Monday, January 16, 2012

Probiotics for Babies

Probiotics? Some of you might know them well. Others may have never heard of them. I've been giving the girls probiotics since they were 3 weeks old.

Our digestive tract, specifically the intestines, contains billions of good and bad bacteria. As you can imagine, we want the good bacteria to far outweigh the bad. Due to a variety of symptoms, for many of the clients that I used to see, it became pretty clear, quite quickly that it was the opposite; the bad outweighed the good.

Babies are born with very immature digestive systems. This is why many babies experience digestive problems, including, gassiness and colic-like symptoms. This is also why parents are told to wait until 6 months to introduce solid foods (at which point, they are still given instructions to introduce foods slowly and in a particular order).

The girls were very gassy when they were first born. I was planning on giving them probiotics regardless though.

What are probiotics? Probiotics supply the digestive tract with those good bacteria that I previously mentioned. When it comes to supplements, especially probiotics, quality really matters. I've been giving the girls Genestra's HMF Natogen. This is specifically formulated for young babies. Another reputable company, BioGaia, makes a good infant probiotic. [Note: Probiotics should always be kept in the fridge.] An ongoing 5 year trial by Pharmax LLC shows that newborns and infants who are given probiotics do significantly better than the control group in allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal ailments, and immune system health.

Why give probiotics to babies?

  • Improves digestive system and possible upsets (gas, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain,  fussiness).
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Decreases the risk of developing allergies, including eczema 
  • Helps to minimize the side effects of antibiotics


  1. I've been considering probiotics for a while now, just didn't know which one to go with & I never "just trust" the sales people at the store. I've waited this long just because my boys were so (11 weeks) premature. They all had reflux & Kellan had a really hard time with my milk. 2 of them have outgrown the reflux for the most part but Kellan still battles it from time to time & he & his identical have trouble with gas & eczema & all 3 have to take miralax to poop without straining. So how exactly is the probiotic you use given? How much do you go through or how long dose a bottle last for our twins?

  2. I pump and give the girls one bottle per day so I put the probiotics in that. I had the girls on Natogen until they hit 6 months and recently switched to a reduced dose of the adult Genestra HMF powder. The Natogen bottle is small. I was going through one bottle a month. I pay $29 in Canada but I think you could get it cheaper in the US (Rockwell Nutrition sells is for $19.47, but if you buy a few you can get it even cheaper). The adult powder is about the same price but will take them about 3 months to get through.

    If Kellan and his identical have eczema, I would suggest holding off on all dairy products for as long as possible. Avoiding grains (especially wheat) for a while would probably be beneficial too.

  3. Does the adult powder say how much to give a baby?
    K & C's eczema has been better lately, they have little flair ups every once in a while but nothing like what they use to have (all over their cheeks) I tried everything when they came home from the NICU because of Kellans sensitive stomach, no dairy, no acidy foods, no wheat & so on, nothing worked. I quit breast feeding at about 7 months (quit pumping at 6 & used up what I had frozen...) K actually got much better when I switched to full formula bottles, so I think it was just me/my milk??? The gas is occasional now but he still struggles with reflux. We've been trying to ween him down off the medication but he just can't quite go completely without it yet. So I was thinking that probiotics might help with eliminating that last little dose.
    Thanks for posting about it :)

  4. Does babies really need probiotics? It's so scary. I think I have to ask my doctor first. Hoever, what do you think is the best probiotics for babies?

    1. Babies are born with immature digestive tracts. Probiotics help inoculate the gut with good bacteria. They have proven to be a huge help in newborns with gas and reflux issues. As I mentioned above, Genestra makes a specific probiotic for newborns called HMF Natogen. If you have concerns, I would highly recommend consulting a naturopathic doctor.