The 9 Best Baby Probiotics in 2022 [By Use Case]

Mother feeding newborn baby from bottle
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Good bacteria may help babies with certain digestive issues, like colic, gas, and diarrhea. Health benefits go beyond supporting optimal digestion. From supporting your baby’s immune system and reducing the risk of allergies, there are plenty of reasons your little one can benefit from taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.

Probiotics tend to be safe for infants. It’s still best to discuss any supplement with your baby’s primary care provider or dietitian before adding it to your daily routine.

Probiotics are live microorganisms that contribute to good gut health and holistic wellness. Babies are born with a very little developed gut microbiome—the billions of good and bad bacteria in your intestines—which is important for digestion, nutrient absorption, the immune system, and cognitive function.

For the baby’s short-term and long-term health, it’s important that their gut microbiome develops well, including a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria and a diverse array of beneficial bacteria. They get their first dose of microbes while traveling through the birth canal, and then pick up more bacteria through breast milk.

How babies come into the world affects their gut microbiome. Babies born by c-section tend to have different compositions of gut microbes than babies born vaginally.

Studies have also shown that babies who spend more time in the hospital after their birth have fewer healthy bacteria in their gut. Months after birth, infants in both groups saw similar microbiota growth, with the exception of some healthy bacteria that influence the immune system and help reduce inflammation.

Adding probiotics to your baby’s nutrition will support a good gut feeling as well as their overall development. You might think that probiotic foods, like yogurt or sauerkraut, will do the trick, but a science-backed, targeted, and highly effective probiotic supplement is the way to go.

When selecting a probiotic for your child, look for the following:

  • Contains human bacterial strains
  • Shown to be safe and effective in clinical studies
  • Labeled as safe for infants and/or children
  • Ingredient safety and purity (avoid fillers)

Best Overall Baby Probiotic: Omni-Biotic PandA

Ob Panda White Background

Omni-Biotic PandA was specifically developed to support infants and toddlers by promoting optimal digestion, and the healthy development of the gut microbiome and immune system. 

You can give this unique probiotic to babies once daily in breast milk or formula. You can also add the probiotics to boiled (and cooled) water and use a dropper to trickle it into their mouth. 

Omni-Biotic Panda is a 3 strain, multi-species probiotic formulated to support the colonization of a baby’s gut microbiome. Some research suggests that having a diverse microbiome can reduce allergic conditions in childhood. In a clinical study with infants, taking Omni-Biotic Panda reduced the risk of eczema and improved symptoms associated with 3-month colic

Omni-Biotic’s probiotic powder ensures a high bacteria survival rate. By dissolving the powder in a liquid before intake, the beneficial bacteria can survive the passage through the acidic environment of the stomach, and arrive alive and active in the large intestine, ready to do their important work. 

Omni-Biotic Panda is a targeted probiotic for babies, rooted in 25 years of gut microbiome research, characterized by clinically tested health benefits, and made up of vegan, hypoallergenic and non-GMO ingredients. After many years of success in Europe and as one of the top 10 probiotic brands worldwide, Omni-Biotic’s infant blend is now available in the U.S.  

  • Type: Powder
  • Storage: Shelf-stable
  • Dosage/day: 1 sachet/day
  • Dietary Considerations:  Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: Yes

BioGaia Protectis Probiotic Drops

BioGaia is a probiotic that includes one stain, Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis. This is the same strain found in breastmilk, which may encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in a baby’s digestive system. 

The manufacturer’s website notes that these probiotics have been clinically evaluated and proven to reduce crying time in colicky babies, ease regurgitation, constipation, diarrhea, decrease spit-up frequency, and promote a healthy digestive system. Yet, they do not include details regarding the clinical studies on their probiotic drops. 

BioGaia Probiotic Drops also include vitamin D3. Some studies in adults have shown that taking probiotics with vitamin D can improve their effectiveness. 

