Chelsea Green Publishing

Your Baby's Microbiome

Pages:208 pages
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586955
Pub. Date February 20, 2017

Your Baby's Microbiome

The Critical Role of Vaginal Birth and Breastfeeding for Lifelong Health

Health & Wellness

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
February 20, 2017

$19.95 $14.96

From the Directors of the Award-Winning Documentary Microbirth

At least two amazing events happen during childbirth.

There’s the obvious main event, which is the emergence of a new human into the world. But there’s another event taking place simultaneously, a crucial event that is not visible to the naked eye, an event that could determine the lifelong health of the baby. This is the seeding of the baby’s microbiome, the community of “good” bacteria that we carry with us throughout our lives.

The seeding of the microbiome, along with breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, kick-starts the baby’s immune system and helps protect the infant from disease across a lifetime. Researchers are discovering, however, that interventions such as the use of synthetic oxytocin, antibiotics, C-sections, and formula feeding interfere with, or bypass completely, the microbial transfer from mother to baby. These bacteria are vital for human health, and science has linked an imbalance in the human microbiome with multiple chronic diseases.

Drawing on the extensive research they carried out for their documentary film Microbirth, authors Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford reveal a fascinating new view of birth and how microscopic happenings can have lifelong consequences, for ourselves, our children—and our species as a whole.


Publishers Weekly-

Filmmaker couple Harman and Wakeford, who made the documentary Microbirth, share important information about infant health and the microbiome that they’ve learned from the “A-team of experts” interviewed for their movie. Each chapter title takes the form of a question, such as “What is the Human Microbiome?” and “What Do Bacteria Have to Do with Birth?” The human microbiome, the authors explain in the introduction, consists of the trillions of microorganisms (mostly bacteria) that live on and in the body, and its most critical period of formation is around childbirth. Chapter one further addresses where these bacteria reside and what they do, as well as their relationship with antibiotics. Subsequent chapters reveal that during vaginal birth, the baby is exposed to many beneficial microbes, that formula lacks key microbe-related ingredients in breast milk, and that babies born via C-section are often not exposed to the mother’s vaginal or intestinal microbes. Harman and Wakeford also delve into epigenetics, bacteria’s role in the immune system, and options for mothers who can’t breastfeed or have vaginal deliveries. This is a no-frills, easily comprehensible book that conveys the essentials of Harman and Wakeford’s research into childbirth.

“You thought you were human. But you’re actually a multi-species ecosystem. We all cohabitate with bacteria, fungi, protists, and even microscopic animals, and scientists are discovering that the way we treat the microbial companions that live in us and on us has a lasting impact on our health. Exploring what we know about the role symbionts play in childbirth and the early days of a baby’s life, Your Baby’s Microbiome is a fascinating read for anyone interested in what it means to be human.”--Jennifer Margulis, PhD, award-winning journalist; author of Your Baby, Your Way; coauthor, with Paul Thomas, MD, of the bestselling The Vaccine-Friendly Plan

“For expectant families, this is the must-read book of this generation. As an advocate for parents, focusing on how the maternal environment changes the long-term health outcomes for the baby, this book is adding a critical piece to the puzzle of health for our children. The ‘seeding and feeding’ of a child’s microbiome could potentially be one of the most important lessons for parents. This timely information should be included as part of every childbirth education and newborn care class. Your Baby’s Microbiome will help parents truly make informed decisions about how and where they give birth and how they feed and care for their baby. It is a must for every woman giving birth."--Laurel Wilson, IBCLC, CLE, CLD, CCCE, coauthor of The Attachment Pregnancy

“A real life sci-fi with implications that touch each one of us and all future generations. My eyes opened wide at Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford’s documentary MicroBirth, and now their book invites you deeper into understanding the problem, the science, and the solutions calling us into action.

Your Baby’s Microbiome is essential reading for every expectant parent, grandparent, and anyone who works with or cares about childbirth, and the health and well-being of the next generations. It opens the door to what our intuition already knows—that disturbing nature’s well-orchestrated design in childbirth has short- and long-range health risks. You can make a difference and turn this potential health disaster around. Knowledge is power, and Toni and Alex have put the power into your hands.

