Save 15% + FREE shipping when you Subscribe & Save. SHOP NOW

Nurturing Infant Gut Health: What Parents Need to Know


The early years of a kid’s life are critical for establishing a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in their overall health and well-being.Studies show that the first 3 years of life can be a critical period for growth, which means that nutrition during this period is important for a healthy life as they grow. As parents, understanding the factors that influence infant gut health is essential for promoting optimal development and laying the foundation for a strong immune system. Let’s review what parents need to know about supporting infant gut health: 

Importance of Breastfeeding

Breast milk is nature's perfect food for infants, providing essential nutrients, antibodies, and prebiotics that support the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and protect against infections. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is recommended by leading health organizations to optimize infant gut health.

Avoidance of Antibiotics Unless Necessary

Antibiotic use in infancy can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, potentially leading to long-term consequences for immune function and metabolic health. Whenever possible, limit antibiotic use to situations where they are medically necessary and follow healthcare provider guidelines.

Probiotics and Prebiotics 

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help colonize the infant gut and support immune function. Consider incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements into your little one’s diet, under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Prebiotics, found in breast milk and certain foods, nourish beneficial gut bacteria and promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Begin Health Expert Tip

HMO’s, or human milk oligosaccharides are the third most abundant component of human breast milk. What exactly are they and how do they benefit our kiddos? Our Begin Health Nutrition Expert answers this question here:Benefits of HMO’s for Kids.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors, including mode of delivery (vaginal birth vs. cesarean section), infant feeding practices, exposure to pets, and early-life antibiotic use, can all influence infant gut health. Being aware of these factors and making informed choices can help support a thriving gut microbiome in your baby.


Infant gut health plays a crucial role in overall health and development, with factors such as breastfeeding, introduction of solid foods, avoidance of unnecessary antibiotics, and incorporation of probiotics and prebiotics all contributing to a healthy gut microbiome. By understanding and prioritizing these factors, parents can lay the foundation for optimal health and well-being in their children.


  • Guaraldi F, Salvatori G. Effect of breast and formula feeding on gut microbiota shaping in newborns. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 2012;2:94.
  • Dominguez-Bello MG, Costello EK, Contreras M, et al. Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2010;107(26):11971-11975.
  • Houghteling PD, Walker WA. Why is initial bacterial colonization of the intestine important to infants' and children's health? Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2015;60(3):294-307.
  • Milani C, Duranti S, Bottacini F, et al. The first microbial colonizers of the human gut: composition, activities, and health implications of the infant gut microbiota. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 2017;81(4):e00036-17.
  • Korpela K, Salonen A, Virta LJ, et al. Intestinal microbiome is related to lifetime antibiotic use in Finnish pre-school children. Nature Communications. 2016;7:10410.

Also in Learn

Benefits of Fructo-Ogliosaccharides for Kids’ Gut Health
Benefits of Fructo-Ogliosaccharides for Kids’ Gut Health

5 Fun Ways to Incorporate Gut-Friendly Foods into Kids' Meals and Snacks
5 Fun Ways to Incorporate Gut-Friendly Foods into Kids' Meals and Snacks

Top Foods to Avoid for Kids with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Top Foods to Avoid for Kids with Irritable Bowel Syndrome