The Missing Link in Your Baby's Health: Probiotics

As moms, we all want what’s best for our babies and that starts with giving them the best start possible. Unfortunately, some of today’s birthing practices may actually be hindering the health of newborns. With increased rates of antibiotic exposure, c-sections, and other factors, mothers are no longer effectively passing on beneficial probiotics to their babies during birth like they used to, which puts them at higher risk for allergies, asthma, eczema, colic, and more. That’s why it is so important to understand why infant probiotics are needed and how they can help your baby. 


The Role of Antibiotics in Newborn Health

It’s no secret that antibiotics are overused in hospitals today. This means that more and more newborns are exposed to antibiotics during birth—which can be both helpful and harmful depending on the situation. For instance, many women receive IV antibiotics during labor if they test positive for group B strep (GBS). While this can help protect a baby from the potentially dangerous infection, it also eliminates beneficial bacteria in the process.  Plus, there are other ways to eliminate the Group B Strep bacteria naturally and preventatively, earlier on in pregnancy.


C-Sections Reduce Natural Transfers Of Beneficial Bacteria

C-sections also reduce natural transfers of beneficial bacteria from mother to baby because babies don't pass through the vaginal canal – this passageway coats the baby in an armor of beneficial microbes as they move through.   For example, one study found that nearly 40% of women who had c-sections and 34% who had vaginal deliveries did not transfer any beneficial Bifidobacterium from mother to baby during birth—including Bifidobacterium infantis (or “B. infantis”) which is an especially helpful strain for infants.


What Benefits Do Infant Probiotics Have?

Infant probiotics have been shown to have many benefits for newborns including improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune system development. One important strain of probiotic that babies need is Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis). This specific strain helps babies digest breastmilk better and has also been linked to reducing colic symptoms in infants. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce allergies, asthma, eczema, and other chronic health issues in infants when taken regularly throughout infancy.


How Can I Give My Baby Probiotics?

The best way for your baby to get adequate amounts of infant probiotics is by taking an oral supplement formulated specifically for infants every day or several times a week depending on your healthcare provider’s recommendation. You can also try adding fermented foods such as sauerkraut or yogurt into your baby's diet once they reach 6 months old if you feel comfortable doing so (always check with your healthcare provider first!). Additionally, if you are breastfeeding, you can take a probiotic supplement or eat fermented foods yourself, and some of those diverse cultures will pass through your breastmilk to baby, which will help ensure that your little one gets exposed to beneficial bacteria even if you don't give them an oral supplement directly!            


It is clear that modern day birthing practices have had a negative impact on newborns' gut health - but there is still hope! By providing our little ones with infant probiotic supplements or using probiotics ourselves while breastfeeding, we can help ensure that our children get the beneficial bacteria they need for optimal health and development - starting from day one! We know it isn't easy being a mom these days - but hopefully now you know just how important it is for us to take extra steps towards protecting our babes' gut health!  After all - happy guts mean happy babies!

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