Baby Gut Health

Most of us have heard or used the term ‘gut’ but often we’re not using it the right way.

The condition of your gut is actually really important, particularly the collection of what’s known as ‘microbiota’, which refers to the trillions of microorganisms that make up your gastrointestinal system.

Needless to say, a healthy gut is important, but caring for it should start at birth, which is when baby’s microbiota first starts developing, initially nourished by breastmilk.

By the time bub is 3, their gut microbiota is fully developed.

The condition of baby’s microbiota not only impacts their gut health, but also their immune system, thanks to the unique role bacteria plays in supporting immune cells.

How can we help the development of good ‘gut’ health in babies?

While adults use diet, among other things, to look after their gut health, it’s a little different for newborns and young baby’s whose diet is not yet developed.
But there are some things you can do to help bub develop a healthy microbiome.

  • While not always possible, vaginal delivery facilitates the transfer of good bacteria from mother to her baby.
  • From birth, breastfeeding is the best way to nourish your baby’s gut bacteria. Try to maintain as much skin to skin contact as possible as this shares your skin microbiota with your baby.
  • Try to keep a balance on germ protection – don’t go overboard either way and your baby will maintain a healthy balance.
  • Avoiding perfumed products can also help support the balance of good and bad bacteria.

What if I’m not breastfeeding?

Switching from breast milk to formula can have an impact on your baby’s microbiota, so be sure to shop around until you’re happy you’ve found one that nourishes your baby’s developing gut. You might have to try a couple to start with.

You can also talk to a healthcare professional about probiotics if you’re concerned.

How can I be sure things are okay?

Your baby’s comfort levels are the biggest giveaway, if they’re unsettled and appear to be having tummy pains, there might be some issues.

But if bub is happy and settled, then chances are his gut is too.

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