A Powerful Probiotic Strain For Kids (And How To Give It To Them)

This probiotic for kids reduces respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, colic, and even tooth decay. Here's the details, where to get it, and how to use it.
Over 70% of our immune system resides in our gut (source). Additionally, this study shows that the gut microbiome can influence our brain chemistry and a wide range of behaviors from depression to anxiety to pain perception. So it makes sense that we want to optimize our gut flora to prevent sickness and feel healthy and happy.

That’s why I’m loving the research around this probiotic for kids that is getting a lot of attention. It’s called L. reuteri.

Research on this probiotic for kids

Researchers tested 336 healthy children ages 6 months to 3 years who were attending daycare centers in Mexico City. Half received a daily supplement of Lactobacillus reuteri, a beneficial gut bacterium naturally present in many foods and in most people; the other half got an identical placebo.

Less diarrhea, fewer respiratory infections

During the study, there were nearly one third fewer episodes of diarrhea in the probiotic group when compared to the placebo. Furthermore, the placebo group had more than double the respiratory tract infections compared with those taking L. reuteri. The differences persisted during the 12-week follow-up.

Infant colic

Lactobacillus reuteri has also proven to be an effective treatment against infant colic. Over a period of several weeks, infants given L. reuteri steadily decrease the amount of time each day spent crying by over 50%. In fact, it was much better in decreasing the infants’ crying time than the standard therapy of simethicone treatment. There was also a reduction in E. Coli and ammonia found in their stool.

Tooth decay

L. reuteri may also boost dental health; in studies it was the only strain that killed Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium responsible for tooth decay. 

So, we might all benefit from a daily dose of L. reuteri but especially babies and kids! It’s proven to be safe and effective.

Where to get & how to administer

Here are some L. reuteri supplements you can try:

  • Powder L. reuteri supplement that can be given to young children. You can mix with breast milk and administer with a syringe –> See product here
  • Tiny tablets that are easy to swallow (for children 3+) –> See product here
  • Chewable tablets for kids 2+ –> See product here (FYI: the company is associated with Gerber. I only share because it’s the only pure L. reuteri on market.)

What I’m doing. How about YOU?

I’ve ordered the L. reuteri powder and plan on giving to Paloma and Griffin a few times a week. I’m surprised that this strain wasn’t included in the other probiotic supplements I currently give them like this one. Keep in mind that we have ~ 100 trillion microorganisms in our intestines. This is 10X (!) the total number of human cells in the body. So, I don’t have a problem giving my kids ample probiotics.

Do you give your kids probiotics? Have you ever tried L. reuteri? Share with us in the comments below!


About Genevieve

After battling weight, digestive, and immune system issues for years, I know firsthand the harmful effects of conventional life. Through a long road of detox, I discovered the healing power of natural living. This transformation spread into every area of my life - physical, emotional & spiritual. Now I'm on a mission to help other mamas live happier, healthier lives.

Please note: Many links on this site, especially those to Amazon, are affiliate links. Should you click on these links and purchase something, the price is no different for you and I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting Mama Natural!

Disclaimer: The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


  1. Christa April 23 at 4:39 pm

    Can you give your baby too many probiotics? I think my 8 month old just poops all of the time. It’s not runny or smelly, just sometimes poops 4 or more times a day. Maybe he is getting too much? He is exclusively on breast milk, I take probiotics and drink kombuch regularly, but then if I also give to him every day is that too much? However, I’m afraid to stop as we are experimenting with solid foods and I don’t want him to get constipated either.

  2. Sammy April 4 at 1:03 am

    What quantity of culturelle probiotics can I give my 1 yr old

  3. Telina September 19 at 2:07 pm

    Does the first one you recommended come in an ice pack from Amazon?

  4. Kim September 3 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Mama Natural,
    I got this probiotic to give to my 3 week old daughter. Unfortunately she was born a c-section and I am unable to breast feed her. Long story short I am very disappointed by this and feel like she’s behind in gut health now! How often do you think I should give this to her? I gave it to her yesterday and I feel like it made her gassy… When you give it to your kids did you notice a difference in them? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!

  5. Meredith April 4 at 3:23 pm

    I ordered the Infant Formula probiotic you provided a link to for my daughter and was sad to see it contains maltodextrin! Bummer!

  6. Beth K. April 3 at 12:02 pm

    I know I’m echoing a few of the comments above, but I’m not interested in kefir specifically.

    I am wondering about ALL the kinds of foods in which L. reuteri is naturally present. Thank you! :)

  7. merle March 31 at 5:06 pm

    At what point would you start??

  8. Rachel March 31 at 3:31 pm

    I have been using Reuteri Probiotics for 2 weeks with my 4 month old daughter. She has been suffering from a persistent yeast diaper rash for 2 months (I think caused by antibiotics I got in labor for being Strep B positive). She needed probiotics to boost her immune system to beat this yeast rash and when I read reviews about reuteri helping eczema too, I was thrilled. It mixes easily with breast milk and I give it to her with a medicine dropper. Her rash and skin are doing so much better! I am so so so glad I found this probiotic.

  9. Michel March 24 at 8:02 am

    I went and checked out the first brand…the powder form and in its’ description it says that it contains the same chain of bacteria that is passed along from mom to child through breast milk…..if you are breastfeeding, why would you need this?

  10. Kam March 22 at 2:07 pm

    Mama Natural thank you for posting great information. I’m researching probiotics now for my LO; however, what is the product you give to Griffin when he has a cold/congestion? I remember you showing it on a video but I can’t remember which video. Thanks in advance

  11. Suzy March 22 at 11:04 am

    Our doctor recommend giving our boy probiotics for when he was taking antibiotics. We got the Garden of Life one for him. When we run out, I’ll have to look for the L. Reuteri. As always, thanks for e share!