“It’s time to listen to Mother Nature and question whether we’ve strayed too far from our instincts and nature. In an effort to improve maternity care, we have tipped the scales too far and need to find balance again. The stakes are too high to ignore the science, wisdom, and intuition that Your Baby’s Microbiome shows us. Nature has a plan and disturbing it with overuse of surgery should be done with the greatest caution. When Cesarean section is needed, it must include care to seed a baby’s microbiome.

“This book will give you the tools and insights to make sure you are prepared to provide a healthy microbiome in every situation to every baby. Written with great care and compassion, there is no need to feel guilty for what we have done in the past, but now that we know more, it’s time to change!

Your Baby’s Microbiome is a unique blend of text and film clips that takes you on a journey into the future of health, understanding that the day and way we are born does make a difference! You deserve to prepare to give birth to your baby with knowledge, power, and understanding of how birth choices and the care you receive matter on your baby’s short- and long-term health and well-being. I recommend Your Baby’s Microbiome to all who care about our future health.”--Debra Pascali-Bonaro, founder and president, Pain to Power; director of the award-winning documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret; cowriter of Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying, and Pleasurable Birth Experience

“Only in recent years has the ‘microbiome’ of the baby come to the attention of the obstetric and birthing communities. I believe that midwives and birth activists have come to be much more aware of its importance than doctors themselves because to acknowledge the essential need for the baby’s body to be colonized with its mother’s microflora rather than that of strangers entails making all efforts possible to avoid Cesarean section and to facilitate normal vaginal birth, immediate skin-to-skin contact of mother and newborn, and breastfeeding. While obstetricians have certainly come in recent decades to understand the importance of breastfeeding, they continue to perform Cesareans on 32 percent of American birthing women and appear to be making no efforts to reduce that extremely high rate. I believe that if parents come to understand the findings presented in this excellent and informative book, they themselves will make greater efforts to achieve vaginal birth and to insist on the mother’s hands to be the first to touch the newborn in order to bring him or her straight to the breast—or, even better, to allow the baby the chance to inch its own way up the mother’s body, thereby empowering itself at the very beginning of life and colonizing with her microflora all the way. I hope this extremely useful and informative book will be widely distributed and widely read, and that its findings will change birthing practice in this country and around the world!”--Robbie Davis-Floyd PhD, senior research fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas Austin; author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage; lead editor of Birth Models That Work

“Our expanding understanding of the roles of the microbiome and epigenetics in health and disease is profoundly changing maternity care and public health for the better. The conversational style and clear explanations in Your Baby’s Microbiome by some of the world’s leading scientists and maternity care providers make this new and complex information accessible and inspiring to the general public. We now know ways to support the role of healthy microbes in our bodies and in our environment to improve our lifelong health and well-being.”--Penny Simkin, author, doula, and birth educator

“Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford shine the brightest of spotlights on the importance of birth and early infancy. Your Baby’s Microbiome is compelling and informative—a must read for parents-to-be.”--Dr. Rodney Dietert, professor of immunotoxicology, Cornell University; author of The Human Superorganism

“How we give birth and feed our babies should be choices, not something for which we should have to fight for support. A huge ‘thank you’ to Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford for adding to a critical perspective on the individual and global impacts of some of those choices, in hopes that this conversation will keep going—pushing our maternity care systems to support physiological processes, as well as medicalized ones.”--Cristen Pascucci, founder, Birth Monopoly; cocreator, Exposing the Silence Project; vice president, Improving Birth (2012–2016)


Toni Harman

Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford are professional filmmakers who met at the London Film School more than twenty years ago. Since then, they’ve been making films together.

Over recent years, they have made four feature-length films that have been distributed internationally, including Credo (2008, released as The Devil’s Curse by Lionsgate in the United States), a psychological thriller; Doula! (2010); and Freedom for Birth (2012), a documentary about human rights in childbirth.

Their most recent film, Microbirth (2014)—about how birth impacts a baby’s lifelong health—won the Grand Prix Award at the Life Sciences Film Festival in Prague.


Alex Wakeford

Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford are professional filmmakers who met at the London Film School more than twenty years ago. Since then, they’ve been making films together.

