Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
Breast milk is an important source of probiotics.
These beneficial bacteria in breast milk strengthen babies’ immune response by offsetting the growth of organisms that can cause infections and inflammation, and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity.
Formulas fortified with probiotics
In formula-fed babies, probiotics in probiotic-fortified formulas promote a balance of bacteria in baby’s intestines, and offset the growth of organisms that could cause infections and inflammation.
Other possible health benefits of probiotics
The most common types of probiotics are bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species. Some studies have shown that these probiotics may prevent or treat disorders such as infectious diarrhea and atopic dermatitis (eczema) in children. Other possible health benefits are also being studied, including preventing urinary tract infections and relieving infant colic symptoms.
- Hill, C., Guarner, F., Reid, G. et al. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 11, 506–514 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrgastro.2014.66
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2023).Breastfeeding Benefits Your Baby’s Immune System. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Breastfeeding-Benefits-Your-Babys-Immune-System.aspx
- American Academy of Pediatrics (2021). Probiotics in Infant Formula. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/formula-feeding/Pages/Probiotics-in-Infant-Formula.aspx