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Breastfeeding Can Give Your Baby a Healthy Gut

Breastfeeding has always been something that I knew that I would do when I had children. I succeeded in breastfeeding my oldest daughter for over a year and plan to do the same for Avery. It is such a great bonding experience between myself and my children.

Breastfeeding has so many benefits, including ones that go beyond just nutrition. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends that your baby is breastfed for at least the first six months of life. This can help fight illnesses, may lower your baby’s risk of SIDS, and can protect them from developing allergies. There is a new benefit from breastfeeding that researchers have recently found.

A new study shows that breastfeeding may lead to a healthy infant gut. The study that followed both exclusively breastfed babies and babies only fed formula, showed  that infants who are exclusively breastfed developed a healthy mix of bacteria inside their gut. Early colonization of the gut by good bacteria in infants is critical for development of both their intestinal tract and immune development as it influences their health.

The researchers of the study  found that the babies that were only fed breast milk have a healthier gut than those that were formula fed. The breastfed babies had a wider range of microbes in their gut than the formula fed infants. The healthy bacteria will help them fight off illnesses and pathogens.

Robert Chapkin from Texas A&M University, a lead researcher of the study, said, “Our findings suggest that human milk promotes the beneficial crosstalk between the immune system and microbe population in the gut, and maintains intestinal stability.”

The study was published in the medical journal, Genome Biology.

These findings just reaffirm my decision to breastfeed Avery. I love that not only is it a bonding experience for us, but it is giving her a healthier life as well.

What do you think of the findings in this study?

Read more from Lauren at A Mommy in the City. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook and Twitter! Check out more of Lauren’s  Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.

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