The 5 Best Probiotics For Children

best probiotics for children

As if parenting wasn’t enough work to begin with, you’re now tasked with finding the best probiotic for your children.

And in a world where you have more options than you could ever need, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the endless possibilities— chewable gummies or tablets they swallow?  Strawberry or grape flavored? The list is unending.

If that’s you, or if you’re simply a parent looking to make sure you’re spending your money wisely on a probiotic for your children, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll cover exactly what a probiotic even is, why your kids need to take one to begin with, some common probiotic misconceptions, and finally, give you the 5 best probiotics for children on the market today.

Yep, that’s right—we did the work for you, so all you have to do is choose one out of the 5 based on your childrens’ preferences.

Let’s dive right in!

What is a Probiotic?

When our Facebook feeds are filled with different diets we should be eating and essential oils we should be buying, it can be overwhelming and difficult to decipher what supplements and vitamins our kids actually need.

You’ve probably heard it said that America has the most expensive urine—meaning we pee out most of the fancy (and oftentimes unnecessary) supplements we take on a daily basis.

So isn’t the same true with a probiotic? NO. NO. NO.

Do I need to repeat myself or did that resonate with you?

While this article is geared toward helping you find the best probiotic for your little ones, this section might be just what you need to convince you that both your children AND you should be taking a probiotic.

So what even is a probiotic?

Well actually, a probiotic isn’t just one thing, but instead, refers to a category of microorganisms that coexist in the human body.

The basic working definition of probiotics is “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

To really understand what a probiotic does, we have to start with a mini biology lesson. Living inside both you and your children are trillions of bacteria.  They’re all just hanging out in your gastrointestinal system.

I know, I made that sound super creepy, but those little guys are good, and actually help keep you and your kiddos healthy.  And you’re born with them, so they’re kind of a package deal.

If you choose to breastfeed, you’ll actually help your baby build up more of that good bacteria, because breast milk contains substances known as prebiotics that promote the growth of healthy bugs.  (This is why more formulas are now including probiotics—but more on that later).

Once your child transitions to solid foods, however, their gut microflora will change, and then remain pretty much the same throughout his or her life.

So, to put it simply, a probiotic is live bacteria and yeast that helps keep your gut healthy.  In fact, they’re often called the “good bacteria” because of the many benefits they provide your digestive system.

While all of this sounds good and dandy, this is kids we’re talking about.  They may have even just transitioned to solids, so how could they possibly already need help regulating the good bacteria in their belly?

It’s one thing for an adult to take a probiotic, but for kids? Just how necessary is it?

We’re glad you asked.

Why Does My Child Need to Take A Probiotic?

While we know you’re an incredible parent who feeds their child a variety of healthy foods, there are many outside forces that can throw off your child’s microflora, also known as “gut health.”

Antibiotics, for example, kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut flora, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress.

And one sign of gastrointestinal distress is diarrhea, which, according to Dr. Daniel Merenstein, occurs in 20-30 percent of kids when taking an antibiotic.

Let’s be real.  If you’ve taken your child anywhere public in the last few months, they’ve likely picked up some sort of sickness that required a medication of some sort.  Might have something to do with the playground they were licking…

Outside of helping balance out the destructive side of an antibiotic, probiotics do much more for your child’s health than just that.

In fact, let’s revisit the definition of probiotics: “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

That’s why you’ve probably seen more brands than ever including probiotics in their foods.

If you take a walk down the aisles of your local grocery store, you’ll find that probiotics are found in yogurt, buttermilk, ice cream, juice, cheese, granola bars, cereals, baby formula, and even pizza!

And that’s just to name a few.

But what’s all the hype about?  What exactly do they mean when they claim to “confer a health benefit to the host”?

Just a few of the many benefits include improving immunity, preventing diarrhea, calming symptoms of colic, improving eczema, and drastically changing other intestinal problems.

Not blown away just yet?  Probiotics have also been linked to improving some mental health conditions, have been shown to keep your heart healthy, and reduce the severity of certain allergies.

So unless you aren’t concerned about those health issues, then it’s simply a no brainer that every kid (and adult, too!) should be taking a probiotic supplement.

Probiotic Myths

Since probiotics are still considered a more recent supplement available on the market today, there is plenty of misinformation floating around.

So before we start recommending which probiotics you should be giving your children, we want to clear up a few common misconceptions about probiotics.

Myth #1- There is only one type of probiotic

While this would definitely make things more simple, this just isn’t the case.

No two kids have the same mix of bacteria in their gut, which means that one single type of probiotic isn’t going to treat every ailment.

Dr. Merenstein explained it best by saying, “Like antibiotics, probiotics are confusing to people because each one is different.  The antibiotics that will treat your child’s ear infections won’t necessarily treat her pneumonia.”

The same holds true for probiotics—one single strain does not prevent or treat all ailments.

And not only that, but you have the dose of the probiotic to consider, too.

