Infant Prebiotics: Does your baby need them?




If you are a new parent and you want to find some useful information that’ll help you to keep your baby healthy, this topic would be instructive for you. Infants’ diets need special attention and consideration. Maybe you’ve heard that little tummies are extremely sensitive and need special food to make it thrive. That’s why parents try to do their best and choose milk that would be enriching and suitable. It’s very important that a child gets all the necessary vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other nutrients as it directly affects their overall well-being. Let’s discuss one of the  essential elements that have a good effect on a baby – prebiotics. 

What are prebiotics?

You definitely heard about prebiotics and probiotics that always come together. They are really connected and, moreover, help each other to work better. 

Probiotics are foods that contain live microorganisms. Their main function is to maintain or improve good bacteria in the body. Prebiotics, in their turn, are intended to improve the balance of these elements. In other words, probiotics provide the body with these good bacteria, while prebiotics work as «food» for the gut bacteria itself. Together they keep the child healthy and make the digestive system function well.

Why do babies need to get prebiotics?

Yes, while coming to this world, babies already have some of the «good» bacteria in their gut. But they actually need to have some others in order to strengthen their health. Let’s talk about the advantages that prebiotics have on the baby’s organism.

  • They help to build a strong immune system. It’s very important for the baby to get enough nutrients and healthy elements that help to resist any kind of infections, viruses and germs. Babies at their early age are prone to get colds because of their tender and not developed systems. So giving prebiotics to your little one, you make sure one will deal with any kind of health issues more easily.
  • They positively affect the digestive system. As you know babies’ digestive systems only start to form in the first month of life. That’s why it’s so crucial to find the best milk which is easy to digest. While giving prebiotics to your baby, you set the foundation for a healthy life. Having «good» bacteria in the gut, a baby gets less risks for colic, reflux, allergies and other kinds of gastroenterological issues. Moreover, some studies found that prebiotics are able to help the baby to produce healthy stools. So, when your little one has these problems, your pediatrician may recommend you to include prebiotics in your baby’s diet.
  • They are helpful for treating eczema. Experiments have shown that taking prebiotics may help the baby to overcome this bothering condition. If you cannot figure out how to manage your baby’s eczema, some doctors claim that prebiotics can be an option. The prebiotics that may help to treat it are part of the lactobacillus group of bacteria, and they can be actually found in yogurts. Of course, every baby is different though, but trying prebiotics out may be quite promising.

Are prebiotics completely safe for babies?

Surely, prebiotics do a great job and support a baby’s health. There are lots of benefits that prebiotics provide and they are recommended by each of the experts. But there are some exceptions that you need to be aware about. Prebiotics are a safe addition to your baby’s diet unless the baby is immunocompromised, has cancer or was born prematurely. These conditions require special attention and prebiotics can become a negative trigger for other problems. Moreover, you always need to stick to the instructions and dose prebiotics correctly. If you give too much of them, it may provoke the misbalance. So, make sure you consult a doctor whether your baby really needs an additional dose of prebiotics, what prebiotics is better to choose and what is the right amount of them.

How can the baby consume prebiotics?

You should make sure that your baby gets enough of prebiotics to sustain healthy gut bacteria. It’s not difficult as you have different options of food that provide these useful elements. Read about them below.

  • breast milk

You definitely know that breast milk is the best milk ever for a little baby. It has plenty of benefits and provides both probiotics and prebiotics as well. As babies are born with sterile gut, breast milk ensures to make it healthy and transport «good» bacteria in order to make it work well. In addition, breast milk has the ideal proportion of each of the nutrients, so you don’t need to look for other supplements and worry if it is satisfying for your baby, because it is.

  • Baby formula

Baby formulas are the best alternative to breast milk if it’s high quality and full of healthy ingredients that enrich your baby with all the necessities. There are lots of modern baby formulas on the market that include probiotics and prebiotics. Try to find the one that will satisfy your baby’s needs, is rich in beneficial ingredients and lacks harmful ones. Most experts claim that European baby formula is considered to be the one that is surely worth your attention. If you’re considering mixing breastmilk and formula, consult a doctor on how much prebiotics should the formula possess in order to find the balance of prebiotics. So, make sure you choose the best organic formula that will be fully suitable for your little one and, moreover, rich in prebiotics. 

  • Solids

Although prebiotics are found in breast milk and prebiotic-enriched formulas, parents need to think on how the baby can get these healthy bacteria afterwards. The baby at the age of around 6 months is ready to try solids which become a good opportunity to introduce foods which contain them. So here is the list of common foods that are good sources of prebiotics for babies.

  • chicory root
  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Palm fruit
  • Jackfruit
  • Young coconut
  • Onion
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Soybean
  • Beans
  • Cereals

So, it’s definitely not a problem to find these products and make some delicious meals with them for your little one. The main idea about that is to make your baby’s immune and digestive systems as strong and prospering as possible.

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