Here you are – prepared for your newborn, fully read up on the best practices for new parents, ready to cope with little to no sleep and constant feedings, and you’re on top of it all – coping, enjoying, keeping a tight lid on your stress levels….
and your little bundle starts to cry.
Three days later, baby is still crying, and you’ve run through all of your toolbox full of tricks to soothe the little monster…..sweetheart, right? But you prepped to be a super parent, and you know to check out online resources and natural products, and you’ve run across probiotics as an option to try. So what’s the issue?
Well, now that you’re actually ready to pick up some probiotic options (like Colic Relief Plus), you’re double checking your research and up pops ‘prebiotics’. Wait, what? PRE biotics? Did you miss the boat already – were you supposed to prep baby with PREbiotics before you need PRObiotics? Is one just the lite version of the other?
And What the Heck Are SYNbiotics?
Not to fear – we’ve got you. Prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics are related but different parts of the probiotics world. As we’ve already talked about, ‘probiotics’ are the living microscopic bacteria living in the intestinal tract of all living creatures. We cultivate and package some strains of these living bacteria as probiotic products to help balance our own ‘gut biomes.’
Probiotics, because they are living microorganisms need food of their own to survive and thrive. That’s where ‘prebiotics’ come in. ‘Prebiotics’ is what we call the fibrous starches and sugars that prebiotics need to grow in our intestinal tract. Good sources of prebiotics are breast milk and early cow’s milk, raw garlic, bananas, chicory root, honey, asparagus, artichokes, raw leeks, onions, whole grains, black beans, chickpeas or garbanzo beans and white beans.
Prebiotics are also found in unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, dandelion greens and dandelion root, some mushrooms, like shiitake, maitake and reishi, and brewer’s yeast, as well as in cooked potatoes and rice, and even gum arabic. In fact, gum arabic, or Acacia gum, used as a stabilizer in the food industry, is one of the best sources of prebiotics available.
Before you dash out to pick up groceries high in prebiotics, be aware – if your gut biome has a small amount of probiotics, the prebiotic food listed can cause discomfort and bloating, so if you feel unwell after eating any of these, stop. You might need to build up the actual number of probiotic microorganisms in your gut biome first, so feeding them prebiotics can help them grow and create a strong community instead of overloading your digestive system with too much fiber at once.
Balancing your living probiotic bacteria and the food you make available to them, the prebiotics, is what ‘Synbiotics’ is all about.
‘Synbiotics’ is best described as the combining of probiotics and probiotics to enhance the benefits of each to your digestive system. Eating the right foods together, in the right proportions, is the easiest and best way to help your own gut biome balance out and work efficiently. Of course, making sure that you are eating well and taking care of yourself physically is always the best course of action, but if the idea of watching everything you eat and testing different combinations of foods and how they make you feel leaves you cold and/or slightly frantic (after all, who has time?), don’t worry. Just like with vitamins, you can always take a commercially available supplement to give yourself the benefits without the stress of figuring it all out on your own. Supplements can give you both the probiotics and the prebiotics to feed them all in one, so that until you have time to start thinking about your own health and well being more, you can still take better care of yourself without too much work.
Want to learn more about taking care of yourself, especially with a newborn, as well as signs, causes and remedies for colic? Check out our resource below!