Great question! The gut microbiome is a special place inside our bodies! Let’s take it apart piece by piece.
Your microbiome is made up of the bacteria, fungi and virus living in you, mostly in your gut. These microbial organisms living in our bodies are good bugs! There are many trillions of them living in our bodies, outnumbering our own cells 3 to 1. Don’t freak out. It’s a good thing!
At Begin Health, we focus on the gut microbiome, so what is the gut? The gut is one part of our digestive system. We think of the gut as the large intestine and the colon.
In utero, a baby gets exposed to mom’s microbiome. This is a new field, with lots to learn, but it seems that just like antibodies cross the placenta to help the baby, so do bacteria-produced molecules from the microbiome.
Studies show that birth methods contribute to different gut microbiomes. Babies born vaginally shared their mom’s gut microbiome more than those delivered by c-section. 33% of babies born in the US are born via c-section.
After birth, the leading determinant of infant gut microbial colonization is breastfeeding. Studies show that breastfeeding is associated with higher levels of Bifidobacterium, an indicator of a healthy gut microbiome. 53% of moms no longer exclusively breastfeed by 3 months.
Antibiotics are lifesaving, but in the US they have been overused for some time! While they can kill the bad bacteria, they also can damage the good gut bacteria, which can lead to an imbalance in the gut. This is called dysbiosis. 50% of toddlers are exposed to antibiotics before age 3.
The developing gut microbiome thrives on healthful nutrition. Picky eaters can impact their gut microbiome health by not eating the fiber needed to feed the good gut bugs. 70% of moms consider their kids a picky eater.
At Begin we are experts in pediatric nutrition. At home we are just “mom” or “dad”.
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