There are lots of ways that babies can be exposed to good bacteria, so if you are not able to fit some of the criteria don’t worry.
The mother’s own gut flora is important.
It used to be thought that babies’ guts were sterile when they are born, but some research suggests that gut bacteria can be passed across the placenta and amniotic fluid. This suggests that mums-to-be and breast feeding mothers can affect their baby’s gut flora by their own diet and lifestyle. When pregnant eat plenty fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, lean meat and fish. Avoid a sugary, processed, fried, take-away diet.
Type of delivery.
With a normal birth, a baby picks up bacteria to stimulate good colonisation on their way into the world. Babies born by caesarean can take longer to build up good microbiome. Sometimes caesarean babies are “seeded” with a swab from the mother’s vagina and flora can be passed onto baby this way. Skin to skin contact at birth with parents is also an important way to transfer good bugs.
The type of milk a baby is fed affects the type and speed of bacteria established in the gut. Breast milk contains prebiotics that feeds the good bacteria and helps good colonisation. Bottle fed babies tend to take longer to establish this.
Weaning and lifestyle
Babies who spend time with other children, pets and the outside environment and are weaned on vegetables tend to have stronger immune systems, so it is important to allow babies to live a clean but not sterile existence for their future health.
If you are pregnant or have just had a baby, a Nutritional Therapist can help advise on foods you should eat and baby weaning, and other ways to give your baby the best start with a stronger immune system that will benefit their health throughout out their life.
 Neu, J., & Rushing, J. (2011). Cesarean versus Vaginal Delivery: Long term infant outcomes and the Hygiene Hypothesis. Clinics in Perinatology, 38(2), 321–331. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.clp.2011.03.008
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