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Does Your Baby Really Need Probiotics?

Do you have a formula fed baby? How about a baby with constipation, diarrhea or colic? Or do you have a baby that you birthed via cesarean section? Or did you take antibiotics during your pregnancy, labour/ birth or while breastfeeding? If you can answer yes, to any of these questions or all of them, you HAVE to keep reading this!


Do you know what all of these babies have in common? They all have a higher need for probiotics, these are known as good bacteria!


Let me break it down for you so you can understand WHY I am saying this and WHY it is super important to give these little babes probiotics.


Before I jump into that, I want to tell you what the heck probiotics are.


What are Probiotics?

They are beneficial bacteria that live in and on us. These bacteria AKA bugs support us in a TON of ways

  • Help us with digestion

  • Cultivate the immune system, 70% of the immune system lives in the gut

  • They live in the colon and help prevent insidious bacteria like E.Coli or Candida Albicans from taking over and causing havoc in the body

  • Help stimulate normal bowel movements

  • Are part of a healthy colon and digestive system


Cesarean Section Babes:

C-sections are sometimes inevitable and emergencies do happen. I completely get it. But these c-section babes lose out on a VERY important opportunity when they don’t travel through the vaginal canal.


Cultivating the immune system.


A baby who is birthed through the vaginal canal travels through the vagina and meets millions of good bacteria. These friendly bugs enter and protect the eyes, the mouth and the skin. They even travel down the baby's digestive tract and live in the large intestine AKA colon. These bacteria aren’t the only bugs they meet traveling through the vaginal canal. They meet their rather stinky neighbour, the anus. The anus is filled with a lot of unfriendly bacteria and some are insidious bugs like E.coli. These mean bugs also enter the digestive tract. When this happens the immune system is flagged. This is the first opportunity for the immune system to flex its muscles. Now for the little babes who don't travel through the vagina and kick start the immune system, MUST inoculate their colon with friendly bugs.


What’s a Mom to do?

  • Give them probiotics first and foremost (you can find more about what probiotics are available, and how you can give them at the bottom of this article)

  • Spend a lot time doing skin to skin (the body has a ton of good bacteria on it)

  • Breastfeeding, if this is an option for you (remember those bugs on your skin are also found on the areola)


Formula Fed Babes:

Along with many other health issues that stem from being formula fed, formula fed doesn’t support the health of the good bacteria that live in the colon. Now this is where it gets a little confusing…

  • If you have birthed a baby through the vaginal canal, they had the ability to cultivate their immune system and good bacteria are chillin in the colon. However, if they are being formula fed, formula can actually cause digestive disturbances like colic, constipation or diarrhea. When these digestive disturbances happen, it can potentially destroy those good bacteria, leaving the colon free for the unfriendly bacteria to take up residence. Once these unfriendly bugs move in, they thrive and flourish off of the copious amounts of sugar that is found in infant formula.

  • If you had your baby via c-section plus are formula feeding them, they are getting a double whammy of an unsupported digestive system/ colon.


This however, doesn’t get down to the nitty gritty details of the other damages formula causes in the digestive tract.


What’s a Mom to do?

  • Probiotics every single day and sometimes twice a day (consult nutritionist or holistic practitioner for further advice and support)

  • Monitor your baby if there are reactions like colic, constipation, diarrhea, skin issues, baby acne, spitting up or vomiting after feedings.


Antibiotics during Pregnancy, Labour/Birth or While Breastfeeding

Yes, antibiotics are “sometimes” necessary and I say that with extreme caution because antibiotics are BEYOND overprescribed to pretty much anyone and everyone. Doctor doesn’t know what is wrong, just give em an antibiotic. Antibiotics are used to destroy any invading virus, bacteria, infection etc… that is or can harm the body.


But antibiotics just don’t destroy the bad bacteria that is harming the body, it also destroys the good guys too!


