How to reduce your baby's risk of chronic disease by giving their microbiome the best start

During Kristy Wood's first two pregnancies, she didn't give much thought to the microbiome of her babies.

But her second child's tricky start to life triggered a shift.

"When it came to my third pregnancy, I definitely made choices that were influenced by what I knew about their microbiomes," says Kristy.

"My second child has suffered with food intolerance, allergies, and eczema.

"I wanted to give my third child the best chance of avoiding this."

As a doting aunty to Kristy's children and infant microbiome researcher, I understand her concerns.

Of course, the causes of allergies are complex but evidence suggests our microbiome — the community of trillions of microorganisms that lives inside each of us — can play a role.

Alterations to this community have been linked to several chronic diseases, including obesity, asthma, allergies, and even neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism, Parkinson's disease and depression.

The foundations of your microbiome are established in the first few years of life.

During this time, a healthy development of the microbiome can program life-long health.

So how do we ensure that the microscopic worlds inside our children get the best start to life?

1. Feed them breast milk (when you can)

2. Think about getting a dog

3. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics
4. Sort yourself out early
5. Don't be afraid to get a little dirty
It is important to remember that while each of these factors have been associated with a healthy infant microbiome and reduced risk of chronic diseases, they are not the ultimate recipe for a happy, heathy child.
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Source: , viewed 25th June 2021.