Breast milk contains everything that your baby needs to grow. It contains a balanced mix of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies to help your babies grow up healthy.
And while most doctors would agree that breast milk is enough, some people have realised the benefits of probiotics and have found that taking probiotics while breastfeeding is very beneficial.
What Are Probiotics?
There are many bacteria and microbes inside the human body that play important roles in maintaining good health. Some of these so-called “good bacteria” can be found in the digestive system and aids in the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. However, due to improper diet, there is a reduction in good bacteria. In the meantime, taking probiotics, which are live microorganisms, can help restore and promote the growth of the gut microbiome.
Is It Okay for Breastfeeding Moms to Take Probiotics?
Women who opt for probiotics while breastfeeding believe that the good bacteria they get from consuming probiotics are also passed on to their babies. But is it safe?
When a breastfeeding mother takes probiotics supplements to help replenish the presence of healthy bacteria in her gut, these live microorganisms could be passed on through breast milk, as confirmed by a study. And because babies already have microorganisms inside their bodies starting from the womb, microorganisms present in breast milk won’t pose any harm to them.
Babies also get a good amount of what is called “prebiotics” through breastfeeding. And since mothers milk contains a mix of proteins, minerals, sugars, and amino acids, the interaction of these different components promotes a prebiotic effect that aids in the growth of the already present healthy bacteria in the baby’s gut.
Benefits of Probiotics for Mother and Baby
- The Overall Health of the Mother
While breastfeeding is beneficial to a baby, it can sometimes pose a minimal threat to a mother’s health because it lessens the nutrients and antibodies in the mother’s body as they are transferred to the baby. Meanwhile, taking probiotic supplements can help bring back immunity to maintain the mother’s overall health.
- Aids in the Production of Vitamin B
Babies need Vitamin B for brain development and to produce healthy red blood cells, while mothers need it for overall health and proper nutrition. So, probiotics can help produce these vitamins that play an important role in maintaining the good health of the mother and child through a healthy appetite, good nutrition, increased energy levels, healthy brain function, and protection from infections.
- Boosts a Baby’s Immune System
About 70% of the immune system is found in your body’s digestive system, where lymphoid tissues provide an immune response. Another form of immune protection that babies get is antibodies that are absorbed via breast milk. Therefore, providing probiotics through breast milk via supplementation will boost the growth of the infant’s immune system as a whole.
- Digestive Health
The use of probiotic supplementation has been seen to aid in preventing some gastrointestinal diseases such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and helped improve symptoms of some inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In addition, regular intake of probiotics by the mother will ensure a healthy digestive system that will promote better absorption of nutrients, which will ultimately be transferred to her baby through breastfeeding.
- Promotes Overall Health
Studies show that the proper balance of microorganisms in your gut is linked to overall health. And because probiotics help replenish the gut bacteria, it, therefore, is linked to a variety of health benefits such as boosting your immune system, helping you lose weight, aiding in the absorption of nutrients, improving some mental health conditions, aiding in the development of the nervous system, and keeping your heart healthy. Probiotics, therefore, help maintain health and well-being.