Babies are overtly considered vulnerable, and exposure to foreign substances may trigger undesired reactions. Therefore before giving your baby any form of probiotic it is wise to consult with your doctor. The Food and Drug Association (FDA) widely considers probiotics as supplements, and therefore they are not regulated as much as medicine. Given, it is important to buy your probiotics from a trusted supplier because giving your baby a harmful strain may lead to diverse side effects.
However, the role of probiotics to improve your infant’s health cannot be overlooked. Probiotics are associated with improved digestive health.
During delivery, the infant is exposed to lots of bad bacteria in the birth canal which may cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics are good bacteria and will help restore the balance.
Known benefits of probiotics to infants
While it is common for infants to experience varied bowel movements, probiotics are known to help reduce diarrhea symptoms. Specifically, the Lactobacillus strain is safe in children and known to treat infectious diarrhea. Some strains are used to alleviate incidences caused by use of antibiotics and are often recommended by doctors.
Colic is common in infants; it is a period characterized with long crying times especially within the first few months of your child’s birth. It is believed to be associated with abdominal pains during infancy but otherwise, it is just distress of a well-fed baby.
Babies who are fed probiotics have shorter and fewer crying spells and reduced cases of stomach upsets. The Lactobacillus reuteri strain is specifically recommended during the first months of your infant’s life.
While probiotics cannot be used to prevent eczema, they can significantly inhibit eczema flare-ups. Probiotics will also inhibit your infant’s sensitivity to certain allergens (milk, fish, eggs, peanuts, gluten, soybeans, etc.) and therefore reduce the risk of getting atopic eczema common in infants.
The two common strains of probiotics beneficial to infants are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. According to experts, these strains are widely known to reduce respiratory symptoms related to common cold and allergies.
Common sources of probiotics
You can administer probiotics to infants using probiotic supplement drops but if your baby is big enough to eat solid food, then yogurt and foods rich in fiber are a good source to start with. Klaire labs infant probiotic is a good supplement that aids with the digestive health for infants.
Risks associated with the use of probiotics in infants
The common risk is using supplements with prescription medicine. Before you administer any form of probiotics your doctor should check for possible side effects based on your child’s known medical history.
Therefore you should not change, start or stop any dosage of medicines and supplements without seeking a doctor’s consent.
What you should know about cases of probiotic overdose
Probiotics are generally safe and an overdose of good bacteria doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. However, if an infant is immune-compromised, probiotics will bring more harm than good. Here are some of the severe cases that are associated with probiotic overdose.
Severe sepsis. This is an indication of organ failure often associated with reduced urine production and difficulty in breathing.
Fungal or bacterial infection. Bacteremia is the presence of viable bacteria in the blood found in both children and adults. Consequently, Saccharomyces bouldari is a fungal probiotic known to cause fungemia.
Risk of complications from preexisting conditions. Probiotics are especially risky for people with pancreatitis and can be fatal leading to mortality. Bowel ischemia is also a common side effect associated with probiotic overdose.
Severe allergic reaction. Probiotics are known to prevent and to treat different types of allergic responses, however, though rare, some ingredients found in probiotics formulations may trigger an allergic reaction.
Interference with other medications. Antibiotics are known to kill probiotics making it have no effect on your body. In other instances, probiotics are known to speed up the metabolism of Sulfasalazine which is a medication used to treat cases of ulcerative colitis.