Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that we need to keep our bodies healthy. They help us digest food and fight off harmful germs, but can they be taken whilst breastfeeding?
We all know that taking probiotics is a good idea. However, there are risks associated with taking probiotics while breastfeeding.
You might want to reconsider your choice of probiotic supplement if you’re also planning on breastfeeding because some supplements may not be safe for your baby.
This article will give you an overview of the potential problems related to taking probiotics during pregnancy and lactation, as well as a few tips about how to make sure that your body gets enough beneficial bacteria even when it’s busy nourishing your precious bundle – your baby.
Risks of taking probiotics whilst breastfeeding
Here we look at some of the most common risks associated with taking probiotics whilst breastfeeding:
1. Risk of antibiotic resistance. If the mother is taking antibiotics and has to take probiotics, there is a risk that she will develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria in her body which will be passed on to the baby during breastfeeding and could cause infections or other complications. Such cases have already been documented. The mother should not take any probiotic supplements when taking antibiotics.
2. Maternal infections. Probiotics can produce toxic substances when they are grown in certain conditions. If the mother has yeast overgrowth or dysbiosis, she might develop these conditions after taking probiotics and this could make her sick or cause other problems for the baby.
3. Lactose intolerance. Some strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can produce lactase which breaks down lactose. If the mother has lactose intolerance or is sensitive to dairy, she might develop symptoms after taking probiotics. In some cases, these symptoms could make breastfeeding difficult or impossible.
4. Allergic reactions. Some people might have an allergic reaction to the probiotics, especially if they are taking them for the first time. These reactions could range from mild to severe and might include hives, rash, vomiting, and diarrhea.
5. Stomach upset. Some people experience stomach upset after taking probiotics. These side effects are usually harmless but if the mother is already suffering from heartburn or indigestion, breastfeeding might become difficult.
6. Excessive numbers of bacteria in breastmilk. A small number of probiotics can survive in the digestive system and even reach the mammary glands. If the quantity is large, it could affect the bacterial balance of breast milk and cause side effects in the baby.
7. Overgrowth of lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. There is a possibility that one of these bacteria will overgrow if probiotics are taken by breastfeeding mothers. If this happens, symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating could appear.
8. Development of antibiotic-resistant strains. If a mother takes probiotics while she is breastfeeding, the baby will also ingest these bacteria in small amounts through breast milk. They might survive in the digestive tract and in time they can develop resistance to antibiotics. In some cases, this could lead to serious health problems for the baby.
9. Interference with the absorption of nutrients. Probiotics can produce substances that might interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 from food and supplements. This could lead to deficiencies in these essential nutrients in the mother and the baby.
10. Development of food allergies. Bifidobacterium infantis is known to cause colic in infants and it has also been associated with the development of food allergies. This bacterium is often found in probiotics for breastfeeding moms and can be passed on to the baby through breastmilk which could lead to a higher risk of developing food allergies.
11. Increased risk of infection. There is a small risk associated with taking probiotics might increase the mother’s risk of developing an infection, especially if she is already taking antibiotics. This could also lead to an infection in the baby.
12. Cost and inconvenience. Probiotics can be expensive and some women might find it difficult to find the time to take them.
Best ways to nourish yourself and your baby
If you feel uncomfortable taking a probiotic supplement, then changing your diet can have a significant and natural effect on your body.
As a new mum, you are probably looking for ways to nourish yourself and your baby. There are many different ways to do this, and it can be overwhelming to decide which is best for you. Here are some of the best ways to nourish yourself and your baby:
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to nourish yourself and your baby. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein and whole grains. It is also important to eat regularly and to avoid processed foods.
Eating fermented foods is another great way to nourish yourself and your baby. Since fermented foods contain live bacteria, they can have a significant effect on the type of bacteria in your gut, which in turn can help to promote good health.
Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. These foods are a great addition to your diet, as they contain live bacteria that can help the digestive system.
Babies whose mothers eat fermented foods while breastfeeding has been found to be less at risk of developing allergies.
Some studies have found that certain strains of lactobacillus taken by breastfeeding mothers can survive in breast milk and even reach the baby through breastfeeding. But they only found low numbers of lactobacillus, not enough to cause any problems.
The best course of action is to speak with your healthcare provider before taking any type of probiotics during breastfeeding. They will be able to advise you on whether it’s safe for you and your baby or not.
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