Are probiotics safe while breastfeeding?
Yes but be sure to find ones that will benefit you while you are breastfeeding to not only improve your immune system but also boost your milk supply. Here are the best probiotics to take while breastfeeding and what to look for when buying one.
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What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are the good guys in your digestive tract because they are responsible for fighting off harmful, bad bacteria, viruses, and even yeast. They are usually found in fermented food such as sauerkraut, and soft cheeses, but are also commonly taken as a probiotic supplementation.
Are Probiotics Safe While Breastfeeding?
Yes, but probiotic supplements are considered a supplement by the FDA so they are not regulated. It’s important to talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. That being said they are considered dietary supplements so they are not regulated by the FDA. This means that any claims as to what they do are at the manufacturer’s discretion. Although most of the reputable ones have been tested and proven safe while breastfeeding, be sure to check with your doctor or midwife before taking them during pregnancy just to be on the safe side.
Probiotic bacteria play an important role in the human body. Having a diverse gut microbiome helps improve your immune health and prevents digestive issues. One of the best ways to get them is through fermented foods. I prefer getting them from sauerkraut and kombucha but if you are concerned you aren’t getting enough of a specific strain for specific benefits such as vaginal health, then you can use probiotic supplements.
The Benefits of Taking Probiotics
There are lots of health benefits of probiotics. Here are a few of the major ones:
- Helps to fight off infections such as urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, colds, and flu.
- Can also help aid in digestion by keeping things regular, easing gas or bloating, and helping with constipation or diarrhea which are common for breastfeeding women.
- Help treat and prevent mastitis. Studies show women that who took a probiotic as opposed to nothing were treated and fewer ducts were clogged in the future.
Do Probiotics Get Passed Through Breast Milk?
Studies have shown that probiotics can be passed through the breastmilk. One of the benefits of probiotics while breastfeeding is not only is it giving your digestive system good bacteria but they have been found in human milk to be passed into the baby’s gut as well.
Can Probiotics Cause Gas in Babies?
Studies have shown that probiotics can help prevent colic but if you feel it is causing your baby any pain, stop the use of probiotics for some time to see if it was the cause.
What are the Different Types Available?
There are a variety of probiotics that are considered safe while breastfeeding. The most common are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus, although there are many others. Make sure to read labels and find one that suits your needs best.
Can They be Taken During Pregnancy?
Pregnant women can benefit from taking probiotics. Probiotics are great for pregnancy. They are very common in the prenatal vitamins that are available. They are also found in a variety of other supplements such as flax seed oil which contains omega-3 fatty acids and more. Some suspect that probiotics prevent group strep b commonly found during pregnancy. I always take a probiotic during pregnancy for that reason.
What are Some of the Benefits?
Probiotics are a great way to improve your digestive health by adding good bacteria into your diet, especially while breastfeeding. As you are aware, breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition for your child. It should be kept as clean and pure as possible to provide maximum nourishment and protection.
How Many Probiotics to Use
Probiotics are measured in billions of live cultures. Here are the universal dosages guidelines:
- Babies – 1-3 billion cultures a day.
- Children – 10-15 billion live cultures per day (spread over multiple servings)
- For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding – 20+ billion live cultures per day are a good idea but do not rely solely on probiotics while you are breastfeeding your child as there are other benefits
Start out with a lower dosage for the first week and then add more from there.
Things to Look for When Buying a Probiotic
Your body needs probiotics so be sure to pick a probiotic that has multiple strains of good bacteria.
The higher the number of live cultures or billions is not always the best way to go. Some have cultures that are already dead or can’t be sustained in the stomach. Make sure it’s a high-quality probiotic.
If you are looking for “vegetarian” or non-animal-based capsules as some are made with gelatin which means the capsule itself is animal-based. Some probiotics also are milk derivatives. So if you avoid dairy, be sure to check the label.
Make sure it has been third-party tested for heavy metals and fillers. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, you want to make sure that it is free and clear of that nasty stuff.
