Probiotics are the beneficial live microorganisms that present many health benefits when administered in adequate amounts. They are proposed to aid in the colonization of the guts by different mechanisms. The specific strains of these bacteria have been studied in infants and adults as well. Because of their effectiveness and very few non-harmful side effects, they are often prescribed or suggested by medical professionals to help patients deal with digestive or gut-related problems.
The most gastrointestinal problems that infants suffer are colic, constipation, trouble gaining weight and acid reflux that result in discomfort, diarrhea and worried parents. Babies born via C-section, formula-fed babies, infants on any of antibiotic treatment or breastfed babies can all benefit from probiotic microorganisms that are suitable for them under pediatrician control.
There are many studies stating that many strains of probiotic bacteria (such as Bacillus infantis and Lactobacillus reuteri) help infants to gain weight, decrease the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants and appear to be safe for the management of infantile colic. It is also important to point out that breast feeding the infants for the first six months after birth is crucial for their gut microbiome to establish.
Probiotic supplements in liquid or powder forms can be easily administered to infants. It is also recommended that introduction of probiotics should be consulted with a doctor beforehand and it is mostly safe for infants six months and up to receive probiotics.
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- Viswanathan, S., et al. “Survey and evidence based review of probiotics used in very low birth weight preterm infants within the United States.” Journal of Perinatology 36.12 (2016): 1106-1111.
- Dermyshi, Elda, et al. “The “Golden Age” of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized and observational studies in preterm infants.” Neonatology 112.1 (2017): 9-23.