August 04, 2014
It’s no secret that breastfeeding provides a whole range of benefits for both the baby and mom. In honor of National Breastfeeding Month this month, we explore the link between breastfeeding and a baby’s digestive health and development. Through scientific research, we now understand that breastfeeding can have a tremendously positive impact on a baby’s digestive system – particularly if the mother is aware of how her diet and supplements affect the breast milk.
In the early stages of life, babies are heavily dependent on their mother to populate their digestive system with beneficial bacteria to build healthy gut flora. The very first dose actually comes from the birth canal during delivery. After that breastfeeding takes over to keep the baby’s digestive tract healthy.
Just like during birth, the bacteria that line a mother’s digestive tract are transferred to the baby through breast milk. According to research from National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark, the presence of beneficial lactic acid bacteria in breast milk – critical to the development of a child’s digestive system and immune system – helps baby’s digestive track build a good population of the beneficial bacteria. The longer babies were breastfeed, the more stable their digestive tracts were later on in life. The World health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to 2 years of age.
Particularly in the first three years of life, the bacterial balance is highly susceptible to outside factors. From other studies, the medical community has linked breastfeeding to a reduction in obesity, bowel issues, and allergies later in life. With newer evidence like the University of Denmark study, there is strong reason to believe that the beneficial bacteria in breast milk is at least partially responsible for the reduction in health risks.
So how can mothers help make certain their breast milk is the healthiest possible? A good balanced diet is the best place to start, but there are other things moms can do to make sure their digestive system will pass along plenty of nutrients and healthy bacteria.
1. Eat a balanced diet. The more nutrient-rich and healthy the diet, the healthier the breast milk will be.
2. Take a multivitamin, along with a daily probiotic such as Natren Healthy Trinity. A multivitamin will help fill in the gaps where diet might fall short. When a women’s body is producing breast milk, it needs even more nutrients than normal. Not only will the probiotic help with the mother’s health, it will also help with breaking down the food in the mother’s diet and the vitamin supplement into the correct molecular components to facilitate optimal uptake.
3. Consider a probiotic supplement for your child such as Natren Life Start, that will help populate the digestive tract with the right kind of bacteria. A good population of healthy bacteria helps keep the immune system in balance as well. Natren Life Start is specially formulated for infants and nursing mothers. Research shows that B infantis is the predominate bacteria found in healthy breast-fed infants. It has been suggested that breast milk contains certain molecules that stimulate the growth of this bacteria. As the molecules found in breast milk have not been correctly duplicated for baby formula it appears that B. infantis is an incredible evolutionary selection specifically for infants. We also know that while B. infantis is predominate in the youth, it decreases as we age which is why it is so important to begin a regimen of supplementing it during childhood.
4. Eat fermented and probiotic foods. Yogurt, kimchee, and kombucha are all fermented foods rich in probiotics. These foods, along with a supplement, can ensure a well-rounded regular intake of probiotics.
By taking proactive steps, moms can help ensure set their babies up on the right road to a healthy digestive system and strong natural defenses.
The post How Breastfeeding Can Help Start a Baby’s Digestion on the Right Track appeared first on Natren Probiotics Blog.
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