  • Type: Drops
  • Shelf-stable vs. Refrigerated: Shelf-stable (maximum 77 degrees F) 
  • Dosage/day: 5 drops 
  • Dietary Considerations: Does not highlight but based on the ingredients list, it is dairy-free, soy-free  
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: Yes

Mommy’s Bliss Probiotic Drops

Mommy’s Bliss Probiotic Drops include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a very common probiotic strain. These drops only have 1 billion CFUs per serving. The manufacturer notes that their unique microencapsulation process helps maintain the health of the probiotics bacteria when stored correctly. 

The manufacturer adds vitamin D and suggests that the combination can build a baby’s healthy gut and bone development. It’s important to note that most healthy babies do not need a vitamin D supplement in their diet for healthy bones. 

  • Type: Drops
  • Storage: Shelf-stable (maximum 77 degrees F) and notes refrigeration can prolong the shelf life
  • Dosage/day: 5 drops 
  • Dietary Considerations: Vegan, soy-free, Non-GMO, allergen-free
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: No

Lovebug Tiny Tummies Probiotic

Lovebug Tiny Tummies Probiotic is specifically formulated for infants and promotes a specific serving size for babies with colic. This infant probiotic includes a combination of three strains: lactobacillus rhamnosus, bifidobacterium lactis, lactobacillus infantis

They also add prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fibers are nondigestible, insoluble fibers that serve as food sources for probiotic bacteria. Adding prebiotic fiber may help improve gastric-emptying. Lovebug notes they manufacture their probiotics in facilities that are GMP certified through NSF, a third-party organization that independently tests the products for certain quality and safety standards.  

  • Type: Powder 
  • Storage: Shelf-stable  
  • Dosage/day: 1 stick pack, may increase to 2 packs for colicky babies
  • Dietary Considerations: Dairy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO, Allergen free 
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: No

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Probiotic

Mary Ruth’s Liquid Probiotic includes a blend of 12 probiotic strains. A unique ingredient to Mary Ruth’s probiotics is alfalfa grass, a medicinal herb. It’s important to note that they do not have a dosage recommendation for children under 1 year and the dosage recommendation changes based on age categories. 

  • Type: Liquid drops 
  • Storage: Shelf-stable 
  • Dosage/day: 60 drops or 4 pumps  
  • Dietary Considerations: Non-GMO, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: No

Culturelle Baby Grow 

Culturelle Baby Grow includes 2.5 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis. The LGG strain is very resilient and is one reason this specific strain may help with gastrointestinal issues. 

One alarming ingredient is carnauba wax, a hard wax that some people experience side effects from after consuming. It’s generally recognized as safe but could be an ingredient to avoid if you have specific concerns. 

Culturelle provides 

  • Type: Drops
  • Storage: Refrigerate after opening  
  • Dosage/day: 5 drops  
  • Dietary Considerations: Dairy-free, wheat-free, no eggs, non-GMO, no peanuts, no tree nuts 
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: Yes It is unclear if Culturelle studied this specific product or just the probiotic strain.

Garden of Life Baby Probiotics

Garden of Life Baby Probiotics includes a blend of seven probiotic strains. One challenge with combining multiple bacteria strains is that it can be challenging to tell how the strains work together. The blend consists of 4 billion CFUs designed to help with colic, digestion, and immunity. 

It’s important to note that liquid probiotics have a much shorter lifespan than freeze-dried probiotic bacteria found in many powder supplements, including Omni-Biotic. Every time you open the bottle, the bacteria are exposed to oxygen and contaminants, making the probiotics less effective.

The nutrition label for Garden of Life Baby Probiotics recommends this product for infants 6 months and older. 

  • Type: Liquid 
  • Storage: Shelf-stable 
  • Dosage/day:  2 mL 
  • Dietary Considerations: Non-GMO, Certified gluten-free, certified vegan, certified USDA organic  
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: No

Evivo Baby Probiotic Starter Kit with Live B. infantis

Evivo Baby Probiotic Starter Kit takes a slightly different approach. The kit provides a 4-week supply, as infants take one packet a day, a mixing bowl, syringe, and instructions. This kit may be helpful for someone who needs guidance on how to mix the powder before feeding it to their child. 