Over recent years, they have made four feature-length films that have been distributed internationally, including Credo (2008, released as The Devil’s Curse by Lionsgate in the United States), a psychological thriller; Doula! (2010); and Freedom for Birth (2012), a documentary about human rights in childbirth.

Their most recent film, Microbirth (2014)—about how birth impacts a baby’s lifelong health—won the Grand Prix Award at the Life Sciences Film Festival in Prague.


October 12, 2017

Toni Harman at the BirthWorks International Conference

Birthworks International Conference, Virginia Beach, VA | Toni Harman
Toni will teach a workshop focused on the infant microbiome at the BirthWorks international conference on October 12-15.

See all Events by this Author


MICROBIRTH - Official Trailer

The 60 minute award-winning documentary MICROBIRTH explores the origins of the microbiome, the trillions of bacteria that live on and in us that could be critical for human health.

LSFF 2014 interview: Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford

The LSFF 2014 Grand Prix with the financial prize of EUR 3000 goes to the British film Microbirth directed by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford. The film outlines the world of microorganisms present in the human body that constitute its microbiome. During childbirth these bacteria colonise the body of the newborn baby and activate its immune system. The latest research shows that natural birth is necessary for the organism to be colonised by the “right” set of microorganisms and that interventions, such as inducing labour or Caesarean section, disrupt this process, which can have a negative effect for the whole development and health of the individual.

The Microbiome Effect - Introduction

The Microbiome Effect - Introduction


The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

By Mickey Trescott

Autoimmune diseases are now epidemic, with modern science offering those who are diagnosed limited solutions. Given this, many people suffering from these conditions have searched for alternatives using nutrition and lifestyle changes. In The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, Mickey Trescott provides a resource for those looking to embark on the Autoimmune Protocol--a version of an ancestral diet that is focused both on removing potential food triggers as well as healing the gut. Research shows there is a clear connection between diet and autoimmune disease, and many, including the author, have used these principles to heal their bodies from these debilitating conditions and their accompanying symptoms. With the information and recipes in this book, you can embark on this process for yourself--without suffering through bland and tasteless "allergen-free" meals. Instead, with all of the incredible food you will be enjoying, you may forget that you are achieving better wellness!

In the first section of the book, you will learn all about the Autoimmune Protocol--what it is, why it works, and which foods you should eat and avoid while on the elimination diet. Instructions are given on how to clear your pantry of questionable ingredients and replace them with healing, nutrient-dense whole foods. Also included are sections on food quality, a shopping guide, tips and tricks to make the protocol go more smoothly, as well as ideas for batch-cooking and breakfast. Mickey provides two, 4-week meal plans, each of them corresponding with recipes from the book and featuring detailed shopping lists. Armed with this information, anyone can integrate the Autoimmune Protocol in to their routine!

In addition to the introductory material, The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook includes 112 delicious recipes suitable for anyone on the strictest phase of the Autoimmune Protocol--no grains, beans, dairy, eggs, nuts, seeds, or nightshades. Although this is quite the list of exclusions, Mickey offers unique, flavorful, and delicious meals suitable for a variety of occasions and preferences. You will find simple recipes that anyone can make for a weeknight dinner, as well as more elaborate preparations for those who want to enjoy with company or for a special occasion. Full-page photos for every recipe show you what to expect and inspire you to create beautiful meals of your own.

With The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook as your guide, you'll be inspired to take your health into your own hands--finding better health in the face of autoimmunity, while thoroughly enjoying every last bite!

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook

Mickey Trescott

Hardcover $34.95

The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook

The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook

By Laura Kelly and Helen Bryman Kelly

A Medicine Through Food™ Guide

Drugs that claim to prevent or redress bone loss can actually cause bones to crumble and break. Calcium supplements, fortified processed food, and pasteurized dairy don't work because the calcium in them doesn't reach our bones. It’s a grim picture, but The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook can help. Coauthors Dr. Laura Kelly and Helen Bryman Kelly, daughter and mother, have a firm grasp on the disciplines concerned with bone health, including nutrient absorption and bone metabolism. They offer readers a natural, effective, and safe approach to conserving bone mass and building healthy bones by creating a personalized nutrition plan that includes eating the right foods in the right combinations.

