Healthier Mums = Healthier Babies
Our tips for growing a happy, healthy baby
Baby’s First Bacteria
When you think of ‘bacteria’, it’s likely that images of germs and infection may spring to mind…unwelcome guests in your little one’s body! While some microbes can lead to sickness, it’s important to know that the right types of bacteria can be very beneficial for your baby, helping his or her little body grow and function. In fact, did you realise that as a mother, all of the bacteria and other microorganisms living inside your body (known as the microbiota) have a significant bearing on the evolution of your baby’s microbiota? This is because babies are initially exposed to their mother’s bacteria during birth, and then through breastfeeding and skin to skin contact.
Infants continue to make friends with microbes through a love of playing in the dirt, patting animals and touching everything in sight! Interaction with these wonderful microbes (or a lack thereof), largely determines your baby’s health and vitality, collaborating to support development and future health.
Happier, Healthier Mums = Happier, Healthier Babies
Taking good care of yourself during pregnancy and breastfeeding in turn promotes the health of your growing baby. One simple way that you can support your own health and vitality is by taking a daily strain specific probiotic. Certain strains also aid blood glucose control during pregnancy, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes. Scientifically researched probiotics enhance the health of the mother’s microbiota and support digestion, immunity and overall wellbeing; significantly, these benefits also pass onto your baby.
The Birth of Optimal Health
All mums hope for a happy, healthy child and early exposure to specific probiotic strains may offer protection against numerous health conditions. Probiotics can be safely taken by the mother while pregnant and breastfeeding, and can also be given directly to the baby if not being breastfed. In infancy, benefits include improved digestion and immune function, preventing the development of eczema and infection. Advancing into childhood, specific probiotic strains may even reduce the incidence of behavioural conditions such as attention deficit disorder and autism spectrum disorder.
Essential Probiotics for Both Mum and Bub!
The following probiotic strains are important for the health of you and your baby:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: regulates immunity to reduce eczema and allergies in the infant, and also lowers the risk of behavioural complaints in childhood.
- Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis: helps promote healthy blood sugar control for mums during pregnancy, and also decreases susceptibility to allergies in children.
- Bifidobacterium breve: an invaluable strain for reducing the infants’ risk of developing eczema.
- Bifidobacterium longum: aids in establishing a healthy intestinal environment in early life, for improved overall health.
Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Healthier Mums and Babies
Implement these dietary and lifestyle tips for optimal health:
- Include plenty of fibre rich fruits, vegetables, pulses and whole grains in your diet. Fibre helps to prevent constipation throughout pregnancy and provides a fuel source for beneficial microbes in the gut.
- Minimise sugar intake to maintain healthy glucose levels throughout pregnancy.
- Drink 3-4 L of water daily during pregnancy, and 3.5 L daily during breastfeeding to keep you and your baby well hydrated.
- Stay active by participating in yoga, tai chi, swimming, or walking 3 to 4 days a week.
- Relax! If you feel stressed, chances are your baby does too. Practice meditation and mindfulness techniques regularly to help you feel calmer and more in control.
The support you provide your baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding transcends well beyond infancy, influencing his or her health in childhood and later life.