Adults might be familiar with probiotics and the positive effects they have on supporting a balance of good bacteria in the gut, but they may not realize that gut health and its long-term health benefits begins at birth. In fact, scientists view the first two-to-three years of life as a time of critical development for babies’ gut health that sets the stage for benefits that may last a lifetime. “Maintaining a balance of good bacteria in the microbiome is an important factor in influencing a healthy immune and nervous system, which all ladders up to overall gut health,” says Whitney Casares, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P. and creator of Modern Mommy Doc. “To help support their babies in the crucial beginning life stages, parents should learn about the core promising areas to support healthy microbiome development, including early feeding choices, inclusion of probiotics and prebiotics in the diet, as well as healthy solid food introduction.”To support babies’ gut health, parents can make smart feeding choices, such as breastfeeding when possible. Breastfeeding offers a range of benefits, including the transfer of natural probiotics to promote baby’s beneficial bacteria. However, exclusive breastfeeding might not always be feasible. For parents who are supplementing with infant formula or are exclusively formula-feeding, Gerber Good Start GentlePro Powder Infant Formula is a solution that provides baby with probiotics — similar to the bifidobacteria found in breastmilk — to help promote a balance of good bacteria in the microbiome. Some babies may benefit from probiotics in their diet, whether or not they are breastfeeding. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help support digestive health, and babies delivered by Cesarean section may be deficient in good bacteria because they were not exposed to their mother’s bacteria through the birth canal. Parents should consider including probiotic B. lactis in their little one’s diet to help promote a balance of good bacteria in babies born by C-section. Gerber Good Start Gentle Everyday Probiotic Drops with B. lactis is a great choice for parents breastfeeding their little ones. For formula-fed babies, Gerber offers Gerber Good Start GentlePro Powder Infant Formula with B. lactis to help promote a balanced microbiota in babies born by C-section. In addition, prebiotics are natural substances that feed and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Breastmilk contains prebiotics, such as Human Milk Oligosaccarides (HMO), as do the Gerber Good Start GentlePro and SoothePro Powder Infant Formulas. As children grow, introducing a variety of healthy foods, including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, will continue to promote the development of a healthy digestive system.