Breastfeeding encourages the growth of gut bacteria thought to help your baby’s long-term health, according to a new study
Before we lose you at ‘bacteria’, it’s the good kind – specifically lactic acid bacteria in your baby’s gut, which researchers believe could lower the risk of him developing allergies, diabetes and bowel disease later on.
‘We have become increasingly aware of how crucially important a healthy gut microbial population is for a well-functioning immune system,’ says Tine Rask Licht from the National Food Institute, which worked on the research with the Technical University of Denmark, and the University of Copenhagen.
‘Babies are born without bacteria in the gut, and so it is interesting to identify the influence dietary factors have on gut microbiota development in children's first three years of life.’
‘Babies are born without bacteria in the gut, and so it is interesting to identify the influence dietary factors have'
The team also discovered that this bacteria in your child’s gut continues evolving until the age of three, leaving a good window for potential influence on it.
‘The results from the study can be used to support initiatives that can be used to help children develop a type of gut microbiota, which is beneficial for the immune system and for the digestive system,’ adds Tine.
‘This could for example be advice to mothers about breastfeeding or the development of new types of infant formula to promote the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the gut.’
It’s another plus point for breastfeeding, but of course it doesn’t always come easily. If you need support or solutions to any difficulties, check out our dedicated feeding section.
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