What To Do After A Course of Antibiotics With Your Kids

One of my daughters recently needed a course of antibiotics, so I’ve been knee-deep in information and research to help get her gut back on track. As many of you have kids, I figured you might want some of this information on what to do after a course of antibiotics.

As a Holistic Nutritionist, I had a lot of training around how harmful antibiotics are for your child’s microbiome (gut health), and yet there have been a few times where they’ve been either life-saving for my kids or my intuition said it was the right thing to do and so here we are, working to get things back on track. If you want to dive deeper into this topic and have extra resources on hand related to your kids health, I highly recommend Healthy Kids, Happy Kids by Dr. Elisa Song, an Integrative Pediatrician.

What Happens During a Course of Antibiotics

Even just one course of antibiotics for your child increases their risk of eczema, asthma, allergies, autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression, autoimmune conditions, diabetes and obesity. The reason for this is that antibiotics don’t differentiate between the problematic bacteria and the beneficial bacteria. While this information is scary (believe me, I get it!), the information below will empower you with what you can do.

What You Can do from A Food Perspective After a Course of Antibiotics

This advice shouldn’t actually just be after a course of antibiotics, but it’s worth focusing on EVEN more after antibiotics.

First up is fibre. Fibre is a prebiotic which essentially means that it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. It’s thought that North American kids only get half of the recommended daily fibre intake. Kids 1-3 should get 19g of fibre and kids 4-8 25g. You really have to be intentional about this to hit these numbers! Here are the high-fibre foods I find the easiest to get into my kids:

- Raspberries - 1 cup = 8g of fibre
- Chickapea pasta (or lentil pasta) - 1 serving = 8g of fibre
- Banana - 1 = 3g of fibre
- Avocado - ¼ of one = 4g+ of fibre
- Peas - ½ cup = 3.5g of fibre
- Oatmeal - ½ cup = 4g of fibre

As we talk about here, “Why Variety Is Key In Your Child’s Diet”, the more variety in your child’s diet the better as each different food feeds different bacteria. I know this is easier said than done with kids, but even switching up the type of fruit they’re eating is a great start!

Next up is fermented food and this is an example of how repetitive exposure in kids pays off. Sophie and Charlotte ate tons of sauerkraut until about 18 months. Sophie then took a 3.5 (yes, THREE and a HALF) year break from it. I kept serving it (and then finishing it myself) and she has finally started eating it again, for now haha. Yay!

Fermented foods, as you probably know, contain probiotics so literally rebuild the good bacteria in the gut.

Here are some powerful fermented foods to try:
- Yogurt
- Kefir
- Sauerkraut
- Kimchi (if they tolerate spice)

What You Can Do From a Supplement Perspective After A Course of Antibiotics

You can actually take probiotics BEFORE antibiotics. One study shared in Healthy Kids, Happy Kids, found that preschool/elementary-age kids who took a strain of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG for 7 months not only needed less rounds of antibiotics for up to 3 years later, but also were protected from some of the antibioitc-induced gut microbiome changes when they did need penicillin or amoxicillin.

If your child wasn’t doing this, not to fret. What can you do? Well, different kids will present with different symptoms from antibiotics meaning that you may want to reach out to a practitioner for specific advice. Note that up until 3 years of age, an infant probiotic should be used given the quickly changing landscape of a small child’s microbiome.

If there are any signs of yeast issues post-antibiotics, which can manifest in many ways, but yeast infections and eczema can be signs, the yeast-based probiotic saccharomyces boulardii can work wonders. Florastor is a great brand, and you can just empty a capsule into a bit of juice to give to your kids.

If you’re more concerned about general gut health after antibiotics, you want to look for strains of probiotics with Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Metagenics makes MetaKids probiotic that you can get here that is great.

I hope you find this information helpful on your kids gut health journey!

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