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5 Signs Mama and Kids Need Probiotics: A Top Guide
Your gut plays an important role in your health and your kid’s health, yet it can often be overlooked. Breastfeeding mothers, breastfed babies, and kids benefit greatly from a healthy digestive tract and gut microbiome. The good news is that the gut and brain have a symbiotic relationship, and I have learned from personal experience with gastrointestinal issues (irritable bowel syndrome) the impact your gut can have on your emotional and mental state. For me it seemed that stress affected my gut, and my gut issues affected my stress levels. Because of this I did a lot of research on the gut and digestive health, and I found this article and this book to be one of the best resources for fully understanding how your gut is directly connected to your brain. In this day and age, with stress, added sugar, processed chemicals, lack of sleep, difficulties maintaining a healthy diet, the gut bacteria have a much harder time surviving. Until very recently, many healthcare professionals prescribed antibiotics to no avail which kill both the infectious bad bacteria and the beneficial bacteria. Many times you just do not have an option but to take antibiotics. This means that we are more in need of probiotics than ever to have healthy children and healthy mamas!
Probiotics, A Quick Run Down:
You might have heard of the important health benefits of probiotics, so you are here reading this post not really sure what they are. Probiotics are basically dietary supplements containing microflora-changing organisms (healthy bacteria) that have beneficial effects in the overall health and functioning of the gut. Some of the most notable strains of probiotics you find in supplements are lactobacillus rhamnosus gg, lactobacillus rhamnosus hn, lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus reuteri, lactobacillus plantarum, and bifidobacterium lactis. These strains partner up with the flora already in the digestive system to boost the immune system by helping to fight off the “bad” bacteria, or illness causing bacteria. The ideal ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria is 85/15. Depending on the probiotic you purchase, they can have different blends for different purposes. I’m going to go over 5 signs that will help guide you on whether or not you, your baby, or your toddlers need some bacterial help from the right probiotics. I’m also going to go over some of the best probiotic supplement providers that I have found the strongest evidence of yielding the best results.
Baby is Gassy:
Because breastfeeding babies and breastfeeding mothers are so closely connected usually if one needs some gut help, so does the other. But, how do you know whether a mother, baby, or young children is in need of some probiotics? Newborns are often gassy and possibly are experiencing infant colic as their digestive systems are still developing after they are first born. If gas and flatulence continue for months to years after birth, baby may be in need of probiotics. Breastfed babies receive most of their gut flora from mama as they pass through the birth canal, then further fed through breast milk. For newborns, Culturelle has developed probiotics drops that are safe and specifically made for little tummies by targeting the causes of the colic, gas, and discomfort: a unbalanced microbiome.
Repeated Colds or Respiratory Infections:
If mama and kids seem to be getting colds more often than normal, this can be a sign that they need more probiotics to support their immune system. New babies in particular, need to be protected from colds and sickness, which is why doctors suggest they stay home for the first 6 weeks. Fevers can be dangerous for infants which means mama needs to do her part in passing healthy gut bacteria to baby in the first few weeks. If there are older children in the house, colds and sickness get passed quickly, but breastfed babies are often less-susceptible to these infections. If baby seems to be catching everything, then it might be a great idea for mama to take some immune support probiotics that will pass through the breast milk to baby and help keep them healthy, and babies can also take their own probiotics to ensure they are getting the amount they need.
Antibiotics Taken By Mama:
Sometimes mamas need to take antibiotics after birth or to fight some sort of infection while breastfeeding. If this is the case, then both mama and baby probably need probiotics. If mama takes antibiotics, then those antibiotics pass through to baby as well. It may take some time for symptoms to show up, so it is best to replenish the good, friendly bacteria right away. One thing to also note is that the benefits of the use of probiotics are cumulative. If taken regularly, mom and baby will reap the full benefits probiotics have to offer.
Low Mood + Energy in Mama:
Many postpartum mamas experience a lack of energy that is normal, but if a new mother seems to be experiencing a severe lack in energy, and low moods, gut bacteria can be super helpful. As I mentioned in the beginning, the mind and gut are very closely connected. When the gut is out of balance – so is the mind. The gut can often go unnoticed as many mothers are treated for postpartum depression, rather than looking at the gut health. Of course there are cases of postpartum depression that are not related to the gut, but for less-severe situations of negative moods, gut health may be the culprit. Pregnant and postpartum mamas can benefit greatly from probiotics specifically crafted for them, which can help with energy and mood since 90% of serotonin, the feel good hormone, is made in the gut!
Constipation, Diarrhea, or Digestive Issues:
Many babies and kids experience a bit of constipation, abdominal pain, or diarrhea at some point, but if they are experiencing a constant bout of either, probiotics can be used to support their gut health. This clinical trial showed that probiotics can help food pass through the gut to help lessen instances of constipation and gas. In addition, probiotics can help reduce the severity of diarrhea. It is still very important to look into the root cause of constipation or diarrhea to ensure that baby doesn’t have severe food allergies or issues, but probiotics can be a great option to help baby’s gut function properly.
There you go. 5 reasons both mama and kids may be in need of probiotics along with some recommendations.