Thankfully, there are three main probiotics that researchers have found to be the most promising microorganisms for therapeutic use:

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosis GG (a strain of bacteria also known as Lactobacillus GG or LGG)
  • Lactobacillus sporogenes (another bacterium)
  • Saccharomyces boulardii (a yeast)

The dosing should be 5 to 40 billion colony forming units per day.  Don’t worry—that sounds complex but we’ve made sure our 5 best probiotics for children all have the proper dosage.

This information is simply helpful for you to know as a parent when you’re looking at the ingredients list on probiotics, because some commercial preparations contain the wrong bacteria.

Myth #2- My kid gets plenty of probiotics in his food

Unfortunately, this one isn’t true either.  While it would be nice to rely on the foods we eat to provide us with everything we need, there just aren’t a lot of good studies showing that food products actually deliver their promised benefits.

In fact, it’s hard to decipher how many probiotic bacteria remain alive and kicking in the food after travel and shelf time, so there’s no real way to know what live bacteria has survived by the time you’re actually eating the food.

Probiotic supplements, on the other hand, are usually freeze-dried and packaged so they can retain their bacteria.

Myth #3- Probiotics aren’t proven to be safe

Actually, just the opposite is true.  Probiotics have an excellent safety record, and studies are even being conducted on babies to prove the effectiveness of probiotics.

In the most recent study, researchers found that babies being supplemented with a probiotic showed evidence of improved immune function.

So not only are probiotics safe enough to study using babies (which never happens), but the results are showing just how beneficial the probiotics are!

Myth #4- I’ll just give my child probiotics until he or she is feeling better

If you want the benefits of the probiotic to continue working, you’ll have to continue taking the supplement.

Probiotics don’t build up in your child’s gastrointestinal system. So once you stop taking them, they disappear from the GI tract and your child’s microflora levels will return to what they were beforehand.

So if your child is feeling better, that’s because the probiotic is doing its job—which is all the more reason to continue giving it to them!

Now that we’ve officially convinced you that your child absolutely needs to be taking a probiotic, we’re going to count down the 5 best probiotics for children available on the market today.

The 5 Best Probiotics For Children

#1- Smart Belly Kid’s Daily

Smart Belly Kid’s Daily

Where to Buy: Click Here

Cost: $21.95/30 chewable tablets

Dosage/Type: 1 chewable tablet per day

Active Ingredient: L. acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, B. lactis, B. infantis

Why We Love Them: You may have noticed from the ingredients listed above what sets Smart Belly Kids Daily apart from other probiotics.  Unlike others on the market, Smart Belly contains 4 different probiotic strands specifically for children to help repopulate their microbiome and provide immune and digestive health benefits.

One of the strands included is B. infantis, which is a special probiotic found in breastfed infants, and all of their probiotics are strains found in the human gut, not soil-based organisms or yeast.

With a delicious strawberry taste, no need for refrigeration, and a shelf life of 18 months, these probiotics taste great and are incredibly easy to use.  Not only that, but they’re also 100% vegetarian, non-GMO, gluten free, and completely void of soy, yeast, eggs, wheat, nuts, and iron.  So no matter what dietary restrictions your kiddos might have, this is a safe bet!

Why Others Love Them: “I wanted to get my 2 children used to taking probiotics for their stomachs so I picked up 2 bottles of Smart Belly.  I chose this one because it’s chewable.  If my kids don’t like the taste of something, they won’t use it regardless of how important it is haha.  Luckily, they both loved the taste of this, and I like that they only need one a day.” – Sandy Johnson

“On the advice of my doctor, I got these probiotics after one of my kids was on antibiotics for an ear infection.  These seem to be working great and he likes the taste.” – Becca L.

#2- Intelligent Labs Kids Prebiotic & Probiotic

Intelligent Labs Kids Prebiotic & Probiotic

Where to Buy: Click Here

Cost: $22.99/60-day supply

Dosage/Type: 1 chewable daily

Active Ingredients: B. Lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus

Why We Love Them: Besides how affordable this probiotic is, Intelligent Labs Kids Prebiotic & Probiotic packs a minimum of 6 billion 6FU per tablet.  They also contain specially selected acid and bile-resistant probiotic strains, which help more probiotics actually make it to the digestive system without being killed off.

In addition to the probiotic side of things, this supplement also includes prebiotics, which are essential to ensure the probiotics successfully reproduce in the gut.  This is why Intelligent Labs claims this is the most powerful and effective probiotic on the market.

These probiotics are also non-GMO, and free of soy, wheat, dairy, eggs, and animal byproducts.  Finally, if for some reason you aren’t totally happy with this supplement, they offer a 100% money-back guarantee, too.

Why Others Love Them: “My toddler had frequent tummy troubles but instead of going straight to medication we decided to try these kids probiotics from Intelligent Labs.  3 weeks of 1 tablet a day solved all his problems and we are going to keep taking them to ensure his digestive system stays healthy.  I highly recommend this product, it works and my son loves the taste.” – Terry L.

