Should I Introduce a Probiotic to my Newborn?
Many of my mamas ask me if they should introduce a probiotic to their newborn and my answer always varies depending on a few different scenarios: type of birth (vaginally or C-section), whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding, and also if you were diagnosed with GBS (Group B Strep.) and/or given antibiotics at any time during your pregnancy or labor.
Let’s break it down a bit. So, what is a probiotic and why do I need to take it into consideration? Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that live in the gut and provide digestion, stool, and immunity benefits as well as protecting against certain types of germs. Probiotics are “good bacteria.” If a baby was born vaginally, they are actually coated in this type of “good bacteria” as they exit the vaginal canal. However, if they are born by C-section, they are unable to receive this coating and probiotics are a great way to introduce that good bacteria to your newborn.
BUT, if you are breastfeeding, your baby will automatically be exposed to probiotic microflora, which provides a health-promoting effect for babies who consume breast milk!
Sometimes, though, baby may have a hard time passing stool and can become constipated or may show signs of discomfort during bowel movements so giving a probiotic supplement can be very beneficial to aiding in digestion and making sure baby poops regularly!
Another instance where you should introduce a probiotic to baby, EVEN if you birthed vaginally, is if you received any antibiotics during your pregnancy and/or labor. Antibiotics not only strip away the bad bacteria, they also strip away good bacteria for both you and baby so introducing a probiotic after baby is born can help reintroduce good bacteria to the baby to help rebuild a strong immune system.
If you are unsure about probiotics for your baby, you should always talk to your provider to see what he/she suggests.