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Do you know anything about the safety of using probiotic supplements with babies?

Hi! Just wondering if you know anything about the safety of using probiotic supplements with babies?

I have an 8 week old baby who had to have a course of antibiotics when she was 6 weeks old. She has since suffered from an upset tummy and very irregular bowel motions. Her symptoms are improving slowly but I`d like to help things along if possible. As she was born by c-section I`ve been told that she wouldn`t have been exposed to the same levels of healthy bacteria that a natural birth provides, so her bowel had already started on the back foot!

My doctor, midwife and plunket haven`t been able to provide any answers on this subject so hoping you might be able to shed some light. My main concern is giving her a supplement at this young age. She is 100% breastfeed so wondering if it`s just as beneficial for me to take the probiotics in the hope that it passes through my breastmilk.

I`ve brought a product called "ABC dophilus powder" that is a probiotic for infants that can be mixed with expressed milk (it just doesn`t state what age it can be used from - so I`m being a bit cautious!).

thanks so much for your help!!!

Leann...
Answer: Hi There, Just on the point about intestinal bacteria and c-sections. It is my understanding that babies guts are sterile upon birth (irrelevant of the type of birth). It`s not until about 4 months that a baby`s gut begins to be colonised by healthy bacteria, which is why solids prior to this aren`t ideal. So just to reassure you, how you gave birth to bub has, to my knowledge, had not impact on gut colonisation! In this forum I am not able to recommend a supplement (legally), but I can tell you that if you visit a naturopath, nutritionist or dietitian they can. You will most likely be finding that baby`s recovery is due to the recolonisation of her intestinal bacteria from your breastmilk. Probitiocs naturally occur in breastmilk. But it can take up to 6 weeks to naturally balance out again. Yes, potentially taken orally it may speed things up. Probiotics for little ones are different from those for adults as children and babies have different healthy bacteria (namely bifidus). You will probably find most supplements will give 2 years as their starting point. It`s more an issue of a safety net for the manufacturer, practitioners are best at providing a `yeah` or `nay`. They will have all the details of bub and can give you specific advice on which probiotic and just how much. I have to say I did use it once with one of my sons when he was a bub and I always have a jar on hand in the fridge. So all in all, given baby is breastfeed, you will already be supplying healthy bacteria (regardless of your diet). Baby should recover well shortly. If you wanted to speed things up pop into see a practitioner. Hope that helps. All the best, Leanne
Answered: 01 Jun 2009