly less often than bottle-fed children, and the reason is the presence of probiotics in breast milk. So, adding them to baby formula makes it closer in composition to breast milk.

Another stomach issue with which probiotics might help is colic. It has been proved that probiotic supplements containing L. reuteri bacteria are effective in lessening the symptoms of baby colic.

Probiotics in Baby Formula - Enhancing Infant Gut Health - Summary

Probiotics in Baby Formula – Summary

Probiotics, microorganisms that form a healthy gut microbiome, are significant for a baby’s health. They influence the infant’s digestive and immune systems, support a balance between good and bad bacteria, break down toxins, and even produce vitamin K.

Breastfed babies receive probiotics from breast milk, but bottle-fed infants and toddlers often develop probiotics deficiency, and thus, have such stomach issues as diarrhea, colic, constipation, and gas. In this case, a good option for curing gut problems in small children is baby formula containing probiotics. Such formula milk is close to breast milk in composition and helps infants and toddlers cope with the most common gut and immune problems.

Photos by Helena Lopes

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