In honor of World Breastfeeding Week (yes, yes, I know–it ended yesterday), we need to talk about a widely overlooked aspect of breastfeeding, its recipients!
Nope, I am not talking about our babies. (After all, who could overlook them?) I am talking about their gut bacteria.
Breast milk contains special carbohydrates (called HMOs) designed to nourish specific microscopic inhabitants. A healthy balance of gut bacteria in infancy has been linked with everything from allergies to asthma to obesity. Women’s bodies even start cultivating specific gut bacteria while we are pregnant, in order to pass them on to our babies during birth.
We all need to pay more attention to this breastfeeding-bacteria relationship, especially since we now disrupt this complex, carefully orchestrated, and highly evolved in over half of all U.S. births.
Could this disruption help explain why so few studies show long-term benefits of breastfeeding?
I dig into all of this in my latest post for BloomLife. Check it out, and don’t forget to share!