The 5 Main Benefits of Giving Probiotics to Breastfed Infants

 Breast milk is renowned for its exceptional nutritional value and its ability to support the healthy growth and development of infants. However, recent scientific studies have shown that adding probiotics to the diet of breastfed infants can bring about a host of additional benefits. Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer numerous health advantages, particularly to the digestive and immune systems. In this blog post, we will explore the five main benefits of giving probiotics to breastfed infants, supported by scientific research.

  1. Enhanced Gut Health: Probiotics play a crucial role in promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, also known as the gut microbiota. These beneficial bacteria aid in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, regulate bowel movements, and strengthen the intestinal barrier. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics demonstrated that infants receiving probiotics experienced reduced episodes of diarrhea and constipation, leading to improved overall gut health.

  2. Boosted Immune Function: The immune system of newborns is still developing, leaving them susceptible to infections. Probiotics have been shown to enhance the immune response by increasing the production of antibodies and stimulating the activity of immune cells. A randomized controlled trial conducted by Rautava et al. and published in JAMA Pediatrics revealed that infants supplemented with probiotics had a lower incidence of respiratory tract infections and ear infections compared to the control group.

  3. Alleviation of Colic and Reflux: Colic and reflux are common issues faced by infants, causing discomfort and distress for both the baby and the parents. Probiotics have demonstrated their ability to alleviate symptoms associated with colic and reflux. A systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by Sung et al., published in Pediatrics, concluded that the use of specific strains of probiotics reduced crying time and improved overall symptoms in colicky infants.

  4. Prevention of Allergies: Allergies, such as eczema, asthma, and food allergies, have been on the rise in recent years. However, research suggests that early exposure to probiotics can help reduce the risk of developing allergic conditions. A landmark study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that infants supplemented with probiotics during the first six months of life had a significantly lower incidence of eczema and allergic sensitization compared to the placebo group.

  5. Mental and Cognitive Development: Emerging evidence indicates a potential link between the gut microbiota and brain development. Probiotics can positively influence the gut-brain axis, potentially benefiting cognitive function and mental health. A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology demonstrated that infants who received probiotics showed improved cognitive performance in areas such as problem-solving and social interactions.

Conclusion: The scientific research clearly highlights the numerous benefits of giving probiotics to breastfed infants. From enhancing gut health and boosting immune function to alleviating colic and reducing the risk of allergies, probiotics provide valuable support for an infant's overall health and development. However, it is important to ALWAYS  consult with your Pediatrician before introducing probiotics to ensure the appropriate strains and dosages are used. By harnessing the power of probiotics, parents can provide their breastfed infants with an extra layer of protection and promote their long-term well-being.

Irene Papaconstadopoulos, MD

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Happy Parents

    "I was so impressed with Dr. Irene Papaconstadopolous. Everything is at her practice is streamlined and organized. Paperwork all sent beforehand in an easy to use digital format. Communication was clear and office easy to access. Went for our 18 month old’s check up and it was the most time I have ever been able to spend with a doctor! She even administered the vaccines. She was thorough, friendly, and creative in approach to making my toddler comfortable and engaged. So happy to have a competent, friendly, organized, and WONDERFUL pediatrician on Maui. Such a blessing. Mahalo!"

    Nicole B. Google reviews March, 2022

    Dr. Irene is the kind of doctor United States badly need more of. I took my child to see her for a hard to troubleshoot chronic issue, and I was very surprised that instead of typical in the US approach of prescribing a medicine to treat the symptom and get you out of the door, she took the time to understand medical history, went over each possibility what could have been causing the issue, and proposed a few possible follow-ups how to zero in to the root cause. Her advice was very helpful and produced positive results. I highly recommend Dr. Irene Papaconstadopoulos.

    S.D via google reviews

    "I can’t express how grateful I am, as a mother of two young children, to have found such a wonderful pediatrician. Dr. Irene is knowledgeable, accessible, and above all, great with kids! Even though my girls have had to be poked and prodded on occasion, they still love Dr. Irene so much that they get excited to see her again - and that’s saying a lot. If you are looking for a pediatrician who you can trust with your children’s health, who can answer your questions, who gets back to you quickly, and who herself is an amazing mother, then you’ve found her! I’m so glad we have. ❤️"

    K.F. 2020 via Google reviews

    We love Dr. Irene with CHAMPS Pediatrics! My two daughters have been seeing her since 2018 and we trust her completely. She's extremely warm, understanding and takes her time to explain and answer any questions that you may have as parents. She is extremely fast with the text replies through the online portal (klara) as well, which is great for those forgotten questions in between visits. Dr. Irene is super sweet and efficient and truly cares about your experience and the welfare of your children. HIGHLY recommended!

    J.P 2020 via Google reviews

    "Dr. Irene is the most caring, gentle, genuine Pediatrician. She is so kind and loving with my boys. She makes them feel so comfortable and they are even excited when we have an appt! She was so quick to respond on the Klara App to communicate with me even during a holiday weekend and answer my questions about my son. She takes time to go over everything and answer all my questions and concerns, every time we've met with her. I've never felt rushed. I highly recommend her! She's been so great caring for my family. I feel so blessed to have been referred to her!! Thank you Dr. Irene, for caring for my kids!"

    Tammy M. via Yelp

    "Dr. Irene is amazing! She really listens to you and your concerns, and takes the time to address them. She is so gentle and kind with my kids! She has definitely exceeded our expectations! I’m positive that my kids are having the best care on island. We love her and we are so happy that she joined our Maui community!"  via Google reviews

    Sueshine R.

    "Dr. Irene is amazing. She is caring, gentle, truly listens and graciously worked with us and our children to provide the best medical care. Highly recommend!!!"