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Probiotics and Colic

Probiotics are a combination of good and beneficial bacteria that are found in the digestive tract. They aid in the digestion of food as well as helping to strengthen our immune system by creating a more healthy balance of gut bacteria.

 

Up to 80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, thus a healthy digestive tract, with adequate good bacteria, is essential for a healthy life.

We all have differing amounts of these bacteria in our system, depending on your use of anti-biotics (which kill both the good and bad bacteria), your diet (ie whether it is healthy), the bacteria in your environment and whether or not you were breastfed.

 

A baby is born with few bacteria in the gut, but very quickly builds up a repertoire of bacteria from its immediate environment. The first bacteria the baby collects is on its way down the birth canal, if you have a Natural Vaginal Delivery, and these are topped up through breast feeding and close contact with its mother . It is therefore often suggested that the mother ensures that she has good bowel flora (another term for the good bacteria) so that the baby starts his life with the best bowel flora possible. This can be achieved by supplementing with a good Probiotic prior to delivery.

 

It is often suggested that supplementing your baby with a good Probiotic, after a Caesarean Section, if you were unable to breast feed, or if you or your baby has had to have an anti-biotic, is a good idea.

 

As Probiotics may help with digestion, they have been found in some studies to help babies suffering from Colic and gas.

Some of the additional benefits of giving your baby probiotics can be found in this article from Mercola.com.

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The information in this article was reviewed for medical accuracy by, Paediatrician and Allergy Specialist, Dr Claudia Gray (MBChB (UCT), MRCPCH (London), MScClin Pharm(Surrey), DipPaedNutrition (UK), PostgradDipAllergy (Southampton), Certified Paediatric Allergologist (SA))

Dr Gray works at the allergy clinic at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, and has a private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town, contact 021 531 8013.