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Can probiotics help with gassiness in babies?

There are all kinds of supplements that claim to help with your baby’s gas and digestion, but do they really work? We asked a paediatrician.

Can probiotics help with gassiness in babies?

Photo: iStockphoto

I keep seeing probiotic supplements for babies. Do they actually help with babies’ gas and digestion? I wish I could say with certainty that, yes, probiotics help with babies’ gas and digestion. But we just don’t have that much evidence for this yet. In my practice, I see about 50 percent of babies becoming less gassy with probiotics and the other half having no improvement. Some parents actually tell me their child was less comfortable once starting probiotics.

So I don’t typically recommend them, but there is likely no harm in trying. Gripe water or simethicone (Ovol) are other options, though there is no convincing research for those either—just anecdotal evidence that suggests they may break up gas bubbles. Some products work for some babies and not for others. Tried-and-true physical methods, like massaging the stomach clockwise (because that’s the direction your digestive system works in) or bicycling your baby’s legs, can also aid digestion and decrease gassiness.

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