Parenting WTF #2: Baby Probiotics

Sometimes we do things that make me say “Seriously?!?!” Baby probiotics is one of them.

I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but I really mean it when I say Maya has been a good baby so far (knock on wood). Of course she can get fussy when she’s tired or hungry or pent up in a car seat for too long, but we haven’t had any DEFCON-5, baby freaking the F out, FML, there’s literally nothing we can do moments to date.

However, if Maya has had a kryptonite so far, it would be gas. And it seems like garbanzo beans, to be specific, is a major culprit. Probably the worst day was the day after we ate a big plate of hummus (and it made its way into her breast milk supply). For no apparent reason, she became really fussy and nothing we tried worked. We threw the kitchen sink to no avail. Taking her outside was usually our Ace in the hole, but that didn’t work either. We gave her some fart medicine (simethicone) and made some gripe water (boil ginger, fennel seed, and dill in water). All these things might have helped a bit and she eventually got over it, but from that moment on we became extremely vigilant around preventing this from happening again.

Enter baby probiotics.

Yes, such a thing exists.

I’ve personally used probiotics a bit in the past, but not consistently enough to be considered a true believer. The science on the benefits of priobitics on children is fairly inconclusive:

Despite exhaustive research on the subject in different indications…reports of clear benefits for the use of prebiotics and probiotics in pediatric disorders remain scarce

However, other studies have found benefits from giving probiotics to colicky infants (though over small sample sizes):

By Day 21, the number of infants with crying times >3 hours was significantly lower in the treatment group compared with the placebo group. At all stages in the study, crying time for those in the treatment group was less than in the placebo group.

The concept of probiotics makes sense to me — “good” bacteria in your stomach that can help regulate your gut and maybe break down food — and the risks seem fairly limited, so I said, “Why not, let’s keep it in our arsenal just in case.”

Now, whenever we give Maya something that we think could cause her major gassiness or digestive issues — beans, lentils, meat, etc — we prophylactically mix in some probiotics into her nighttime milk feeding just to be safe.

We’ve only used it a few times, so I have no idea if it actually helps or not. Fortunately, it hasn’t caused any side effects either so we continue to have it available just in case.

I like to consider myself a somewhat throwback parent and I often rail against the helicopter parenting tendencies of my generation, but I am not fully immune from bouts of over-parenting as this example shows.

Baby probiotic supplements, who would’ve thought. What’s next, baby protein powder to help them get swol?

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