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Kids & Family

Probiotics: The health-boosting bacteria babies need

(BPT) - With the increasing number of products in the marketplace containing probiotics, many new parents might be wondering if their babies could benefit from probiotics. To answer that question, it is important to understand the role of the body's microbiota, the living organisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.

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Probiotics: The health-boosting bacteria babies need

Humans have trillions of bacteria - good, bad, and neutral - living in their gastrointestinal systems. Research shows that in the same way harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal system can attack the body, good bacteria, also known as probiotics, can help support it. This relationship leads to a balanced and well-functioning gastrointestinal system.

For babies, ingesting probiotics may help support the developing digestive tract and immune system. Breastfed babies naturally get probiotics, as research has demonstrated that breastmilk contains probiotics. Mothers unable to breastfeed, or those who choose to offer formula, still have options to ensure their baby is building up adequate amounts of this good bacteria by feeding their baby an infant formula with probiotics.

Gerber(R) Good Start(R) infant formula is the only formula line with probiotics available in all milk-based powders. While there are thousands of different probiotic strains, Gerber selected probiotics based on the available research and benefit for specific infant needs.

For example, Gerber(R) Good Start(R) Gentle formula is a routine formula for healthy-term infants that uses Bifidobacterium lactis (B. lactis) because this probiotic has been shown to help support a healthy immune system and is similar to probiotics naturally found in breastmilk. Gerber(R) Good Start(R) Soothe formula is for babies experiencing colic, excessive crying and fussiness, so it features the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri). Studies using this probiotic have shown that it reduces the amount of time colicky infants may cry.

Both L. reuteri and B. lactis are recognized as safe for use in infant formula by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Keep in mind, all infant formulas are carefully regulated by the FDA.

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life offers the ideal nutrition for babies, but whatever leads parents to use infant formula, they now have an option that contains important good bacteria similar to those found in breastmilk.

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