The jury's still out on probiotic-enhanced foods. More research is needed, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). "Though probiotics can't hurt, it's not clear that adding them to food actually boosts long-term health," says Frank Greer, M.D., the head of the nutrition committee at the AAP. Since these foods also tend to cost more, a switch may not be worth the expense -- especially not after age 1, when experts say the body's flora can only be changed temporarily. But talk to your doctor if you're considering probiotics to treat an illness; studies show they can reduce colic and diarrhea when kids are already sick.
Prebiotics are a better long-term bet, says Dr. Greer. They increase the probiotics already in the body, instead of introducing new bacteria that may or may not work. Plus, Beech-Nut's line costs the same as traditional versions. You can also try Horizon Organic's Baby Yogurt or Stonyfield Farm's YoBaby, which have both pre- and probiotics.