Breastmilk and babies developing microbiome.

By  18 October 2022 

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Influences on breastmilk microbiota:

There are several factors that can contribute to the composition of breast milk microbiota, some of which include genetic factors, whether the infant was born vaginally or through Cesarean section, maternal use of antibiotics, nutritional intake of the mother throughout pregnancy and during the postnatal period, time of day, lactation stage, as well as the geographical region where the mother and infant reside.

Taken together, these factors can influence the microbiota of the mother’s skin, oral cavity, vagina, and gastrointestinal tract, as well as the microbiome of the infant.

Impact of breast milk on infant microbiome development :

At birth, the microbiome of an infant is limited in its diversity.

Several studies have demonstrated that variations in the early colonization of the infant gastrointestinal tract can contribute to both short-term and long-term risks of various diseases and health issues.

In addition to the direct introduction of microbes from breast milk to the infant gastrointestinal tract, breast milk also consists of various other biomolecules that contribute to the development of the infant microbiome.

More specifically, human breast milk consists of glycans, proteins, and fat globules, the most notable of which include human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs). To date, over 200 different HMOs have been identified in human breast milk.

Because HMOs are resistant to enzymatic hydrolysis that occurs within the upper gastrointestinal tract, they successfully reach the intestinal mucosa to act as a source of energy for various bacteria.

Thus, HMOs within human breast milk play an important role in the development of the gut microbiota in young infants by contributing to the homeostasis of these microorganisms.

The transfer of antibodies from breast milk to the infant also has a significant role in the development of the neonatal immune system.

In particular, recent studies have found that immunoglobulin A (IgA), found in breast milk is crucial for regulating the infant microbiome and contributing to the ability of IgG to identify and eliminate harmful pathogens.

How amazing is breastmilk!  Read more here.

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