The human body has a complex mechanism of operation. These mechanisms gradually improve in their specialization and complex development all the way, from when one is a baby. As it develops, it equally serves as a host to various microorganisms, some of which are harmful to it while others are beneficial. The harmful ones would normally lead to illness of varying types such as bacterial infections while the good ones aid the body in execution of its functions. Probiotics, simply put, are beneficial bacteria(s) to the body. They are live and good for an individual’s health especially the human body’s digestive system. Children in their early years equally need the good bacteria for their health as it has various roles that it does play.
Why do Toddlers, Babies & Infants need Probiotics?
The body immune system for toddlers takes time to mature and defend them from infections. Their body relies on benefits that can be drawn from other sources such as foods they consume. For instance, the use of probiotics has been identified to reduce and treat colic in children. Studies have shown that in Europe for instance, based on the study by Dr. Flavia Indrio of Aldoro Moro University of Bari, Department of paediatrics, probiotics have been used to treat colic widely. While the children at birth have a gut that is sterile, they introduce bacteria into their system by the use of breast milk or in some cases, through formula, which they may drink at a later stage. The bacteria is good and it helps in the digestion of food and the extraction of necessary nutrients. These bacteria also assist the development of the baby’s immune system.
Common gastrointestinal challenges faced by children in addition to colic include acid reflux and constipation. The use of probiotics in the management of these problems in toddlers leads to better management of the conditions. JAMA paediatrics journal indicates that in a study they undertook and published online, which features children who got probiotics over a span of three months as compared to the children who did not. It was noted that, the children who received probiotics had a lot shorter crying spells as well as reduced stomach upsets. By introducing the good bacteria to the child’s body at their infant stage of development, the child’s gut is inhabited by the good bacteria which in the end serves to enable a symbiotic relationship with the host. The child is noted to have reduced bacteria infection, digestive challenges as well as constipation as indicated by various researches.
Probiotics for Toddlers or Babies
Good bacteria can be introduced to the child either through natural means such as the use of breast milk or use of formula. Similarly, in some cases, there is need to use supplements which would be targeting to reintroduce the good bacterial to the baby’s gut. These probiotic supplements may be included in the formula that the child is to ingest. According to the Murdoch Children’s research institute, the probiotics supplements would allow restoration of good bacteria in the baby’s gut where they may have been destroyed.
Toddlers are delicate and have not fully developed their digestive system. At the same time, for some may have challenges with their digestive system since it is still at a stage of development. As such, there is need to avail the probiotics in a form that they are able to consume easily and effectively. The use of baby probiotic drops comes in handy. These drops come in a bottle, which allows drops to be administered easily. Normally, the instructions are availed alongside. Similarly, for babies who are using formula as their source of food, there are those that have probiotics supplements added. When the formula is used, as they ingest it as they drink the formula, they also gain the value brought about by inclusion of the supplements. Some are designed to complement the digestive benefits of breast milk with probiotic B. lactis.
Probiotics for Infants
The market avails a variety of products to meet the needs of infants who need to take probiotics. This is mainly in the form of supplements availed in bottles to allow either drops or servings. For instance, iHerb avails Flora, Udo’s Choice, Infant’s Probiotic. The products of this nature come with various strains of beneficial bacteria. When they are served once per day, the intestinal flora of the infants is supported as well as their immune system. Further, the synthesizing of important B vitamins is enhanced. It is recommended that these products be kept refrigerated whenever possible since the probiotics are living organisms whose potency will decrease gradually over a period. It is estimated to reduce at about 2 % per month. Mordoch Children’s Research Institute indicates that normal and healthy infants are able to tolerate probiotics. They further indicate that even very low birth weight babies are able to tolerate it as well as HIV – infected children.
Safety Measures when using Probiotics for Babies & Infants
When administering the provision of probiotics it is important to observe the guidelines that are availed by the provider of the product. This relates to the quantity of dosage to administer to the child for instance. The children should be given a quantity that is age appropriate.
It is also important to observe the storage conditions set out by the provider in order to aid in making the product meet the lifespan anticipated. Refrigeration temperatures for instance would aid in ensuring an optimal lifetime for the microorganisms since they would die when exposed to poor conditions. Some products may be exclusively exempted from refrigeration. In such as case, avoid refrigeration but store them in the allowed temperature range.
Additionally, where other sources such as formula are used as sources of probiotics, the need to identify a genuine and credible supplier is all the more important, as this would need to meet certain standards. For instance the packaging standards, ingredients balancing among others.
Finally, the child’s health requires to be monitored. A child who is under an antibiotics dosage may do not take the probiotics since the antibiotics may react with it. A paediatrics advice needs to be sought for instance where the child may exhibit symptoms of allergies or discomfort that may be associated with the use of the products.