  12. Ivy March 22 at 7:33 am

    My 3-week old developed colic. I was already giving her probiotics from birth (the Claire Labs brand). After a month of screaming 6-8 hours a day I discovered L. Reuteri. Gerber sells the bio Gaia brand in the US as gerber colic soothe. 4 hours after giving my child the 5 drops recommended, the colic stopped! She is 10 weeks now, and hardly ever cries.

  13. Nicky March 22 at 7:06 am

    Thanks for the tip! I just ordered some from Amazon for my boys. My question is, do you and your husband take this as well or is there a brand that you prefer? We currently all take the Garden of Life brand but it seems like we all get “used” to it.

    Thanks for all the amazing tips :)

  14. Katie March 21 at 4:31 pm

    I give my 5 month old Garden of Life RAW probiotics for kids…..it’s great! He loves getting to use the spoon (it’s powered) and it has helped his gas SOOOOO much. Not to mention he has now been in day care for about two months and hasn’t been sick…..buuuut…..I think I may let my milk take most of the credit on that one 😉

  15. Liz March 21 at 3:13 pm

    How much should my 12week old take?

  16. Kristen March 21 at 2:51 pm

    I am kind of hesitant to try on my 14 month old. I don’t understand the probiotics thing.

    • vicky January 26 at 9:50 pm

      your immune system is 70% your gut and it has good bacteria and bad bateria. When you take antibiotics it kills all bacteria the good stuff too. your body needs good bacteria to digest your food. On the wall of your intestines is something called villi it’s like little fingers that extract all the nutrients from the food to nourish your body. hope this helps a little.

      • vicky January 26 at 9:52 pm

        sometimes you experience gas, discomfort, bloating because you don’t have enough of the good guys aka probiotics to break down the protiens in the food.

  17. Shannon March 21 at 2:51 pm

    What about the brand BioGaia? I’ve heard good things about it.

    • sindy September 23 at 4:18 pm

      I read the study and Bio Gaia is the brand used in the study.

  18. Deanna March 21 at 2:14 pm

    How much would you give an infant? 1 teaspoon is what it calls for but is that too much?

  19. Ali March 21 at 2:10 pm

    I should give Aiden more probiotics! We don’t eat much dairy. I do, however, give him cod liver oil daily. I take a probiotic daily and still breastfeed too.

  20. Candace March 21 at 2:00 pm

    When you order that probiotic from Amazon, does it stay refrigerated? I have a problem buying non-refrigerated pro-biotics because I fear all the organisms are dead.

  21. Desiree March 21 at 1:31 pm

    I’m going to make your sore nipple remedy. Will this one be good to use for that?

  22. Alina March 21 at 1:30 pm

    Is there a cultured food that does contain it? Probiotics can get expensive.

  23. Kristin Evans March 21 at 1:24 pm

    I live in South Africa and this strain is in every probiotic I’ve looked at here. Its the most popular one. We do use it when we’re battling some illness, but after reading this, I may start giving it every day. There’s a chewable one here that my 4 year old and 3 year old eat happily. I crush it up for my 1 year and give it to him in his food.

  24. brenna March 21 at 12:43 pm

    I wonder if that is one of the many strains in home made kefir? We drink that all the time :)

    • Genevieve March 21 at 1:20 pm

      Kefir typically doesn’t. It contains the following bacterias/yeasts:

      Lactobacillus acidophilus
      Lactobacillus brevis
      Lactobacillus casei
      Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
      Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii
      Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis
      Lactobacillus helveticus
      Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
      Lactobacillus kefiri
      Lactobacillus paracasei subsp. paracasei
      Lactobacillus plantarum
      Lactobacillus rhamnosus
      Lactobacillus sake
      Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris
      Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
      Lactococcus lactis
      Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris
      Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. dextranicum
      Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. mesenteroides
      Pseudomonas fluorescens
      Pseudomonas putida
      Streptococcus thermophilus

      Candida humilis
      Kazachstania unispora
      Kazachstania exigua
      Kluyveromyces siamensis
      Kluyveromyces lactis
      Kluyveromyces marxianus
      Saccharomyces cerevisiae
      Saccharomyces martiniae
      Saccharomyces unisporus

        • Stephanie October 20 at 12:11 pm

          I spoke with a representative from Lifeway and actually the ProBugs does not contain reuteri. BUT many of their other products do contain the L. reuteri, such as the Lifeway Low Fat Kefir. I buy the strawberry Low Fat Kefir for my son and the ProBugs. :)

      • brenna March 22 at 1:55 am

        Thanks! I hear that the exact strains vary greatly between different populations of grains (lol) but on Dom’s kefir site, his list doesnt show reuteri either, darn. So I’d guess it’s not typically found, I wonder if one could add a little reuteri powder to the kefir as it fermented and if the grains would pick that strain up? Anyway, I was going to ask if there are any whole fermented/cultered foods that contain this strain? I’m not one for giving any type of processed supplement, and most of the pro-biotic supplements on the market don’t make it past the stomach anyway and are basically useless. We do believe in fermented cod liver oil though! (there’s something I’ve always wondered- it’s fermented, so does it contain probiotics, and if so, which one’s?) :)

        • Amanda June 21 at 7:52 am

          I would really like to know the answer to the above questions as well! :)

      • Beth Rochelle June 4 at 2:30 pm

        We have been giving my son Kefir probiotics mixed with his almond milk every morning since he turned one. We tried giving him the kids culturelle, but it seems to give him frequent, loose bowel movements and diaper rash. We continue to use Kefir. Any ideas on a better probiotic for him?

  25. Sommer March 21 at 12:39 pm

    I guess you may not eat dairy, I”m not sure, but is this type of bacteria present in kefir?

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