Probiotics for Breastfeeding Moms and their Babies

I’ve read a lot about probiotics, but don’t know if they’re recommended for breastfeeding women. Do you recommend taking probiotics while nursing? How would that impact my baby? Can my baby take them directly?
Silicon Valley, CA

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

I’m a big fan of nursing moms taking probiotics because many studies have shown benefits to babies’ immune systems. Most of these studies have used a strain of probiotic called LGG (found in a product called Culturelle). It may prove that a product with more strains or higher culture counts would be even more effective.

Not only do probiotics pass through into breast milk, they can usually be given directly to babies as well for similar beneficial effects.

We all used to get more beneficial bacteria in our diets before pasteurization and sterilization of food (something that can be especially important for safety when food comes from overcrowded farming operations, travels great distances, or needs to stay fresh a long time).

We benefit from regular exposure to beneficial bacteria — and all the more so in certain situations, such as when a baby needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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  1. Julie

    So it’s safe for mom and toddler who is breastfeeding to take probiotics at the same time. If mom is also taking a multivitamin and fish oil can toddler who is a frequent nurser take their own as well. We are vegetarians so I feel we need some supplements.

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  2. David

    Our two week breast fed baby needs to be burped almost continuously during the night to relieve what seems to be an endless supply of belching and burping gas. But, miraculously, he recovers every day by 9:30 AM and is fine until 10:30 PM when it’s time to sleep, at which time, the build up of stomach gas begins all over again, making it impossible for baby to sleep and forcing me to burp him all night long. What’s up with that?

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