What are the best probiotics for infants and toddlers?

The bacteria in our gut are some of the most important for our body to function well. These healthy bacteria aid in digestion and support our immune system. When it comes to your kids, you want to support those good bacteria in a way that is best for them.

That means finding a quality probiotic that caters specifically to infants and toddlers. I've looked through some of the best and compiled a list to help you find the best probiotics for infants and toddlers.

What does it do?

To truly understand the how probiotics work their magic, we need to have a teeny-tiny biology lesson. Every person's intestinal tract is unique. This means that our bodies are the best ones to determine what kinds of bacteria and how much are needed.

There are trillions of good, bad, and benign bacteria living in the GI tract already. Probiotics introduce good bacteria (or flora), which then fight for space against the bad bacteria.

The more good bacteria you have, the better your digestion. You have less gas and bloating, a healthier immune system, and often times, clearer skin.

For children, the benefits include better digestion, healthier skin and hair, and the ability to fight off those awful viruses that spread around nurseries and play centers.

That's really the gist of it.

This video does a good job at explaining what probiotics do, as well, and why they are beneficial for your child.

It is important to note, too, that probiotics can have some not so pleasant side effects. Some of the side effects are very natural, and result from your GI tract being thrown out of balance. This causes less water to be absorbed by food and results in occasional diarrhea.

It is possible, too, to have too much probiotic in your system. The side effects of this are simply bloating, gas, and potential pain in the lower abdomen. This isn't something that should scare you away. If you have concerns, speak to your family doctor about the appropriate dosage of probiotics for your child.

Is this for me?

As parents, we want to make sure our children are living the healthiest and most fulfilled lives possible. It can be intimidating when we see supplements like probiotics.

Probiotics are just a natural way of increasing the good bacteria in our guts. They help people of all ages digest better and have a healthier immune system.

Doctors suggest that babies born pre-term or through cesarean section, or babies that are formula fed, benefit the most from probiotic supplements. When a baby is born vaginally, he or she gets the mother's good bacteria.

He or she also continues receive good bacteria via breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also supplies substances called prebiotics. If your child was unable to get healthy bacteria through those methods, taking a probiotic supplement can be of great value.

If your child is like my son, sometimes he needs just a little more of a boost, regardless of how he entered the world. Probiotics can help with colic, diarrhea, eczema, intestinal problems, and, as I experienced, diaper rash. So even infants and toddles that have a strong supply of good bacteria could benefit from taking a probiotic.

Which one do I need?

It may surprise you, but not all probiotics are the same. Some offer different nutrients and types of bacteria and target separate areas of the GI tract. The most popular types of probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Lactobacillus

This genus includes 18 different strains of bacteria and primarily resides in the small intestine.

Bifidobacterium

Having 8 different strains of bacteria, this genus primarily resides in your colon.

This video also describes other components of probiotics, including food for the bacteria.

All of this information may seem a bit overwhelming, so here are some basic takeaways to boil it down a bit:

How to Choose Your Probiotic

Decide whether you would like to aid in healing diaper rash, colic, or intestinal issues, or if you just want to provide a natural supplement to aid in the good things already going on. Also decide if you want a probiotic that focuses on the intestines, colon, or one that caters to the whole GI tract.

How to Use Your Probiotic

There are different ways to get your child's probiotic into their system. Your best choices are between powders and liquids, which can be added to drinks, yogurts, or snacks. Take a look at your child's daily routine, diet, and personal preferences and decide which would work best for you.

How to Monitor Your Probiotic

While overdosing on a probiotic is an uncommon occurrence, you can play it safe by talking with your family doctor or pediatrician to better understand how much and how often you should give your child a probiotic.

Now that you are a professional in probiotics, let's look at some of the best ones on the market

Probiotic Reviews

1. Udo's Choice Infant's Blend Probiotic

This probiotic comes in a powder form and contains a blend of 7 different active enzymes. It specifically works to help the body retain nitrogen and supports healthy growth and development. The company has been making quality herbal supplements since their beginnings in Germany in the early 1900s. All strains of bacteria used in Udo's brand are medicinal grade.

Pros


  • Minimum of 3 billion viable cells per gram
  • Many customers notice improvement within days
  • Affordable price for quantity purchased

Cons


  • Does contain traces of dairy, which may irritate some people
  • Does not ship with refrigerated or cooled

2. I-Health Culturelle Probiotics for Kids

This probiotic also comes in a powder and each serving comes in individual packets. It contains Lactobacillus GG which is 100% naturally sourced. This specific type of bacteria has over 25 years of research to back it's important properties and benefits for children, and studies show that it is resilient and is able to survive the acidity in the stomach. Culturelle guarantees that each serving of the probiotic comes with 5 billion live cells.

Pros


  • Convenient packets to use when outside the home
  • Flavorless and simple to add to yogurt or milk
  • The bacteria is naturally sourced
  • Many satisfied customer reviews online
  • No gluten, dairy, lactose, soy, preservatives, added colors, or yeast

Cons


  • Not easy to lessen the portion amount
  • Made for children 25 lbs and up

3. Probonix Liquid Children's Probiotic Drops

Probonix Liquid ChildreProbonix is a liquid probiotic ideal for taking directly on the tongue. It provides 8 of the top strains of microflora, including 3 types of Lactobacillus and 5 types of Bifidobacterium. The liquid comes in a natural grape flavor which appeals to children.

Probonix offers a money back guarantee if the results you desire are not achieved. There is a note on the product to avoid use in heated liquids, as this will kill a lot of the bacteria's Probiotic Drops

Pros


  • No wheat, gluten, soy, GMO, egg, fish/shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts
  • Over 90% of flora survive to the intestine
  • Works with children of all ages
  • Does not need to be refrigerated
  • Many satisfied customer reviews

Cons


  • Potential for dropper to develop mold
  • Most expensive of the products being reviewed
  • Can’t be used in heated liquids

4. Garden of Life RAW Organic Probiotic

This probiotic comes raw and is for children ages 3 months and older. It comes in powder form that can be mixed into beverages or on top of snacks. The formula is specific for children and includes 5 billion live probiotic cells per serving, 23 raw and organic fruits and vegetables, and raw inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic that assists the growth of the probiotic when in your child's system.

Pros


  • Includes fruits and vegetables in each serving
  • Mild flavor that is inoffensive
  • Dissolves well in liquid

Cons


  • Larger serving sizes than other brands
  • Not shipped refrigerated or quality controlled

5. Zahler Kidophilus Liquid Probiotic

Zahler's probiotic is manufactured and bottled in a facility that is GMP and NSF certified. It comes in a fruit punch flavor. This probiotic contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, which works very well for after antibiotic use in replenishing the intestines with good bacteria. Each serving contains 1 billion live probiotic cells. This is a liquid probiotic that can be taken as is.

Pros


  • Good flavour
  • Comes in a container of 48 servings
  • Comes packaged in bubble wrap
  • No artificial dyes

Cons


  • Tastes too sweet for some customers

Conclusion

While all of these probiotics have satisfied customers and children that are now digesting and feeling much better, I think the best probiotic for infants and toddlers is Zahler Kidophilus. Zahler's supplement provides your child with the healthy bacteria he or she needs to digest food better and strengthen their immune system, while not creating a fight over taking it or breaking the bank.

Its price, at a little under $20, is very reasonable considering that other brands, like iHealth Culturelle, comes in only 30 servings. Zahler's can last up to 48 days if used once a day. And while it may have a more manufactured taste and smell, most find their children enjoyed the taste and showed little to no complaint at taking it daily. The Probonix Probiotic, on the other hand, had a grape flavor that many stated was not very good.

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!