Each sachet contains 8 billion CFUs, which is notably higher than some other brands. In addition, Evivo includes activated B. infantis EVC001, Actibif, which can help increase the number of healthy bacteria in a baby’s gut when combined with breast milk. 

  • Type: Powder
  • Storage: Best in freezer, can store in refrigerator for up to 1 month
  • Dosage/day: 1 sachet 
  • Dietary Considerations:  Gluten-free, non-GMO
  • Clinical studies using the final formulation: Yes

Nordic Naturals Baby’s Nordic Flora Probiotic Powder

Nordic Naturals Baby’s Nordic Flora Probiotic Powder offers support for babies ages 6 months to 3 years old. Nordic Naturals products undergo 3rd party testing that ensures their probiotics are free from environmental toxins and contaminants and to verify each batch of probiotics includes the number of CFUs promoted. 

Some studies have shown that 1-3 billion CFU per day have a potent effect on supporting a healthy digestive system in children ages 2 and up. The Baby’s Nordic Flora Probiotic Powder includes 4 billion CFUs per packet of two strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis. These probiotic bacteria are often found in yogurt. 

  • Type: Powder
  • Storage: Shelf-stable
  • Dosage/day: One packet 
  • Dietary Considerations: Non-GMO, vegan, allergen-free 

Clinical studies using the final formulation: Studies on other Nordic Natural Products but none on their Baby’s Probiotic Powder

Father holding infant daughter

How to Choose the Best Probiotics for Your Baby

When choosing a probiotic supplement for your baby, it’s important to consider the science and research behind the product, the formulation, as well as the ingredients. You want to make sure you’re giving your baby a probiotic-based on extensive science, one that is targeted to their health needs, and a clean, trustworthy product. 

Safety and Clinical Studies

Peer-reviewed clinical studies are the gold standard for supplement research. These types of studies show if the product works. Caregivers should take careful consideration when selecting the probiotic brand and strain for their infant. 

Omni-Biotic probiotics are developed in accordance with the most stringent quality and manufacturing guidelines. The research and development process includes: testing probiotic strains for their strengths, combining different strains for synergistic activity, and testing each final formulation in clinical studies. Our probiotics are based on 25 years of gut microbiome research as well as over 100 clinical studies using the final products. 

Formulation

Probiotics have strain-specific effects. Each type of strain and different combinations of strains will address specific health needs. To see positive changes in your baby’s health, you’ll want to find the strains that align with your child’s needs. 

The early evidence of probiotics used to treat specific conditions in infants shows positive results. Consider what health conditions you’re looking to improve with the use of probiotics and that will help guide you to the strain or formulation that best suits your baby’s needs. 

Ingredients 

Babies are fragile beings and they’re still developing, so you want to make sure that what’s going in their bodies is free of toxins, allergens, and inflammatory ingredients. As a general rule of thumb, a probiotic supplement that is free of common allergens, like soy, dairy, and gluten, as well as free of fillers and non-essential ingredients, is a good choice. 

Omni-Biotic probiotics are vegan, hypoallergenic, and non-GMO. Also note, not all probiotic supplements are appropriate or safe for children. Make sure they label the product safe for children. And check the intake instructions for age limitations and dosage,  to ensure your child meets the age and dosage requirements.

Type

You can find a range of options for probiotic products for babies. Because babies are still developing their ability to chew and swallow, capsules, gummies, and chewables are not safe for children under two years old. Some brands suggest their chewable or gummy are safe for kids starting at 2 years old, while other brands recommend 4 years old. 

Instead, we recommend choosing a powder that gets dissolved in milk or water, drops, or liquid. These types of supplements are beneficial because you can mix them with other liquids, like formula or breast milk.  

CFU Count

Probiotics must be alive to be effective, and the CFU (Colony Forming Units) count shows how many live bacteria are found in one serving of the dietary supplement. We typically measure CFUs per gram or per milliliter. 

When you review several probiotic supplements, you will see each one lists its range. There is no current standard for how many CFUs an infant probiotic must include, but most include millions to billions CFUs per serving. 

