Should I give my child a daily probiotic supplement?
Studies have suggested there may be some benefits if they’re experiencing the following conditions:
- Diarrhea: Studies suggest probiotics taken while experiencing diarrhea can lessen its duration and intensity.
- Eczema: Certain strains of probiotics might prevent eczema altogether, or decrease the severity of a flare up.
- Colic: Probiotics may make a colicky baby less fussy.
- Antibiotics: Probiotics are thought to replenish the good gut bacteria inadvertently wiped out when a child or their breastfeeding mother is taking prescribed antibiotics.
Why do so many other sources make it seem like every child needs a probiotic?
Likely because they are trying to sell something.
There’s little evidence that probiotic supplements provide significant benefits to otherwise healthy children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against giving probiotics to seriously or chronically ill children because of the lack of research and regulation. Health authorities also recommend against giving a daily probiotic supplement to a healthy child as a preventive measure, since any potential benefits would only last as long as the child is taking the supplement.
Why should I trust you?
In doing thorough research on this topic, we found these to be the most useful and factual sources. We recommend reading them if you’d like more in-depth information:
- “AAP Reviews the Evidence on Probiotics and Prebiotics in Infants and Children” by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- “Probiotics in Infant Formula” by HealthyChildren.org.
- “Are Probiotics Safe for Kids?” in LiveScience.com.