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Probiotics May Benefit Babies

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Probiotics

Tummy Problems and Probiotics

Babies often spend most of their times feeding. Thus it is of no wonder that their gastrointestinal system is the one which is always upset and appears overused. There are various causes of stomach problems in babies such as colic, reflux, stomach flu and constipation. These problems may also be due to the fact that an infant's gut is not yet developed as to structure and function unlike adults. A baby's digestive system may be quite immature and contains fewer digestive juices and enzymes that can help digest food. Few enzymes and digestive juices can result to incomplete digestion of proteins found in milk ingested by babies. Incomplete digestion of food can lead to the build-up and painful passage of gas. Also, babies cry a lot, adding to gas passing from his or her mouth into the digestive tract. This gives rise to tummy trouble.

One of the most common symptoms of gut problems in babies is abdominal colic. This may cause a baby to cry and be irritable for more than three hours. This may cause baby's tummy to look quite enlarged and may make him or her pass gas or move legs. Colic seems to affect more often babies who are between three or four months of age.

Gastroesophageal reflux is another common problem among babies. Babies who have it may vomit and spit out milk after feedings. It is commonly observed among babies within one year of age. This may also be accompanied by tummy pain or coughing. Gastroesophageal reflux is caused by irritation of the baby's esophagus by digestive juices and food on his or her throat. Babies can cry a lot and refuse to feed when they have GERD.

Another common problem among babies is constipation. This is defined as a lack of bowel movement for two to three days. Oftentimes, babies with constipation may express hard, small and dry stools. This may be due to the fact that the baby is still adjusting to his or her first foods. Once he or she has adjusted to changes in diet, there will be no more constipation. Constipation can cause tummy pain and pain on moving bowels.

All these symptoms make a baby uncomfortable. This is why we have to be careful in giving food or changing the diet of our babies.

Probiotics in Babies

A recent study has shown that an infant who receives a probiotic during the first 3 months of life can reduce his or her risk for having tummy problems. This method may also reduce the costs associated with gut problem management and treatments in the clinics and hospitals. Baby tummy problems are the most common causes of infant hospitalization, paediatrician consults, anxiety among parents and caregivers and absences in work.

In this new study, researchers studied more than five hundred newborns in Italy. Babies were randomized to receive either the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 or placebo for 90 days. The parents of these babies were told to report to the researchers if their babies experience vomiting, bowel emptying, uncontrollable crying and the number of doctor visits. The researchers found out that probiotic use reduced crying time, regurgitations and bowel evacuations per day. The families of the babies who received probiotics also saved some money due to reduced hospital and outpatient visits.

Thus the researchers inferred that lactobacilli intake during the first three months of life may improve intestinal function among babies due to increased intestinal permeability, gut sensitivity and reduction of gut inflammation.

About Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms which have beneficial effects on health. It is said that probiotics can boost immune function, treat gut diseases, improve diarrhea, and treat eczema. There are over five hundred different types of bacteria in the gut. These bacteria and yeasts keep the stomach and intestines healthy and get rid of toxins, harmful microorganisms and other waste products inside the digestive system.

So, care to give baby his first probiotic drink? Learn what other foods to give baby through the other articles in this site.