3 questions to learn if your baby's gut is healthy.
By Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
So many questions from all of you mamas about baby’s tummy, including, “Should I give my baby any supplements or a probiotic?” Today I’ve partnered with Evivo to answer that question, as well as let you know a little bit more about how baby’s gut health works! First and foremost, remember that human milk is perfectly tailored to the needs of human babies, and it changes as babies grow and their needs change. In addition to this, it’s packed with live disease-fighting cells and other important immune factors. It really is the perfect first food for babies. New research into the infant gut microbiome is giving us even more of a glimpse into why breastmilk is so important.
What is an infant microbiome? The term microbiome here refers to the microorganisms, mainly bacteria, that live in and on your baby’s body. Some of the bacteria in our microbiomes are bad and cause disease and inflammation, and some of those bacteria are good, and an essential part of a healthy immune and digestive system. As it turns out, human milk feeds both the baby AND the good bacteria in baby’s gut microbiome. (1)Would you believe that about 15% of mother’s milk is made up of an ingredient that babies can’t use? This ingredient is an amazing group of over 180 different specialized sugars, called Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs). The only organism that can utilize HMOs is an important kind of good bacteria that lives in the gut of babies, called B. infantis. HMOs help B. infantis to flourish and crowd out the bad bacteria that have been linked to a higher risk for conditions like colic, eczema, asthma, allergies, obesity, and diabetes. (2)
In the past, babies received B. infantis from their mothers during birth. However, there have been some shifts in the developed world during the past few generations that have led to a significant change in babies’ microbiomes. Cesarean sections, formula feeding, and antibiotic use have been important medical developments for many families, but they have contributed to a disruption in the transfer of important good bacteria, including B. infantis... Read more on Lactation Link
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