Best Baby Formula With Prebiotics & Probiotics: The Ultimate 2022 Guide

57 hours of research 6 minute read

" Consideration for eye and brain development should be a critical componet in a parent's baby-formula decision making process. "
baby formula probiotics

When it comes to the baby’s health, parents hate the word “added” in infant formulas. Synthetic additives in baby formulas are poison for infant health. In the case of prebiotics and probiotics, “addition” is a good sign as it usually helps to balance babies digestive system.

Prebiotics and probiotics are healthy buzzwords. These tiny bacteria are essential for building up your baby’s microbiome.

But what exactly are prebiotics and probiotics? Should you give them to your little one? Keep reading to explore what makes these “digestive superheroes” good for your baby’s health. Let's start by taking a quick look at the Infant “Microbiome.”

The Infant Microbiome

infant microbiome

The microbiome is a collective term for the bacterial population living in the intestine, especially the colon. The gut microbiota is actually good bacteria that play a critical role in regulating weight and fighting off infections, with many other functions being discovered every day.

For babies, the microbiome is “actively” growing. Some gut microbiomes start developing during pregnancy, while the rest grow during infancy. Surprisingly, whether the baby was born vaginally or via C-section determines the makeup of your baby’s microbiome.

While we cannot change how your baby was born, the baby’s microbiome is highly impacted by infant nutrition. The microbiome of a breastfed baby and the microbiome of a formula-fed baby are quite different from each other. It is because breast milk contains a lot of prebiotics and probiotics and most baby formulas don't, which are considered vital for the growth of a healthy infant microbiome [1].

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics, commonly known as “good” and “friendly” bacteria, are live microorganisms that populate our intestines. Probiotics keep the digestive tract healthy by pushing food through the gut. Probiotics also prevent the body from harmful bacteria that cause infection and inflammation [2].

According to a study, your gut is home to 10 times more bacteria than the cells you have in your entire body. These bacteria share a symbiotic relationship with our body, meaning that they keep our digestive tract healthy. The most common types of probiotics are strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria (Bifidobacterium Lactis).

Breastfed babies take 30% of their microbiome from natural probiotics naturally present in breast milk. Probiotics added in baby formulas replicate the benefits of probiotics present in breast milk. Organic baby formula with added probiotics means that your little one will be less irritated, less inflamed, and at no risk of getting diseases.

What Benefits Probiotics Offer To Infants?

Newborns have a sterile GI system, due to which they become vulnerable to weak immunity and gastrointestinal infections. Probiotics help infants build up good bacteria that modulate immunity, protect the GI tract, and prevent infections. When compared to breastfed infants, the gut flora resulting from breastfeeding is almost as potent and resilient as those found in the intestine of infants using baby formulas enriched with probiotic supplements.

The following are some incredible benefits of probiotics that can make you choose probiotic-enriched formula for your baby:

  • Studies suggest that probiotics help prevent infants from irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, colic, ulcerative colitis, and stomach inflammation [3].
  • Probiotics maintain a healthy gut by adding “more” bacteria to the gut.
  • Probiotics prevent or reduce the risk of diarrhea and atopic eczema in babies.
  • Probiotics control the growth of “undesirable” bacteria to prevent inflammation.
  • Probiotics have been studied to prevent a rare infection in infants, called necrotizing enterocolitis, that damages the infant’s GI tract [4].

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are less known but play a crucial role in the growth of probiotics. Prebiotics, also known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), are indigestible carbohydrate fibers that improve the growth of good bacteria (probiotics) in infants’ guts. The combination of prebiotics and probiotics maintains a healthy gut environment, which is good for your baby’s overall health [5]

Prebiotics are present in breast milk in surprisingly high amounts and develop the baby’s immune system, serve as food for probiotics, and prevent infections. Common types of probiotics include:

  • Fructo- oligosaccarides (FOS)
  • Galactooligosaccharides (GOS)

infant prebiotics

What Benefits Prebiotics Offer To Infants?

