The 10 Steps that Establish Your Baby’s Microbiome

baby-feet-1527456_1280

Research is emerging almost daily on the role of the microbiome in human health. But how do we acquire this mysterious community of microbes and more importantly how do we make sure the good bacteria outnumber the bad?

According to a new book by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Your Baby’s Microbiome, it all starts at birth during a microbial transfer process from mother to baby. Here is a breakdown of the 10-step process known as the “seeding and feeding” of your child’s microbiome:

  1. During pregnancy, the baby develops in the womb in a near-sterile environment.
  2. Late in pregnancy, the balance of the mother’s vaginal microbiome shifts—there’s a higher proportion of certain types of bacteria, such as lactobacilli, which are related to milk.
  3. During vaginal birth, as soon as the waters break the baby becomes exposed to a sudden influx of vaginal microbes in the birth canal.
  4. Vaginal microbes, including the high proportions of lactobacilli, coat the baby’s skin and enter the eyes, ears, nose, vagina (if she’s a girl), and mouth. The baby swallows some of the microbes, too.
  5. Some of the bacteria arrive in the baby’s gut.
  6. The baby is born through the vagina. Immediately, he or she acquires more microbes, perhaps some from the mother’s fecal matter, some from the air, and some from being touched—all these join the “colonization party” in the skin, oral, respiratory, and gut microbiomes. This is the main seeding event for the baby’s gut microbiome.
  7. The baby starts to breastfeed. The lactobacilli bacteria in the baby’s mouth mix with breast milk and start to break down the lactose in the milk to produce energy. The baby swallows breast milk and, with it, some more microbes, including more lactic acid bacteria.
  8. In the baby’s gut, the bacteria are starting to grow hungry.
  9. The food arrives! Breast milk provides nutrition and lactose (sugars) to feed the hungry baby, and special oligosaccharide (prebiotic sugars) that feed the hungry bacteria. This is the feeding part of the process.
  10. With energy from the sugars, the lactobacilli and, in particular, the bifidobacteria (from the fecal matter and breast milk) multiply, quickly colonizing the baby’s gut microbiome and preventing other harmful bacteria from taking hold. These early arrivals in the gut also start training the infant immune system. A perfect process!
Share This:

Read The Book

Your Baby's Microbiome

The Critical Role of Vaginal Birth and Breastfeeding for Lifelong Health

$19.95

Recent Articles

Agri-Culture: Source of a Healthy Culture, Society and Mother Earth

In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy’s stunning observations of interaction between nature and society is nothing short of eye opening. “By arrogantly having placed ourselves outside the functional operating parameters of Earth’s systems, we now see nature and the Earth as separate from us and so just available for use – while all the time…

Read More

Homemade Bone Broth – A Healthy Diet Staple

Have you had your steaming hot bowl of bone broth today? If not, you might want to consider adding this nutrient-rich, immune system boosting elixir into your daily diet. Providing a healthy source of calcium, potassium, and protein, bone broth is the perfect dietary addition for anyone looking to improve their digestive health. And with…

Read More
Bioregulatory Medicine

Modern Disease and the Rise of the Allopathic Model

Chronic and degenerative illnesses are largely new to mankind. In fact, diseases such as cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis have been termed modern or man-made diseases because they were relatively rare until three hundred years or so ago. But if these diseases are relatively new, why are so many people plagued with chronic illness?…

Read More

Conscious Eating: What Our Bodies Are Trying to Tell Us

When our stomachs growl, we eat. When we feel like we’re about to burst, we stop eating. Our bodies have the incredible ability to recognize and adjust to changes in the environment and within itself, and sometimes knows what’s best for us without us even realizing. The following is an excerpt from Nourishment by Fred…

Read More

8 Must-Read Books for Your 2019 Reading List

Are you new to the Chelsea Green community and aren’t sure which book to read first? Or maybe you’re a long-time fan and want to continue your binge-reading but need some fresh ideas. Regardless of how you got here, we can help! From the enlightening and thought-provoking to the quirky and fun, we, the Chelsea…

Read More