Should you give your baby a probiotic when breastfeeding?
It was my wife’s second pregnancy. Our second daughter was born, and all was well! Sort of… My wife’s temperature continued to climb, and she was admitted to the hospital for endometritis. The attending physician prescribed intravenous antibiotics. I was glad she and the little one were safe, but couldn’t help thinking about how the antibiotics were about to wipe out all the beneficial bacteria in mom, and consequentially any developing bacteria in the little one.
Does the antibiotic pass from mom to the baby’s milk?
Yes, some antibiotics do pass from mom to baby from the milk. Despite possibility of being passed from mom to child, some antibiotics are considered safe with low risk of harm to the infant. There are some antibiotics that should not be taken while breastfeeding due to unknown or considerable risk. Physcians and mothers must use judgement in risk versus benefits for these antibiotics.
How do I give my baby a probiotic?
There are several products on the market that are good sources of probiotics for babys and even newborns: they come in powders. Giving the probiotic to a baby that is not on solid foods requires some creativity. Let me give you some ideas:
1. If breast feeding, mom may apply the powder to the nipple just before breastfeeding. If the powder does not adhere well, wet your fingers with a little milk or water to make it a small adherent paste. (if there are open lesions on the nipple, and mom is prescribed antibiotics for mastitis ask your physician before applying anything to the skin–you have other alternatives)
2. If bottle-fed, simply add the probiotic powder to the bottle of milk or formula.
3. Put some on a clean finger and let the baby suck on it.
4. If the child is eating solid food, mix in the powder with the solids.
How long should I give my child a probiotic?
If approved by your healthcare provider, probitoics work best for a minimum of the duration you are on antibiotics. Consider taking probiotics for 30 days after antibiotics.
How do you give your baby probiotics?