A mother’s milk has been shown to have undeniable benefits for the babies it feeds, producing a unique combination of ingredients personalized for a child that evolves over time. So it should come as no surprise that breastfeeding also nourishes and helps develop a baby’s microbiome.
Not only does breast milk contain the nutrients babies need, but it also contains complex molecules like oligosaccharides that feed our microbes. And to maximize this benefit, when a mother breastfeeds, the skin to skin contact provides her baby with additional microbes to further strengthen her child’s microbiome.
A baby’s healthy microbes help them digest food and generate vitamins that they are not able to generate on their own. Breastmilk also provides a natural antibiotic that keeps nasty microbes in check. And early research shows that breastfeeding can significantly reduce the risk of diseases like asthma later in life.
Photo credit: Let Them Eat Dirt documentary