Weaning, gut health and baby probiotics: The ultimate guide for parents

Weaning – it’s a milestone filled with both excitement and a touch of worry for parents. As you introduce your little one to a world bursting with flavours, you might also have questions about their gut health and whether probiotics can play a role. 

In this science-backed guide, we’ll cover the basics of weaning, why gut health matters, and how baby probiotics can play a role in keeping your little one’s digestive system healthy, building a solid foundation for lifelong wellness.

What is weaning?

Weaning is the gradual process of introducing solid foods to your baby’s diet alongside breast milk or formula. It typically starts around six months of age, when your baby shows signs of being ready, like good head control and the ability to sit up with support.

Why is gut health important during weaning?

Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms in the digestive system. Babies are born with a sterile gut (a clean slate!), but as they grow and interact with the world around them, they start to develop a diverse community of bacteria and other microbes. Science reveals that gut microbiome plays a crucial role in digestion, immunity, and even brain function.

A healthy gut can help your baby absorb nutrients more effectively, reduce the risk of allergies, and support a strong immune system.  Through research, we understand the early years are especially important for establishing a robust microbiome, as it’s when your baby’s gut flora is most flexible and can adapt to new foods and environments.

How can I support my baby’s gut health during weaning?

Here are some ways to promote a healthy gut during weaning:

Focus on a balanced diet: Offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. This ensures your baby gets a good mix of prebiotics (food for good bacteria) and probiotics (live good bacteria).

Stick to age-appropriate textures: Start with smooth purees and gradually progress to lumpier textures as your baby develops their chewing skills.

Consider breastfeeding/formula feeding for as long as possible: Breast milk and formula are packed with nutrients that support gut health. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends continued breastfeeding alongside complementary foods for up to 2 years or beyond.

butternut squash curry

What about baby probiotics?

When to consider baby probiotics?

Burping, gas, tummy discomfort? Introducing solid foods to your baby’s developing digestive system can certainly be a new adventure!

Research indicates that establishing a health gut microbiota may be a beneficial aspect of early childhood nutrition and wellness. When the gut microbiota harmony is disrupted, probiotic supplements may help in restoring this balance.

When considering baby probiotics, factors such as the baby’s health status and any existing medical conditions may influence your decision. 

Consulting with a healthcare professional can provide valuable insights tailored to your infant’s individual needs.

Are baby probiotics safe to use?

While probiotics are generally considered safe for healthy infants, it’s essential to choose clinically proven, reputable probiotic products specifically formulated for infants and avoid giving adult probiotic supplements to babies.

BioGaia’s Protectis Baby Drops with Vitamin D are formulated with one of the world’s most studied bacteria strains* with over 200.000+ hours of research behind every drop. It’s a probiotic strain originally found in breastmilk and has been shown to be safe for newborns and up. 

Weaning is a journey, and every baby progresses at their own pace. Trust your instincts, enjoy this special time with your little one, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your paediatrician if you have any concerns.

 *According to a recommendation by ESPGHAN (Szajewska H. et al. 2022)

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