Look for probiotics that are beneficial for pregnancy. For example, lactococcus lactis is commonly found in the digestion and vaginal tract and helps protect against diarrhea and yeast infections.
While there are many brands of probiotics out on the market today, some are not worth your time or money. Be careful where you are getting them from and read reviews first before buying.
Best Probiotics for Breastfeeding
Garden of Life Women’s Probiotic
I have been using this probiotic for years. I always use it during my pregnancies to help prevent group strep b and have had success preventing it with all three of my pregnancies. It comes with 50 billion CFU’s from 16 different probiotic strains. I love that you don’t have to refrigerate it, taking up precious space in that condiment compartment.
Strains used: Lactobacillus acidophilus Lactobacillus plantarum Lactobacillus casei Lactobacillus paracasei Lactobacillus bulgaricus Lactobacillus brevis Lactobacillus reuteri Lactobacillus salivarius Lactobacillus fermentum Lactobacillus gasseri Lactobacillus rhamnosus Total Lacto Cultures (40 Billion CFU) Bifidobacterium lactis Bifidobacterium infantis Bifidobacterium bifidum Bifidobacterium breve Bifidobacterium longum Total Bifido Cultures (10 Billion CFU)
Mary Ruth’s Postnatal Probiotic Liquid
I recently just switched to this probiotic. They have a pill form and a liquid form. I love the liquid form so one bottle can be used for the whole family. A liquid probiotic is also a good option if you are having a hard time taking pills. I like it because I and my kids can use it while giving everyone a safe dosage for their needs. They have really amazing customer service and the product is completely raw and vegan. They have a lower CFU count at 10 million CFU’s but they are all active, live, and easily absorbed.
Strains used: Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, L. salivarius, L. casei, L. plantarum, Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, B. bifidum, B. lactis, B. infantis, B. breve, and B. longum
Mary Ruth’s Postnatal Probiotic Pill
Pill form: This one is specifically made for women that are breastfeeding and are in the postpartum stages. It has 54 billion CFU’s. It also has added vitamins to help health from giving birth such as choline and selenium.
Strains used: Lactobacillus plantarum, L. acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum
Mama’s Select Probiotics
If you deal with a lot of morning sickness or heartburn during pregnancy, this might be the one for you. Some moms have even said they have seen a boost in their milk supply since using it. It comes with 10 billion CFU’s.
Strains used: Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus salvarius, Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifodobacterium lactis, Bifodobacterium breve, Bifodobacterium longum, Bifodobacterium bifidum, Bifodobacterium infantis
Pink Stork Total Lactation Probiotic
A lot of moms use this probiotic after suffering from mastitis. These are great for preventing clogged ducts which can cause mastitis and are so painful! Most also found that not only did it make them more regular but it also helped their babies with colic. I love that it is third-party tested. It has 10 billion CFU’s.
Strains used: Lactobacillus paracasei, Enterococcus faecium, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri
Elactia Breastfeeding Probiotic
So many moms are loving how it takes away breast pain and prevents clogged ducts. Some have also said that they have seen an increase in their milk production. If you suffer from breast pain either from the letdown or engorgement, this might be the best probiotic for you.
Strains used: Lactobacillus fermentum
This is more of a compressed tablet than a capsule which is great if you prefer swallowing smaller pills. It has 5 billion CFU’s. It has a slow-release method for better absorption and they claim to be 15x more powerful than other probiotics. A lot of women were impressed with how it helped prevent clogged ducts and helped with their digestive issues. It is lactose-free but it is a milk derivative. Something to keep in mind if you or your baby are sensitive to dairy.
Strains used: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Probiotic supplements can be a great addition to your prenatal vitamins. This will help boost your body’s defenses from the stress you are putting on it. Also, if you are not eating as healthy as you normally do when trying to conceive or breastfeeding, this will ensure that your baby is getting all the good stuff he/she needs.
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