Pregnant women are becoming increasingly aware about how the health choices they make, influence the life of the child they are carrying. Several research studies have shown the long-lasting impact healthy living choices during pregnancy can make – one of these choices is probiotics.
The bacteria inside the mother’s body can influence the health of the unborn child in several ways:
- The mothers beneficial bacteria helps make vitamins and fatty acids essential for infant development
- Probiotics inhibit bad microbes in the vagina that may cause infections that can lead to early labour
- Probiotics promote the correct immune reactions in the mother especially in the identification of allergens and research has shown that this benefit can be passed onto the child, reducing the chance of childhood allergies
- At birth, the microbes living in the mothers cervix are introduced to the child as it passes through the birth canal
A newborn baby’s microflora population rapidly develops after birth. A vaginal birth from a healthy mother with a good supply of beneficial bacteria is the best way to kick-start your baby’s health. Breastfeeding is another source of excellent gut bacteria for babies and the breast milk also contains pre-biotics, a specialist carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria and helps them thrive in the baby and survive for longer. Good beneficial bacteria are known to colonise in almost all breast fed babies by the end of their first week of life.
Research has also shown that probiotics are slower to colonise in babies who are bottle fed or born via C-section. The concern here is that when beneficial bacteria are slower to colonise, there is an increased chance of bad bacteria getting in first and upsetting the digestive functioning, immune system and harmony of the infant.
If this situation occurs, there are several products available to help settle your baby’s digestion, boost their immune system and increase the overall harmony and happiness of your child. Several companies produce probiotics suitable for babies from birth, these are generally in powder form and kept in the fridge in your local health shop. The key to selecting a good quality probiotic is to look for the number of strains the product has. The more variety of bacteria inside the product the better it will be for your body and your child’s body. Next time you are visiting your naturopath ask about probiotics for babies. They will have a range of excellent quality probiotics that are generally stronger than what you can buy in a retail setting.
For more information on probiotics, breastfeeding, digestive function and more for mums and babies, please contact Kimberly Taylor, your Wellington Nutritionist & Fertility natural health specialist today.