Possible probiotic benefits range from improved gastrointestinal health to better overall health. The research about probiotic supplements is still slim, but there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest certain benefits. The question is whether the potential benefits are worthwhile for little ones and if you should include probiotic supplements in their diet.
These supplements are generally safe, suggesting the inclusion of a daily pill, powder, or gummy is acceptable for children. Still, as a parent, it is always best to talk to your child's pediatrician before making any dietary changes.
Benefits of Giving Your Kids Probiotics
Probiotic supplements, such as the Wellements Organic Probiotic Drops or Single Stick Packs, potentially help to restore balance to the gut microbiome and GI tract. Including these supplements in your children's diet is said to have many benefits, including reducing gas and colic symptoms, relieving upset tummies, easing constipation, and supporting immune function.
The microorganisms in probiotics are known as good bacteria and help support gut health. Also, the organisms help ensure the proper function of the intestines and reduce intestinal inflammation, the common cause of gas and colic. The buildup of good bacteria in the bowels can relieve digestive upset and allow for regular bowel movements.1
Best Probiotics for Infants
You can find probiotic supplements for babies. These supplements will typically include a few of the better bacteria strains for little ones, including:
- Bifidobacterium breve M-16V
- Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis
- Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Introducing probiotics to your baby's diet may be especially important if you deliver by C-section. Babies born vaginally gain exposure in the birth canal to Bacteroides phylum — a necessary bacterium for proper immune system response. C-section babies may lack this specific bacteria, meaning their immune system could use the additional support from a supplement.2
Best Probiotics for Toddlers
Probiotics for toddlers can include the same strains as those for infants, but you may also want to look for options specifically for growing kids. Important strains for toddlers include:
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus reuteri
Best Probiotics for Children
Check usage labels for probiotic supplements for children over three or four. Many manufacturers make specific products for children. Also, look for supplements that include the following strains:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Saccharomyces boulardii
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
How To Choose the Right Probiotic
Probiotic supplements can vary in bacterial strains, colony-forming units, and dosage recommendations. When you shop for a supplement, it helps to know what you expect from taking it and which bacterial strains will get you closest to your goal. Also, you must know how to store the supplements correctly, not to dilute the efficacy of the pill, powder, or gummy.
Search for name-brand options, especially those boasting third-party testing. Before introducing probiotics or supplements into your child's diet, talk to their pediatrician. Some children may benefit from a supplement, but others may not. If your little one has underlying health issues, a supplement may have adverse effects, like bloating or discomfort.
Your child's doctor can help you understand how probiotics may benefit your child. They may also have recommendations for specific supplements.
Probiotic supplements may improve gastrointestinal health. The supplements can ensure a balanced gut for little ones, reducing colic, gas, upset tummies, and constipation risks. Still, always talk to your child's doctor before making any dietary changes. Wellements is here for you and your growing family. We want you and all parents to have access to relevant information, so you have what you need to know to make the best and safest nutritional decisions for your children.