5 Reasons Your Baby Might Need a Microbiotic Supplement
Before I was pregnant with my twin girls I knew about the importance of a healthy gut flora, both for the mother and babies from birth. During my whole pregnancy I took a daily microbiotic. Not only to boost my immune system during the winter, but to prepare my gut flora and vaginal flora for the birth. I didn’t know until a few weeks before I delivered that I had to have a scheduled Caesarean as Baby A was breech. A Caesarean birth meant that the girls would not get exposed to my vaginal bacteria in their mouth which is their first exposure to good bacteria and important in starting to build their own gut flora. Another factor that was unique to me is that all the women in my family had a hard time producing enough breast milk that they didn’t have to supplement with formula…. So here I was about to have a c section birth and not knowing if I would produce enough breast milk not only for one baby, but two! As a soon to be mother, I wanted to make sure I was giving my babies the best start possible and if circumstances were that I couldn’t give them good bacteria as mother nature intended I had to be prepared to supplement with a microbiotic.
There are many reasons why a parent may choose to give their baby a microbiotic supplement.
My top 5 reasons are:
Baby is Born via C section –
As mentioned in my experience above, babies that are born vaginally are exposed to beneficial bacteria in the birth canal; fluid enters their nose and mouth to colonize the digestive system. Vaginal bacteria also colonizes your baby’s skin and stays with your baby. Exposure to beneficial bacteria from the mother like Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium help towards a newborns health as these species of bacteria are known to contribute to development of a healthy immune system and keep harmful bacteria from taking up residence in a baby’s digestive system and on their skin. While vaginally born babies are colonized with their mother’s bacteria, C-section babies are colonized with a blend of bacteria from the hospital staff and environment i.e. operating theatre. Available epidemiological data show that atopic diseases appear more often in infants after Caesarean delivery than after vaginal delivery; with a significant increased rate of asthma, especially in females, and allergic rhinitis, but not atopic dermatitis. (1)
Antibiotic treatment –
Antibiotic use is very common in hospital births, they are given to a mother who is having a c section and to a mother who is Group B Strep positive, both as a preventative measure. Antibiotics taken during pregnancy can also be an issue as they interfere with the mothers good bacteria and can also interfere with the effectiveness of microbiotic supplements especially if taken at the same time. It is best to continue taking microbiotics long after stopping antibiotics. Recent findings suggest the importance of getting the microbiome right in the first few years of life and confirm that antibiotic use both in pregnancy or the child’s first year of life can alter the microbiome affecting the immune function and metabolic system so much that the child has a 84% greater risk of obesity. Much research is now finding that the proper gut flora impacts weight gain, and it may be the cause of obesity in many people who just ‘can’t seem to lose the weight.’ (2,3) However, preventative measures can reduce this occurrence by taking and giving microbiotic supplements to your baby from birth.
If mum’s gut flora is imbalanced at babies birth – a 2012 double-blind, placebo-controlled study (4) demonstrates that probiotic supplementation in mothers during pregnancy can impact the baby as it grows, so it certainly makes sense that whatever gut imbalance mum might have could be passed on to the baby and giving them a microbiotic from birth would help to rebalance.
Formula feeding –
It is very much promoted that ‘breast is best’ for the numerous known health benefits for the baby, but unfortunately, not all women are able or capable of breastfeeding and their only option is to formula feed. As much as formula brands have tried to mimic breast milk with adding in prebiotics and probiotics that have been shown to change newborns’ microflora composition towards breast-feeding pattern and stimulate immune response (5); it still doesn’t replace breast milk’s unique beneficial health effects completely. If your newborn is formula fed, it is worth supplementing with a microbiotic of different strains than what is included in the formula.
Your baby is suffering from digestive issues –
From birth your baby may be experiencing digestive issue, including, but not limited to, irregular bowel movements, constipation, diarrhoea or alternating between the two, painful bowel movements, abnormally smelly stools or even colic symptoms. If something says that your baby’s digestion is not ideal than supplementing with a microbiotic may help by adding in good bacteria and lessoning any imbalance that may be there.