“These are the bees knees! I’ve had my 4-yr-old daughter on probiotics for years, and my 8-month old has had his fair share, as well.  Well I thought I did enough research into probiotics but it turns out I was kind of throwing my money away because none of them had prebiotics, as well.  I also love this brand because I get more bang for my buck as they have 6 billion CFUs, whereas the other competing brands typically only have 5 My kids also love the taste.” – Janine

#3- Nature’s Way Primadophilus Kids Chews

Nature’s Way Primadophilus Kids Chews

Where to Buy: Click Here

Cost: $9.99/30 chews

Dosage/Type: 1 chew per day

Active Ingredient: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus acidophilus

Why We Love Them: Available in cherry and orange flavorings, Nature’s Way Primadophilus Kids Chews are perfect for children 2-12. This probiotic contains 3 billion CFUs, and a 3-strain formula designed specifically for children.

Their 3-part guarantee ensures consistent purity, potency, and intestinal delivery, meaning that the product remains active and potent until the expiration date, and that it only contains the strains of bacteria listed on the ingredients.

These probiotics do contain milk and soy, though, so may sure you’re aware of that before purchasing!

Why Others Love Them: “My 4 year old is completely satisfied with these ‘vitamins.’ I am also completely satisfied as a mother of a student in Pre-K: kids pass around coughs and colds all the time and my LO never gets sick.  I have to attribute part of her health to these proactive, probiotic supplements.” – Tricia

“Both kids take this probiotic daily. My daughter is always quick to mention it in the morning. I ran out of it and I was using another one (a powder) and they both seemed to get a slight cold and my daughter doesn’t ‘go’ as often.  Get these—so easy, just one pill a day for the both of them, and they are better.” -ktmb

#4- Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic Packets

Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic Packets

Where to Buy: Click Here

Cost: $17.28/30 packets

Dosage/Type: 1 packet daily

Active Ingredients: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

Why We Love Them: Intended for children 12 months and older, Culturelle Kids Daily Probiotic is the #1 Pediatrician Recommended probiotic for children.  These easy-to-take packets simply have to be added to food or drink, and are free of gluten, dairy, lactose, milk, added colors, preservatives, yeast, and soy.

This probiotic is sure to help reduce occasional tummy troubles for your little one, such as diarrhea and vomiting, by helping to restore the balance of good and not-so-good bacteria in your child’s digestive system!

Why Others Love Them: “It’s winter now and keeping my kids healthy is top priority.  It can be difficult to get my kids to take vitamins mostly because they don’t like the taste or texture. I can mix up a packet of the Culturelle kids in their favorite juice and they drink it right up. It keeps tummy aches away and we have far less digestive problems.” –Erin1979

“I asked a mommy group on social media for suggestions and Culturelle seemed to be the mommy favorite. I ordered it and couldn’t be happier. It’s very simple to use. I’m glad my fellow mommies recommended this product to me and I will be doing the same.” –Ksenia Saavedra

#5- FlorastorKids Daily Probiotic Supplement

FlorastorKids Daily Probiotic Supplement

Where to Buy: Click Here

Cost: $25.97/pack of 30

Dosage/Type: 1 packet/1-2 times daily

Active Ingredients: Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745

Why We Love Them: Kids as young as two months can take FlorastorKids Daily Probiotics.  You simply mix the packet into your child’s food or drink once or twice a day. We recommend putting it into a liquid as it is naturally sweetened with a tutti-frutti flavoring, which might be weird in certain foods.

This probiotic is also gluten-free, non-GMO, requires no refrigeration, and can be taken by children with a dairy intolerance. This probiotic also continues to work even when your child is on an antibiotic, which sets it apart from many other probiotics on the market, and has a 3-year shelf life.

Why Others Love Them: “Excellent product, excellent price, fast shipping.  My daughter has been on this every single day since she was 6 months old.  She stopped spitting up immediately and has not been sick since.  Before she spit up nearly everything she took. She is in daycare where we all know the germs are everywhere. I am convinced this probiotic has kept her healthy even in that environment.” – Jonathan Baggett

“I am a pediatric nurse, and after my little guy was just getting sickness after sickness for the past few months, I finally said enough was enough!! The first step to a healthy immune system is a healthy GI flora and this stuff does the trick. I recommend this to all of my patients parents!” – Danika Fettinger

Now that you know exactly what a probiotic is, why exactly your child needs to be taking one, the many benefits of probiotics, and the top 5 on the market right now, you’ll have the healthiest kids on the block!

Simply put your new knowledge to good work and start getting that good bacteria back into your kiddos’ diet.

Here’s to healthy tummies everywhere!


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About the Author

About the Author: Kate Watson is the Lead Researcher and Founder of Kate started this site after successfully using probiotics to treat some digestive issues she'd had since childhood. In her free time Kate loves nothing more than a good book (and a good glass of wine).