Keep in mind that more is not always better for probiotic CFUs. It’s more important to consider the delivery mechanism to ensure that the bacteria reach the intestines alive and active. 

Omni-Biotic’s unique powder delivery mechanism ensures that 83% of probiotics make it to the intestine alive and active. The freeze-dried bacteria are mixed with prebiotic nutrients in the powder, which act as their food source. When you add the powder to a liquid, the freeze-dried bacteria rehydrate. This makes them strong for the passage through the GI tract to the large intestine, where they can go to work. 

Smiling parents feed baby in high chair

Why Give Your Baby a Probiotic Supplement?

Babies in the womb have a sterile gut until they are born. Then, bacteria are naturally introduced to a baby’s gut through vaginal birth, the breastmilk or formula they drink, and the foods they eat. These good bacteria are an important part of digesting foods, extracting nutrients, and helping the body function well. 

Illnesses, unhealthy foods, and medications like antibiotics may affect the healthy development of a baby’s gut.

Probiotics are a seamless and effective way to support the development of your baby’s gut flora. They become particularly useful if your baby was born by cesarean, had antibiotics, or if you are not breastfeeding. These factors may disrupt the diversity of bacteria in your baby’s gut, which can negatively impact their long-term health.

Clinical evidence suggests probiotics may help

  • Increase healthy gut bacteria, especially after taking antibiotics
  • Reduce the risk of diarrhea associated with taking antibiotics
  • Reduce symptoms of baby colic
  • Reduce reflux and constipation 
  • Decrease risk of developing childhood allergies 
  • Decrease symptoms associated with eczema

Most studies show that the health benefits of taking probiotics only last as long as you’re actively taking them.

Can Baby Probiotics Help with Colic?

Signs that your baby may be suffering from colic is when a baby is in distress and cries for long periods of time. There are many theories about what causes colic, including gastrointestinal discomfort. The research is promising on the effectiveness of probiotics for babies with colic. 

A 2014 study looked at how probiotics could reduce colic symptoms. The study examined the results of 589 infants that received either probiotics or a placebo daily for 90 days. Researchers found that the infants using the supplements cried less and had fewer gastrointestinal symptoms.

Other studies have shown similar results. Omni-Biotic Panda has also shown in a clinical study with infants to reduce symptoms associated with 3-month colic, including crying duration and digestive discomfort. 

The strain of probiotic may affect the supplement’s effectiveness. Researchers have seen positive outcomes with L. reuteri.  

Can Baby Probiotics Help with Acid Reflux?

Reflux is a common gastrointestinal disorder in the first year of life and can affect up to 40% of infants between two and four months old. For most babies, the frequency of reflux decreases as they get older.

Regurgitation and acid reflux becomes an issue for babies when it is a frequent occurrence, causing failure to thrive and other health conditions. 

Current research on how effective probiotics are in addressing infant acid reflux is limited. But data from small studies are promising and may help reduce gut-related symptoms when taken as prescribed. The key to adding probiotics is finding the right strain for the ailment that you’re looking to address.

In one study, researchers used a combination of B. infantis Bb-02, B. lactis Bb-12, and S. thermophilus TH-4 which helped reduce the incidence of acid reflux. Another small study used L. reuteri DSM 17938 and showed improvements in regurgitation issues for infants.

Smiling parents in bed with new baby

When Can You Start Giving Probiotics to Your Baby?

Current research on infants and probiotics is limited. Yet, the research that is available agrees that they are generally safe to use in healthy infants. Probiotics should not be given to premature infants, children with cancer, heart defects, or a compromised immune system, unless under strict supervision by the pediatrician.

Since infants require unique care, always work with your primary care provider before adding a supplement to your baby’s daily routine. Discuss the need for it and which probiotic you’d like to use. It’s also important to review the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is safe for infants. 
If you can, start giving your baby a probiotic supplement right after birth and through 36 months of age. This is how long it takes for their gut microbiome and immune system to develop.

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Julie Harris
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