In a perfect universe, your baby would enter this world with ultimate gut health, meaning their gut would be untainted by harmful or disruptive bacteria. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Amniotic fluid is not sterile, yet it is your baby’s first introduction to bacteria. Your gut health influences the bacteria in your amniotic fluid, and several factors influence said gut health. Those include but are not limited to sugary and starchy foods, processed foods, antibiotics, and GMOs, all of which can tarnish the gut flora you pass to your little one. By the time your baby makes their grand entrance into this world, their gut may already be out of balance.
Gut health imbalance can adversely affect even the healthiest of adults. For babies, however, it can cause everything from mood disturbances to eating issues to colic. Probiotics serve as your little one’s first defense against gut imbalance. That said, what foods are rich in probiotics, and which can you give to babies?
You cannot give them solid foods until your baby is about six months old. You can, however, make breast milk yogurt using breast milk and baby probiotics. Mix about one-eighth of a teaspoon of probiotics with one ounce of breastmilk, let ferment overnight and serve for breakfast. Though little can go wrong with this healthy mixture, always consult your pediatrician before serving your little one anything out of the ordinary.
Once your baby is six months old, you can serve yogurt, cheese, and other doctor-approved dairies. Yogurts with probiotics can help boost digestive health, increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals, help with weight management, and increase immunity, among other benefits.
Kefir is a fermented milk product that is an excellent source of vitamins, nutrients, and probiotics. Kefir is one of the most probiotic-rich foods and is more beneficial to gut health than yogurt, often touted as the best-known probiotic food in Western culture. You can introduce kefir to your little one at around six months, like yogurt. However, be sure that any kefir you introduce is in solid form and free of honey or added sweeteners.
Aged cheeses, such as Gouda, cheddar, provolone, Swiss and cottage cheese, are all strong sources of probiotics. You can introduce healthy cheese to most babies between seven and nine months. However, wait until you consult your pediatrician to ensure your little one is not intolerant to dairy products. Otherwise, you risk causing an adverse effect on your little one.
Tempeh is a popular meat replacement, a fermented soy product that can be a nutritious addition to any person’s vegetarian diet. In addition to being high in proteins, vitamins, and minerals, tempeh is an excellent source of probiotics and prebiotics. While probiotics help maintain the natural balance of good and bad gut flora, prebiotics help produce good gut bacteria. This is necessary if, for any reason, your baby has more bad gut bacteria than good.
Tepache is a lightly sweetened, fizzy beverage containing fruit discards and a hint of alcohol. It is rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, manganese, calcium, and phosphorus, as well as enzymes that help aid in digestion. Because it is lightly fermented, it helps maintain the good flora within the gut by balancing the good and bad bacteria and, when necessary, promoting the production of the good. Despite its low alcohol content, tepache is safe for children of all ages to drink.
Whether your baby experiences digestive issues or you want to maintain their gut health, it is essential to familiarize yourself with foods rich in probiotics for babies. These top five foods are healthy, easily accessible, and tasty enough for children of all ages to enjoy.