Prebiotics provide the following health benefits to infants:

  • Stimulate bowel movements and softer stools
  • Strengthen the immune system
  • Promote the growth of good gut bacteria
  • Useful in managing atopic eczema and allergic dermatitis
  • Reduce the risk of ulcerative colitis and diarrhea [6]

Are Probiotics & Prebiotics Safe For Infants?

Both breastfed and formula-fed babies can tolerate probiotics well. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), both probiotics and prebiotics have achieved “safe” status in promoting infants’ health.

Since most baby formulas with added probiotics are considered safe because they come from natural sources, it is still important to talk to your doctor before giving pre-and probiotic formulas to your baby.

Why Might An Infant Need Additional Probiotics & Prebiotics?

As a mother, you probably know how delicate your infant’s digestive system is. A highly sterile gastrointestinal system of infants makes the infancy period very sensitive and distressing. Synthetic additives in baby formulas can create dietary toxins in the baby’s body and wipe out good bacteria from the gut.

Since most baby formulas with added probiotics are considered safe because they come from natural sources, it is still important to talk to your doctor before giving pre-and probiotic formulas to your baby.

An imbalance between “friendly” and “bad” bacteria can cause several symptoms in babies, including:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Infant colic
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Eczema and acne
  • Asthma and allergies

Research suggests that prebiotics and probiotics can reduce the chances of many digestive diseases in infants and activate the immune system [7].

So the question is: what is the best formula that contains prebiotics and probiotics? One of the best organic formulas that contain probiotics and prebiotics is the HiPP organic baby formula. HiPP offers a wide array of formulas that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and other finest quality ingredients to provide all the nourishment to your baby.

All HiPP Formulas Contain Prebiotics & Probiotics

Let's take a look at the HiPP formulas one by one, their unique features, and their pros & cons.

1. HiPP Dutch Formula Best Seller

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

No starch

HiPP's most popular formula

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hipp dutch formula

HiPP Dutch formula stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 contain prebiotics called galacto-oligosaccharides and probiotics called L. fermentum hereditum® derived from organic lactic acid cultures and lactose similar to those found in breast milk. Giving HiPP dutch formula means giving your baby a strong immunity and healthy gut microbiome. In addition, this infant food also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are essential for your baby’s eyes, brain, and nervous system.

  • Organic, Netherlands Origin

  • No GMOs and artificial additives

  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics

  • Contains vitamin K and B6

  • No soy, wheat, starch, or gluten

  • No Maltodextrin

  • No Strach

  • Added DHA & ALA
  • Contains palm oil

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar or corn syrup

No soy

HiPP's original formula

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HiPP German Combiotic Formula

HiPP German formula comes in easy-to-digest five stages: stage PRE, stage 1, stage 2, stage 2 (starch-free), and stage 3, and all of them are important for your baby to grow and thrive. This organic formula contains prebiotics as galacto-oligosaccharides and probiotics as organic lactic acid cultures that ease digestion, maintain healthy gut health, and strengthen immunity.

  • Organic, German Origin
  • No GMOs and artificial additives
  • Contains prebiotics and probiotics
  • Contains vitamin K and B6
  • No soy, wheat, starch, or gluten
  • No Maltodextrin
  • Added DHA & ALA
  • Contains palm oil
  • Expensive for some parents
  • Added Strach, which is unwanted additive for some parents

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Hydrolyzed milk proteins reduce allergic reactions

Popular for constipated babies

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HiPP Hypoallergenic Formula

HiPP HA formula is ideal for babies with sensitivity to other formulas and digestion issues. The formula comes in three stages: stage PRE, stage 1, and stage 2. The formula contains prebiotics in the form of GOS fibers and probiotics as organic lactic acid cultures as those found in breast milk. Both pre and probiotics promote easy digestion and minimize the risk of allergic reaction.

