Whether you are anxiously waiting for your baby to be born or you already have them snuggled in your arms, there is a high possibility you are going through all the information you can get your hands on about how you can bring them upright. The arrival of your baby indicates the beginning of an ecosystem of microscopic organisms.
Colonies of bacteria cover your baby at birth and keep growing and diversifying through breastfeeding, every kiss, snuggle and new encounter. Microbes are continually establishing new homes on your baby’s tiny body. It might be nervous to hear this, but it is good news. Every person has multiple microbiomes throughout their body, and they are responsible for keeping them healthy. The gut remains the primary source of microorganisms. They play a crucial role in supporting a healthy immune system, nutrient absorption, digestion and hormone regulation and can be responsible for happiness. It is also advisable to try probiotic supplements that you can buy from here to ensure microbiome balance. But, how can you support your baby’s developing microbiome? Take a look!
Before giving birth and even before getting pregnant, you should take the necessary steps to ensure your microbiome is healthy since it helps with metabolism, immune system and digestion. You should take steps to support your gut health before you get pregnant.
Once you are pregnant, you should take your gut health even more seriously. Keep in mind that your gut microbiome is part of your endocrine system. The drastic surges and hormone imbalances that take place during pregnancy influence the gut microbiome. This, in turn, affects hormone imbalance. Mothers should work towards balancing their gut microbiome to allow things to run more smoothly.
Studies have shown that caesarian section, limited breastfeeding and early antibiotic use interrupt microbiome development. It puts the baby at risk of several health conditions, including allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, type 1 diabetes, irritable bowel disease and obesity.
By the time you reach adulthood, you host between 500 and 1000 species of gut bacteria. Most of them are beneficial in fighting off infection-causing microbes, digesting food and metabolizing nutrients, and interacting with the central nervous system to influence the overall mood and cognitive health.
What happens within the first three months after delivery is crucial for the development of the baby. When the baby is born, it is essentially with no microbiome and has a very immature immune system, and the two are supposed to grow together. Since the first microbes colonize the baby’s gut, skin, and mouth, they help teach the immune system what is harmful and helpful.
If possible, mothers should opt for vaginal birth since it exposes the little one to a diverse array of mom’s bacteria when passing through the birth canal. Vaginal delivery allows babies to obtain more beneficial bacteria and less harmful ones. Studies have also shown that through vaginal birth, the mother’s bacteria can help protect the baby from developing asthma and food allergies.
While it is still too early for health providers’ recommendation, vaginal seeding can be an extra alternative where a caesarian section was unavoidable. It is a procedure where a newborn’s skin, mouth and nose are inoculated with fluids from the mother’s birth canal using a cotton swab. Inoculation helps establish a healthy microbiome in babies that had to be delivered through the caesarian section.
Your baby’s newly developing microbiome can benefit tremendously from skin-to-skin contact. Mothers should have at least 2hours of skin-to-skin contact with their baby immediately after birth. If you want the best for your baby, you should hold them against your bare skin. It’s a newborn cuddle session but also promotes passing beneficial bacteria from the mother’s skin. Immediate skin-to-skin interaction facilitates breastfeeding immediately after birth. It also increases oxytocin, which is the love hormone.
Irrespective of how the baby is delivered, their first diet determines the development of their microbiome. Breastfeeding is the perfect way to feed a newborn and should be done exclusively for the first six months. The mother should continue breastfeeding even after the introduction of complementary food.
Breast milk passes beneficial microbes from the mother to the baby. It also contains compounds such as human milk oligosaccharides—babies born through the caesarian section catch up faster if they are breastfed effectively.
If you want to support or improve your baby’s microbiome’s development, you must be very attentive during the initial stages. Before birth and immediately after, it represents a crucial moment for mothers to lay the right foundation for their baby’s health. Please do not do it alone. Consult with the right health provider to understand better what to do and what not to.