Benefits of Probiotics: Breastfeeding mother and Infant
What are probiotics?
Microorganisms are all around us. Living beings too tiny to be seen by the naked eye and can only be detected under a microscope. Examples of such organisms include bacteria, viruses and fungi. The fact that these organisms are numerous and invisible means that contact with them is inevitable.
However, not all of these organisms are harmful to humans as there are some bacteria and yeast which are considered as good and beneficial to the health of a human being. The term used to refer to these “good” microorganisms is probiotics.
Why are probiotics considered good?
Researchers have been studying in order to find out the exact reason behind the existence of these “good microorganisms” for the past few decades.
However, their results have been inconclusive. It is suggested by scientists that there might be a symbiotic relationship between probiotics and the human body. Since in a symbiotic relationship requires that two entities live together in absolute harmony, scientists believe that the human body acts as a place inside which microorganisms can live and thrive in and in exchange these “good” microorganisms known as probiotics keep the body safe from harmful microorganisms.
What are the types of probiotics?
Over 400 different strains of “good” microorganisms inside the human body. These probiotics do not just exist naturally in our body as they are also available in the food we eat and the supplements we might take. Some of the types of probiotics include:
A bacteria which is considered as the most common type of probiotic in existence. It is usually found in fermented food such as yogurt. Lactobacillus is often seen as being helpful to people who have diarrhea.
Similar to lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium is found in dairy products such as cheese. Scientists believe Bifidobacterium to be quite beneficial to people to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Benefits of Probiotics: General
Research is still ongoing as far as the subject of probiotics and their benefit is concerned. However, after decades of thorough study scientists can say with a high degree of certainty that probiotics play a useful part in treating conditions such as:
- Antibiotic-related diarrhea,
- Infectious diarrhea,
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease,
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
- Skin diseases including acne,
- eczema, dental issues and allergy.
Benefits of Probiotics: Breastfeeding mother and baby
Although breastfeeding is considered by mothers as one of the most beautiful phases of motherhood, but along with the beautiful experience comes a lot of responsibility for the mother. The breastfeeding mother is now responsible for the health and well-being for both, herself and her baby.
In this modern age, the use of probiotics is becoming hugely popular amongst women, especially amongst breastfeeding mothers and women during pregnancy. Probiotics, the “good” microorganisms, seem to have a number of nutritional and health benefits for breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.
These benefits include:
1. Boosts the Immune System
Although the quality of breastmilk is typically unaffected by the breastfeeding mother’s diet, however the process of breastfeeding consumes a lot of energy from the breastfeeding mother’s body.
If the breastfeeding mother, lack of energy in her body, it negatively affects the mother’s immune system and makes her more prone to infections and diseases.
Further, it is also a known fact that a newborn’s immune system is so weak that the baby’s body has to depend on the antibodies produced by the mother in order to protect itself against infections and diseases. Research suggests that consumption of probiotics boosts the immune system of both the mother and the baby.
2. Helps counter diarrhoea and acid reflux
Since the usage of probiotics, especially during breastfeeding, helps with keeping the mother’s stomach and the gut running smoothly, after years of trial and error, scientists were able to determine that probiotics help with treating babies who suffer from diarrhoea. It is also not proven that usage of probiotics help in the treatment of who face the problem of acid reflux. Probiotics also prevent these conditions from occurring in healthy individuals.
3. Helps relieve constipation
A number of cases have been reported in which probiotics have directly improved the condition of people who complain of constipation or who have a history of constipation. This is highly beneficial to the breastfeeding mother as new mothers often have issues such as constipation.
4. Treats certain skin conditions
Eczema is a very common problem found in newborns. It causes the skin to turn red, become itchy and “scaly” rashes to form on the skin. Probiotics are considered useful in treating skin conditions such as acne and eczema. So using probiotics is thought of as a wise decision on the mother’s part.
5. Prevention of nappy rashes
Babies who wear a particular diaper for prolonged periods of time often tend to suffer from an itchy and painful rash. Often, the culprit behind such a rash is yeast. Since there is “good” yeast present inside the body of the baby, these probiotics try their best to ensure that the baby does not suffer from any rash as they keep the ratio of good to bad yeast, present inside the body, in check, thereby preventing a diaper rash from developing.
Much like their mothers, constipation in babies, is also a very common occurrence. This is attributed to the fact that babies tend to take in a lot of air when they feed. This leads to a buildup of air within the bowels of the baby, which predictably get blocked and thus constipation begins which in turn leads to pain. As stated earlier, probiotics make sure that the gut performs its function properly and does not let the baby go through colic.
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