  • Hypoallergenic formula made with hydrolyzed proteins for easier digestion.
  • Contain the highest levels of DHA and ARA.
  • No GMOs
  • Pre and probiotics to ease digestion and minimize allergies.
  • No maltodextrin
  • Hydrolized proteins are not organic
  • Contains palm oil

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Reduced lactose with hydrolyzed milk protein

Easy to digest formula for sensitive babies

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HiPP Comfort Formula

This gentle formula features both prebiotics and probiotics in the form of GOS fibers and organic lactic acid cultures, respectively. Both pre and probiotics promote softer stools, reduce issues like gas, colic, or bloating, strengthen immunity, and promote digestive health.

  • Reduced lactose content for lactose sensitivity
  • Hydrolized protein for easier digestion
  • Ideal for babies with constipation, gas, or colic.
  • No GMOs,
  • Pre and probiotics to improve digestive health
  • DHA and ARA
  • Hydrolized proteins are not organic
  • Contains palm oil
  • Contains starch and maltodextrin

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Organic locust bean gum makes formula creamier

Popular for babies that spit-up

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HiPP Anti-Reflux Formula

This formula contains prebiotics in the form of GOS fibers derived from lactose and probiotics as organic lactic acid cultures as those found in breast milk. These two ingredients are ideal for strengthening your baby’s immunity and the gut microbiome.

  • Organic Locust Bean Gum makes this creamier and easier for babies with reflux / spit up
  • Contains the highest levels of vitamin K.
  • No GMOs, or corn syrup
  • No maltodextrin
  • No soy, wheat, or gluten
  • Pre and probiotics to restore digestion
  • Hydrolized proteins are not organic
  • Contains palm oil
  • Contain maltodextrin

Contains Probiotics & Prebiotics

No sugar, no corn syrup, no soy

Can be used alongside solid foods

Continued nutrition for toddlers

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HiPP Kindermilch Formula

HiPP Kindermilch formula comes in two stages: stage 1+, and stage 2+. Prebiotics in the form of GOS fibers derived from lactose and probiotics as organic lactic acid cultures promote digestive health, ease digestion, and strengthen immunity.

  • Pre and probiotics to improve digestive health.
  • Highest levels of vitamins and essential nutrients.
  • Designed for toddlers.
  • No DHA

The Final Verdict: Which Formula Is Best for Your Little One?

When shopping for infant formula, health cautious moms wants to see prebiotics and probiotics in the ingredients list. Introducing probiotics and their prebiotic friends in baby formulas can help the microbiome grow in a way similar to breast milk. HiPP baby formulas are fortified with prebiotics and probiotics that replicate breast milk to help your baby grow and thrive. Always consult your pediatricians before starting any baby formula for your little one.

3 Most Popular Formulas With Prebiotics & Probiotics

  1. HiPP Combiotic Dutch Formula
  2. HiPP Combiotic German Formula
  3. HiPP Comfort Formula

References:

  • Versalovic J. The Human Microbiome and Probiotics: Implications for Pediatrics. Ann Nutr Metab 2013;63(suppl 2):42–52.https://doi.org/10.1159/000354899.
  • Indrio F, Neu J. The intestinal microbiome of infants and the use of probiotics. Curr Opin Pediatr 2011;23:145–50. https://doi.org/10.1097/MOP.0b013e3283444ccb.
  • Vandenplas Y, Savino F. Probiotics and Prebiotics in Pediatrics: What Is New? Nutr 2019;11 https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020431.
  • Aceti A, Gori D, Barone G, Callegari ML, Di Mauro A, Fantini MP, et al. Probiotics for prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants: systematic review and meta-analysis. Ital J Pediatr 2015;41:89 https://doi.org/10.1186/s13052-015-0199-2.
  • Parracho H, McCartney AL, Gibson GR. Probiotics and prebiotics in infant nutrition. Proc Nutr Soc 2007;66:405–11 https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665107005678.
  • Miqdady M, Al Mistarihi J, Azaz A, Rawat D. Prebiotics in the Infant Microbiome: The Past, Present, and Future. Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr 2020;23:1–14https://doi.org/10.5223/pghn.2020.23.1.1.
  • Bertelsen RJ, Jensen ET, Ringel-Kulka T. Use of probiotics and prebiotics in infant feeding. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol 2016;30:39–48 https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpg.2016.01.001.
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