The authors’ quest for a natural, effective, safe way to prevent and treat bone loss began after 20 years of frustration, during which Helen tried supplements and several popular dietary approaches to arrest bone loss, only to see her bones continue to deteriorate year by year. Drawing on her knowledge of metabolic science and a rigorous examination of current research, Laura created a unique diet-based approach to bone health that allowed Helen’s body to absorb the nutrients that are naturally present in whole foods. Helen has been following her personal nutrition plan for four years and has stopped her bone loss completely—without taking any pharmaceuticals.

Part One of the book begins with a primer on bone metabolism, including the roles of individual vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that can help build strong bones. Building on this knowledge and more, the authors provide a framework and worksheets so readers can use the recipes and work with their doctors to create their personal nutrition plan for skeletal health.

The book includes more than 100 bone-health recipes ranging from sauces and small plates to soups, salads, and main dishes, drinks and desserts. The authors also explain how to make staple ingredients such as ghee and bone health vinegar and how to grow shiitake mushrooms—an important source of vitamin D. Readers can count on their personal nutrition plans and the Kellys’ recipes to provide food that helps calcium reach, and potentially strengthen, their bones.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Healthy Bones Nutrition Plan and Cookbook

Laura Kelly, Helen Bryman Kelly, Sidney MacDonald Baker

Paperback $24.95

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

By Jeff Carpenter and Melanie Carpenter

A new approach to growing local medicine, including information on geo-authenticity, wildcrafting, and developing a good business plan

Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal Western herbs.

Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products.

Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including:

• Size and scale considerations;

• Layout and design of the farm and facilities;

• Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools;

• Field and bed prep;

• Plant propagation;

• Weed control, and pests and diseases;

• Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals;

• Postharvest processing; and,

• Value-added products and marketing.

The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology.Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically.

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer

Jeff Carpenter, Melanie Carpenter, Rosemary Gladstar

Paperback $39.95

Radiation Nation

Radiation Nation

By Daniel T. DeBaun and Ryan P. Debaun

Your Complete Guide to EMF Radiation Safety & Protection

You eat organic and non-GMO food. You only drink purified water. You take care of yourself and your family's health. But could there be a silent, invisible danger causing potential harm to you and your loved ones? There could. It’s called electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation and it’s one of fastest growing health issues facing our society. EMF radiation produced by modern technology such as cell phones, tablets, laptops, Wi-Fi, and smart meters is an emerging health threat, and we are all guinea pigs in a giant experiment with many unknown consequences.

But Aren't These Technologies Regulated and Safe?

Surely the government and other regulatory agencies make sure these technologies are completely safe before they are approved for widespread use, right? Think again. Ninety-five percent of American adults use cell phones regularly. Most households have Wi-Fi. And even schools are increasingly becoming dependent on wireless devices. And yet none of these technologies have been proven safe to humans for long-term exposure.

In fact, science confirms that the EMF emitted from common electronic devices can cause definite biological changes in the body, and mounting research has already shown it can lead to a long list of health concerns--some of which can be pretty serious.

The explosive use of mobile devices only occurred over the last twenty years, yet we have only scratched the surface of the technology yet to come. Children born today will be exposed to much higher doses of EMF radiation than those born just ten years ago. What are the ramifications and what can we do now to minimize the fallout?

Is There a Solution?

Fortunately, there are simple and effective steps you can take to minimize the risks. Education is key. With a foreword by Bulletproof's Dave Asprey, Radiation Nation is packed with the essential information you need to make smart choices to stay safe when it comes to technology.

In Radiation Nation, you will learn:

» What EMF radiation is and how it affects the body biologically

» The major health risks including fertility issues for both men and women, DNA damage, cell mutation, cancer and other serious health risks

» The latest scientific studies broken down by disease or condition

» How EMF radiation specifically affects children and those suffering with electromagnetic hypersensitivity

» Why the current safety standards for EMF are insufficient and need to be rewritten

» The EMF sources of greatest concern

» The most practical precautions you can take for yourself and your loved ones

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Radiation Nation

Daniel T. DeBaun, Ryan P. Debaun, Dave Asprey

Paperback $17.50