Probiotics For Babies: Colic And Acid Reflux
Colic refers to a condition in infants characterized by excessive and often inconsolable crying, usually occurring in the late afternoon or evening and lasting for several hours.
Infantile regurgitation is the flow of milk or stomach contents from a baby's mouth during or after feeding, often without any underlying health issues.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, often referred to as "friendly bacteria," that can provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts, particularly for gut and immune system functions.
Certain probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 are best for Acid Reflux and Colic in babies according to research. No adverse events have been reported with probiotic use in healthy babies.
Can Probiotics Help Colic In Babies?
Yes, Probiotics can have a positive effect on breastfed babies with colic according to research. Colic is a condition characterized by excessive and often inconsolable crying, fussiness, and discomfort in infants, typically occurring in the first few months of life.
Crying occurs in colicky infants due to factors that are not fully understood, but it is believed to be associated with gastrointestinal discomfort according to a 2018 study authored by S Daelemans.
A 2011 study authored by T Koonce, found that Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938, can significantly reduce daily crying time in breastfed infants with colic. The reduction in crying time was accompanied by no adverse effects. The probiotic may have had an anti-inflammatory effect on the gut.
Do Probiotics Make Colic Worse In Babies?
Probiotics do not make colic worse but there is mixed evidence regarding the effectiveness of probiotics in treating colic in babies. Choosing the right probiotic strains like Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 for example, is crucial when considering their use for colicky babies.
Can Probiotics Help Acid Reflux In Babies?
Yes, probiotics might offer benefits for addressing acid reflux in babies according to relatively small studies. A 2022 study authored by JP Foster, found that the same L. reuteri DSM 17938 probiotic, led to a statistically significant reduction in episodes of infant regurgitation (Acid Reflux) per day after 1 month of intervention. This means the baby took a probiotic every day for at least 30 days.
Infant regurgitation refers to the normal and uncomplicated occurrence of milk flowing from a baby's mouth during or after feeding, often caused by factors like overfeeding, swallowing air, crying, or coughing, and typically does not indicate a disease according to a 2009 study authored by F Indrio.
A 2021 study authored by A Horigome, found Bifidobacterium breve M-16V given to low birth weight infants led to successful colonization of the strain in their gut for several weeks post-administration, resulting in a potential overall improvement in microbiota formation. The study did not specifically mention or investigate whether Bifidobacterium breve M-16V administration assisted with acid reflux in low birth weight infants.
Are Probiotics Safe For Babies?
Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics are safe and beneficial for healthy babies. Probiotics for babies can potentially cause digestive discomfort, including gas and bloating, with a chance of increased bowel movements. It's best to talk with Paediatrician first before giving your baby probiotics for the first time.
How To Use Probiotics For A Baby?
Probiotics can be administered by placing drops directly into the baby's mouth, adding drops to breast milk or formula, or mixing probiotic contents into food and drink; breast milk is a natural source of prebiotics that supports gut health in infants. Exposing probiotics to temperatures over 100°F in formula can potentially destroy their live microorganisms and reduce their effectiveness.
Dr. Sara Mesilhy has a Master’s degree in Gastroenterology and holds a membership with the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom. She completed her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) at Cairo University and is currently part of the ProbioticReviewGirl medical team.