Probiotics can be beneficial for some babies and children, but they are not necessary for all. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts under certain circumstances. They can help maintain a balanced gut flora, support digestion and the immune system. Although there is seemingly no harm is taking probiotics to support overall health, they can be quite expensive so it can be helpful to assess the current research that we have, to help you decide whether or not they are something you feel you want to invest in.
When is it necessary to give children probiotics?
Here are some scenarios where probiotics might be helpful for babies and children:
- Antibiotic Use: When a child takes antibiotics, it can disrupt the natural balance of gut bacteria. Probiotics can help replenish beneficial bacteria during and after antibiotic treatment.
- Digestive Issues: Probiotics may aid in easing certain digestive problems like constipation, diarrhoea, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Immune Support: Some research suggests that probiotics may help strengthen the immune system, potentially reducing the risk of infections in children.
- Allergies and Eczema: Probiotics could have a positive effect on some allergic conditions like eczema, though more research is needed in this area.
- Preterm Babies: Probiotics may be recommended for preterm infants to support their gut development and reduce the risk of certain complications.
As with any supplement, it’s essential to consult with a paediatrician before giving probiotics to babies and children. Probiotics are not regulated as medicine, so the specific strains, dosages, and formulations should be carefully chosen based on the child’s age, health condition, and individual needs. It’s also worth noting that a balanced diet, adequate fibre intake, and a healthy lifestyle play crucial roles in maintaining good gut health for children. If you are thinking about choosing a probiotic for your child, you might find this article helpful.
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