It’s common to assume that if a baby is growing well, gaining weight appropriately, and reaching all of their developmental milestones, they are “perfectly healthy.” However, some health issues aren’t necessarily visible from the outside, especially early on, before major symptoms present.
More and more research is pointing to the importance of the gut and its role in the future development of diseases such as asthma, allergies, and diabetes. This is why taking care of your baby’s gut health early in life is crucial to their well-being.
Here are some common questions parents ask me about their baby’s gut:
1. How do I know if my baby has a healthy gut?
We know that the gut microbiome plays a large role in the immune system. One of the most important functions of the gut is to protect the body from harmful bacteria. Having a predominance of good bacteria in the gut helps to keep away the bad bacteria.
It is important to take steps to ensure that your baby’s gut will function properly. While it is difficult to see from the outside, based on recent research, we know that 9 out of 10* U.S. babies are missing a key good gut bacteria called B. infantis.
This good bacteria has been lost over the past few generations due to the unintended consequences of modern medicine, including the increased use of antibiotics as well as c-sections. This generational loss has led to a disruption in babies’ guts, where the bad bacteria dominate the good. These bad bacteria are linked to colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes, and obesity later in life.
2. What steps can I take to promote good gut health for my baby?
Breastfeed. You can help your baby develop a strong and healthy gut by breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding are far-reaching, and include protection against illness and diseases. Ultimately, the first six months of your baby’s life is when the immune system and metabolism begin to develop, and the composition of your baby’s gut plays a significant role in this process.
During the first six months when a mother breastfeeds, she reinforces her baby’s gut and immune system, making them stronger and less susceptible to diseases. Additionally, breastmilk includes special carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria in babies’ guts.
Consider baby probiotics, too. In addition to breastfeeding, the best thing new parents can do is can give their babies probiotics. Evivo baby probiotic is clinically proven to restore the good bacteria to the gut, reducing bad bacteria by 80 percent**. The good bacteria in Evivo promotes a baby’s developing metabolism and immune system, and helps establish the foundation of lifelong good health and well-being.
3. What do I do after the first six months?
Once probiotics set the foundation for a healthy gut, it’s important for parents to offer their toddlers a diverse range of high-fiber foods to feed the good gut bacteria, such as vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, and whole grains.
These types of foods help diversify their gut with a collection of good bacteria, which is beneficial to overall health. In addition, infants need healthy fat for brain development, which can be found in avocado, nut butters, and salmon. Fresh fruit and vegetables also contain important nutrients and antioxidants to prevent illness. Feeding your child a variety of healthy foods early on will help ensure your baby not only gets good nutrition, but also develops a taste for good nutrition now and throughout life.
Dr. Tanya Altmann is a leading pediatrician, Founder of Calabasas Pediatrics and best-selling author. Her expertise lies in baby nutrition and gut health, but she also speaks to everyday parenting issues. Altmann is the author of What to Feed Your Baby, Baby and Toddler Basics, and Mommy Calls, as well as editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ parenting books, The Wonder Years and Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. Dr. Tanya has made numerous media appearances and contributions over the years, but she would say her most important role is being mom to her amazing three boys.
This post is sponsored by Evivo.