Dr Kate Stephens
PhD Food and Microbial Sciences; Gut Microbiology (University of Reading), BSc Medical Microbiology
What do probiotics do for babies? Does your baby need them? Resident gut microbiologist Dr Kate Stephens explains all there is to know about probiotics for your little one.
What are probiotics for babies? The baby years are some of the most important for microbiome development. So, having lots of the right bacteria is very important. As 70% of the immune system is in the gut, this stage is also essential for healthy immune development. Therefore, you might want to consider probiotics as a part of your baby’s daily routine.
Babies are in a developmental period, so they may not suit a probiotic targeted towards older children or adults. A probiotic trialled for digestive health in adults may not work the same in infants. This is because their microbiomes are at different stages and may have different bacteria present. Some researchers call this the ‘baby biome’ because it is so distinct! Probiotics designed especially for babies use bacteria that would be present naturally in the gut during these early years.
Baby probiotics often come in different formats to adult probiotics. – powder or drops are commonly used, for ease of delivery. Drops are usually the easiest way to administer probiotics to babies.
These specific probiotics can help support your baby right from birth and help to ensure they have a healthy gut environment, microbiome and immune system.