From the moment your little one is earthside, they’re actively developing their immune system, which is largely influenced by their gut health. Prebiotics and other components found in breastmilk, which is often referred to as “Mother’s Milk”, are a building block for a strong gut ecosystem.
There are trillions of microorganisms living in our intestines (babies included!) and the components in breastmilk act as “food” to keep these healthy microorganisms thriving! A human’s healthy microbiome has been found to have microbacteria from up to 2-3 generations back (thanks grandma!), is developed in the first three years of life, and has an impact on their health throughout their entire life.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies have a stronger immune system and a significantly decreased chance of developing pediatric asthma. Because we understand that not every mother’s journey includes breastfeeding or bottle-fed breastmilk, it is important to discuss how to continue to support your baby’s gut during this time.
Immune Development in Breastfed Babies
In the first few months of a baby’s life, there is so much emphasis on reducing all risks of the baby catching any illness. You’ve been told to limit visitors, wash and sanitize regularly and avoid crowds. These precautions are all because your sweet peanut’s immune system is nearly non-existent in those first few months.
But as your baby has interactions with bacteria, both good and bad, their dynamic gut microbiome adapts and builds their immune system.
The first exposure to healthy bacteria that your baby will have (outside of the womb) is through breastfeeding. 90% of the microbiomes are found in the breastmilk itself, while the other 10% is found on the skin of the mother’s areola.
As your baby transitions to solid food, accompanied by breast milk, they build exposure to other important microbiomes that build their gut’s ecosystem.
Asthma + Allergies
Since an allergic reaction or an asthma attack is an immune response, it’s no surprise that the gut health of your kiddo influences their chance of developing pediatric allergies or asthma.
The beneficial bacteria found in breastmilk and on the mother’s areola appear to reduce the body’s reaction to things that would generally cause an asthmatic response. Infants whose gut health was influenced by breastmilk showed a significantly smaller response to things like air pollution, pollen, and many other known triggers.
From a muscle development standpoint, breastfeeding has been shown to support lung growth and enhance lung function!
Chiropractic Can Help Your Baby Latch
A common challenge that mothers and their babies face in the first few days and weeks of life is comfortably breastfeeding. Since the breast and breastmilk are the cornerstone of gut health in an infant, you want to be able to feed comfortably - for you and your baby’s sake.
If a baby is having trouble latching on to the breast, there is a reason. Sometimes the issue is muscular, meaning your baby’s head may not be able to rotate fully or there is stiffness in their neck. Some babies are also born with tongue and lip ties that affect the way they are able to latch to the nipple.
An ICPA certified Chiropractor, like Dr. Cristina Padilla, is specifically trained in using chiropractic adjustments, craniosacral therapy, and movements that help with tongue and lip ties. These techniques combined are powerful in helping mothers and babies learn to breastfeed together.
Evidence shows that any amount of breastmilk is beneficial to the gut health of your baby - even a small amount. We know it can feel overwhelming to have the pressure of society to breastfeed for as long as possible. To all the mothers who cannot, we see you, we hear you and we support you and there are a number of ways to optimize your baby’s nutrition and gut while supplementing with formula. If you have questions about what the best formula may be, reach out! We are here to support you!
To those who are able, we encourage you to give your baby breastmilk for as long as you and the baby are comfortable. There are innumerable benefits to your baby’s gut health because of the microbiomes found in breast milk.
If you are struggling to breastfeed, reach out to your local support. Chiropractors, postpartum doulas, and lactation specialists are here to help you on your breastfeeding journey
Dr. Cristina Padilla is one of the few ICPA and Webster Certified chiropractors in Jacksonville, Florida, and is the area's only certified Birthfit coach.
To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.jaxmobilechiropractor.com/schedul