Study Finds B. Infantis Probiotic Supplement May Improve Bowel Movements for Infants
The beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium infantis is passed from mother to child during vaginal birth, which means that babies delivered via C-section do not receive it. A recent study suggests that it may be safe to give B. infantis probiotic supplements to infants who did not receive B. infantis at birth and that the supplements may help improve bowel movements for infants.
Participants in the study included 68 new mothers. All of them were given lactation support, and half were also given activated B. infantis supplements. Beginning seven days after birth, the infants were fed the probiotic-enriched breastmilk for 21 days. The mothers collected fecal samples, filled out health questionnaires, and kept daily logs of the infants’ feeding and gastrointestinal symptoms up until 61 days after birth.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the intervention was safe, well tolerated, and that the probiotic colonized well. They also noted that the infants who received the treatment had an average 1.8 bowel movements per day, compared with four per day in the control group that had received breastmilk. Additionally, the consistency of the stools in the breastmilk-only group was “watery,” while the supplement group’s were “soft.”
Researchers from the University of California conducted the study. It was published on May 30, 2017, in BMC Pediatrics.
B. infantis is normally transferred from the mother to the baby during vaginal birth. However, women who have c-sections do not transfer the bacteria and women who have had high levels of antibiotic treatment in their lives also may not have B. infantis to transfer to their babies.
Higher levels of B. infantis have been associated with better weight gain, increased thymic index, and a better response to vaccines.