In recent years, probiotic supplementation promoted as ‘good’ bacteria dietary supplements has become vastly popular, advertised as an aid to gut health and a healthy microbiome. For infants and children, probiotics are promoted as helpful for health conditions as varied as diarrhea, infant colic, allergy, etc. Research  indicates that probiotics are safe and well-tolerated in normal, healthy infants and children, even in premature infants.
Research  has shown that the first 1000 days of a child’s life were the most important for microbiome development. While 70-80% of immune cells are located in the gut , the immune system development relies on establishing a balanced and diverse gut microbiota in early life. Therefore well-developed gut microbiota populations during infancy are essential for healthy immune development and associated with improved health later in life. With all this in mind, I believe that you might want to consider infant probiotics as a part of your baby’s daily routine.
What are probiotics for babies?
As in any developmental period, infants may not suit a probiotic targeted towards older children or adults which means that a probiotic trialled for digestive health in adults might not work the same in infants. This is because their microbiomes are at different stages and may have different bacteria present. The diversity of bacteria so-called ‘baby biomes’ is very unique! Therefore, infant-specific probiotics are designed to focus on bacteria present naturally in the gut during these early years.
Bifidobacteria – including B. infantis, B. bifidum and B. breve – should represent the largest population of beneficial bacteria in babies, as their immune defenses are not yet fully working. Babies get these friendly bacteria from their mothers as they pass through a clean and healthy birth canal. Approximately 60% of full-term newborns who were born vaginally had B. infantis in their feces (as they should), as opposed to only 9% of babies born by Caesarean section. Also, breastfed babies have a healthier composition of intestinal microflora than formulated babies; this is because the heat used to pasteurize milk formula kills all bacteria (both ‘good’ and ‘bad’). The specific strains used in Udo’s Choice Infant's Blend have been specially chosen for their value to infant health.
How probiotics can help?
Infants have other more specific health conditions that probiotics may help with such as acid reflux or colic which can be very troublesome to manage and cause sleepless nights for both baby and parents. Probiotics have been shown to relieve these symptoms and help infants cry less. Research  found that there were health and financial benefits of creating healthy babies in their first three months with probiotics. This helped to avoid the onset of GI conditions, like reflux and constipation, and reduce overall crying time. Another study  connected a reduction in colic symptoms with the use of probiotics. The study examined breastfed infants’ results who were administered five drops of a probiotic supplement 30 minutes prior to feeding for 21 days. The study found that the infants using the supplements cried less than those not using the supplement.
Udo's Infant's Blend Probiotic
Udo's Infant's Blend Probiotic is suitable for Infants & Toddlers 0–5 years. 6 infant- and toddler-specific bacterial strains at an appropriate strength, formulated to reflect healthy infant microflora. This blend contains seven strains of probiotics in the appropriate strengths for infants. Commonly used for upset tummies, it can be used during and after antibiotic use to provide gut-friendly bacteria. Udo’s Choice Infant’s Blend comes in powder format, which means it can be added to formula or other liquids. This product is suitable for children from birth.
Each serving size (1g) contains:
Lactobacillus casei HA-108: 35%
Lactobacillus rhamnosus HA-111: 25%
Lactobacillus acidophilus HA-122: 15%
Bifidobacterium infantis HA-116: 15%
Bifidobacterium bifidum HA-132: 5%
Bifidobacterium breve HA-129: 5%
Dissolve 1/2 tsp (1 gram) in infant formula or other liquid, 1-3 times daily.
- Fact Sheet: Probiotics for infants and children. Murdoch Children's Research Institute.https://www.mcri.edu.au/parents/parent-fact-sheets/fact-sheet-probiotics-infants-and-children
- Tamburini S, Shen N, Wu HC, Clemente JC. The microbiome in early life: implications for health outcomes. Nat Med. 2016 Jul 7;22(7):713-22. doi: 10.1038/nm.4142. PMID: 27387886.
- Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and experimental immunology, 153 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), 3–6. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2249.2008.03713.x
- Indrio F, Di Mauro A, Riezzo G, et al. Prophylactic Use of a Probiotic in the Prevention of Colic, Regurgitation, and Functional Constipation: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(3):228–233. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4367
- Koonce, T., Mounsey, A., & Rowland, K. (2011). Colicky baby? Here's a surprising remedy. The Journal of family practice, 60(1), 34–36.