Antibiotics taken during pregnancy, birth or labour kill off all of Mom’s friendly bugs, in turn doesn’t give the baby she’s birthing a chance to inoculate themselves with good bacteria. But keep in mind if it is a c-section birth, they don’t get that opportunity anyways.


Breastfeeding and breast milk is the MOST IDEAL and the MOST SUPERIOR when it comes to nourishing your baby, their digestive health and their immune system. Breast milk also helps the good bacteria in the gut to thrive and do its job. But when Mom takes antibiotics while breastfeeding, she destroys not only her good bugs but destroys her babes’ good bugs too. That is because antibiotics pass through the breast milk.



What’s a Mom to do?

  • Mom MUST take probiotics. Period

  • Baby must also get probiotics

  • Don’t take probiotics and antibiotics together at the same time. Take antibiotics (whatever time the label or medical practitioner says) then take probiotics at least 6-7 hours later

  • If your baby is prescribed antibiotics please consult your nutritional or holistic practitioner for further advice and guidance



Constipation, Diarrhea, Colic and Other Digestive Disturbances

These are all symptoms of digestive disturbances and that means something is throwing off or affecting the digestive system. Now the cause of these disturbances can be from: ingredients in formula, something Mom consumed and ending up in her breast milk or if solids have been introduced, there is possible something they are eating that is triggering a reaction. To find out other symptoms of digestive disturbances… click here


Diarrhea

When diarrhea occurs, the body is flushing everything out as fast as possible. This includes all those good bugs in the gut. To truly understand what the digestive system is saying and to better understand it’s language check out this post here.


What’s a Mom to do?

  • Figure out what the trigger is to the diarrhea ***

  • Add probiotics back in

  • Keep them hydrated with breast milk, formula or water (if they are ready to consume it)


*** the most crucial step in resolving the issue for good


Constipation

Constipation is another digestive disturbance. All of the potential triggers that are causing the constipation can be found under the diarrhea header above. I do want to mention that if your infant falls under the categories of formula fed, c-section babe, and/or Mom’s has taken antibiotics, it is safe to say they are lacking enough probiotics. Probiotics, you learned above, help with stimulating healthy and normal bowel movements. With an absence or lack of good bacteria, it can lead to constipation.


What’s a Mom to do?

  • Figure out what the trigger is to the constipation ***

  • Add probiotics back in

  • While finding the trigger to the constipation, offer your infant relief with (caster oil massage or herbs like fennel, chamomile, marshmallow root or slippery elm)


*** the most crucial step in resolving the issue for good


Colic

Colic is probably one of the most common digestive disturbances parents hear about. Colic is usually telling us that something is upsetting the digestive system, more specifically the small or large intestine. When colic occurs it means that the infant’s digestive system isn’t digesting something properly, a sugar (carbohydrate) or protein, found in formula or solid foods. That means something is potentially fermenting in the gut causing painful gas and spasms. Once these things begin to ferment, any type of unfriendly bacteria that is chillin in the colon, like Candida Albicans, begin to eat, flourish and cause MORE digestive issues and disturbances. Now there is definitely a higher need for probiotics to kick those bad guys out or just control them.


What’s a Mom to do?

  • Figure out what the trigger is to the colic ****

  • Add probiotics back in

  • While finding the trigger, offer your infant relief with a caster oil massage, leg exercises that help expel trapped gas, herbs that help calm the digestive tract/spasms like fennel, anise, and chamomile


*** the most crucial step in resolving the issue for good


Type of Probiotics & How to Give Them to Your Baby?


Drops/ Liquid- can be dropped directly in the mouth of your baby, on the nipple of the breast and allow it to roll into their mouth, or on the nipple of the formula bottle

Powder- can be given to a baby in their formula bottle, breast milk (if Mom pumps) or in water (if baby is drinking water)


Chewables- only to be given to a child over the age of 2, not recommended for infants (due to obvious reasons… No teeth)


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