Probiotics for Children

With the many health benefits, probiotics can be a critical nutrient for children to take in supplement form.

Parents everywhere will be happy to know that there are probiotic acidophilus pearls that are ideal for children. I have been able to give these probiotics to toddlers as young as eighteen months. Whenever they are consuming soft table food, they can take this supplement. These pearls are quite small and do, in fact, look like small pearls (the jewel variety). They are small white beads that enterprising parents can get most any child to take. There are a few tricks to the trade, and in the interest of healthy children, I am more than happy to share them.

First of all, these little acidophilus pills or pearls are easy to swallow, and can be swallowed with a spoonful of applesauce or even baby food with ease. Now, I know there are some tykes who eat with glee and are not terribly discriminating. I also know there are others who detect even the smallest lump in their food and would resist the smallest intrusion into their culinary routine. With this kind, a parent has to be even more clever. A small pearl embedded in a piece of banana has gone down many a wee throat. And, for those suspicious little ones who balk at even that, a crunchier alternative is called for. While the propriety of cookies is a whole other subject, it does work to sneak an acidophilus pill or pearl into the creamy filling of a sandwich cookie. With the hard texture and crunching of the outer sides of the cookie, it is quite easy to camouflage the pearl and get it past the most finicky of eaters.

When a child is old enough to drink from a straw another tactic is to place the pearl at the very tip of the straw and encourage the child to drink his or her beverage through the straw (always a treat) just like a queen bee drinking her nectar (OK, this might work better for a little girl and only if the child isn’t old enough to know that queen bees don’t gather nectar!). A slight alternative to this option is to have the child place the acidophilus pill or pearl on the back of their tongue and then take a mighty draw on the straw. The force of the liquid headed down the hatch takes the pearl with it lickety split. Supplement taken and child no worse for the wear.

Some probiotics are marketed specifically for consumption by kids, but are in forms (such as liquid) that do not maintain the integrity or usefulness of the supplement. They may be in kid-friendly forms, but they don’t allow the full strength of the probiotics to reach their intended destination, and the efficacy is therefore severely diminished. This may not be as much of a concern with babies and infants who may not have sufficient levels of stomach acid to kill the probiotics that pass through in unprotected forms. If you already have acidophilus pearls, they can also be slightly dissolved in warm water and added to a little bit of breast milk or formula for safe, easy infant consumption.

Best of luck to you as you wisely incorporate probiotics into the nutritional support program of your child!

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