Why is having a healthy gut microbiome at the forefront of wellness? Your gut is directly linked to your physical, emotional, and mental health… and an imbalance in any of these areas can be signs of an unbalanced gut! For our children, the first three years of their lives are foundational for building gut health.
First, let’s talk about where your child gets their healthy gut bacteria to begin with. Research shows the early childhood gut microbiota are strongly related to the transfer of bacteria from mom to baby through breast milk.1 The findings concluded that infant’s stool contained the same strains of bacteria as mom’s breast milk!1 Breastfeeding becomes an interesting topic of discussion, because many women chose to not or cannot breastfeed their child. One tool non-breastfeeding moms can use to strengthen their child’s gut health is formula which contains a variety of nutrients including 2’-FL Human Milk Oligosaccharide. This prebiotic strain is identical to the prebiotic found in human breast milk. Which is one of the two ingredients in Begin Health Growing Up Prebiotics. These prebiotics are foundational in baby’s gut health and developed for children ages 1+ to support digestive health past the nursing years.
How can you tell if your child has a healthy gut? One of the best ways to tell how your child’s digestion is functioning is through what’s inside their diapers or in the toilet… poop. Yup, look at your little ones poop next time they go. I don’t think most parents think to look at the smelly stuff often because it seems routine to just toss it in the trash. But it can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside their bowel.
One helpful tool in assessing your child’s bowel movements and gut is the Bristol Stool Chart. This handy tool is a way to assess the shapes, sizes, and textures of bowel movements and then translate what it means for you or your child’s health.2 For example, types 1 and 7 are often signs of poor gut health because they are considered diarrhea and constipation. Both are not so good for your little one and can mean that he or she has a gut imbalance.
Another common kid bathroom habit to keep an eye on is withholding. This is when children withhold from passing stool out of fear, pain or general anxiety associated with a bowel movement. Withholding can have long term effects on your child’s gut microbiome, as stool that does not pass can ferment in the digestive tract. This can kill off beneficial bacteria, that then need to be replaced through oral supplementation or diet. Once gut health is compromised, it can be an uphill battle to turn around and regain balance.
Practices to follow for positive parenting include open communication about poops and stomach aches. This not only teaches your child to listen to their body, but it also builds trust between a parent and their child, making the microbiome grow stronger! Why? Because mental health equally effects gut health as much as physical health. A safe and happy child usually means a healthy gut and great digestion.
A daily prebiotic habit, can drastically help little ones who are struggling. The combination of prebiotics and fiber in Growing Up Prebiotics help to both soften stool and encourage the passing the stool, while rebuilding a healthy digestive system.
1. Fehr, K., Moossavi, S., Sbihi, H., Boutin, R. C. T., Bode, L., Robertson, B., Yonemitsu, C., Field, C. J., Becker, A. B., Mandhane, P. J., Sears, M. R., Khafipour, E., Moraes, T. J., Subbarao, P., Finlay, B. B., Turvey, S. E., & Azad, M. B. (2020). Breastmilk feeding practices are associated with the co-occurrence of bacteria in mothers’ milk and the infant gut: The child cohort study. Cell Host & Microbe, 28(2). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2020.06.009
2. WebMD. (n.d.). Bristol stool chart: Types of poop - shapes, textures & consistency. WebMD. Retrieved December 15, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/poop-chart-bristol-stool-scale