A healthy, bacteria-rich gut microbiome plays an important part in many functions of the body. And, research has begun to better understand the health benefits of consuming and stimulating “good bacteria.” Here’s a look at the latest information on probiotics and prebiotics for babies.

What are probiotics and prebiotics?

Good bacteria exist naturally in the body. The main dietary substances used to influence gut health and promote good bacteria are probiotics and prebiotics.

Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain living microorganisms. These so-called “friendly” bacteria can help change the bacteria balance in the gut.

  • Example of probiotics: Yogurt with lactobacillus

Prebiotics are substances found in certain foods or supplements that cannot be digested by humans. Prebiotics help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria found in the gut by acting as food for the bacteria.

  • Example of prebiotics: Compounds like oligosaccharides found in breast milk, infant formula that has prebiotics, and toddler milk

Synbiotics are created when probiotics and prebiotics are combined to help ensure the good bacteria found in probiotics make it to the gut and thrive.

Why are probiotics and prebiotics good for babies?

While the benefits of probiotics and prebiotics for babies are still being studied, the overall consensus is that they’re good for your baby’s gut health and play an important role in supporting immune health.