Help Your Baby Get Healthy Microbes at Birth

While in the womb, babies are protected from infection via the mucus plug which acts as a block against germs getting in through the vagina. The placenta also protects the baby by filtering out waste and harmful substances during pregnancy. The womb is a completely sterile environment and if babies were to be born into the world with no extra support, they would be doing so with no immune protection which could be deadly. Thankfully, the mothers body is equipped to give them an internal and external layer of support during birth so that as they leave their sterile environment and enter a world of germs, they do so with a barrier of protection around them. Our bodies are so clever! This blog post explains how your body will act to protect your baby and give them the best start in life.

What are healthy microbes?

Did you know that healthy microbes exist to train our immune system in early life. In the first few days after birth they rapidly develop, playing a vital role in shaping your babies immune system….

A recent Dutch and Scottish study has suggested that how we are born alters our immune system and how well we respond to a vaccine in later life. The study shows babies that are born vaginally have double the amount of protective anti bodies at birth. Why is this?

  • Babies who are born vaginally have more ‘good bacteria' passed to them by the mother at birth. Their skin is coated with healthy microbiomes so that their skin is colonised by friendly bacteria.
  • Babies born by c-section are set on a different path as the early colonisers are bugs that live on people’s skin and in the surrounding environment.

This is important for those who want to have a c-section to be aware of, keep reading for tips on how you can give you baby as much protection as possible at birth.

During birth

The first time a mothers body will give her baby microbes at birth is during the 2nd stage of labour. This is when her baby gets an external layer of protection. The vagina is packed full of microbiomes so as the baby passes down the birth canal they are quite literally coated in microbes. Have you noticed how mammals lick their newborns as soon as they are born? Well, this is the human equivalent. This is one of the reasons that mothers may be discouraged from having a c-section, because a baby born by c-section doesn’t pass down through the birth canal. It’s always worth remembering that you can request ‘seeding’ as part of your c-section – a process whereby the surgeon uses a swab to take bacteria from the vagina and manually coat your baby.

couple_holding_baby_scan

Breastfeeding after birth

The second time a mothers body will protect her baby is immediately after birth in the form is colostrum. This is when her baby gets an internal later of protection. Colostrum is your first milk and it is packed full of antibodies, fats and sugars. Babies are born with something called a ‘leaky gut’ which means they have very small holes in their gut at birth. Colostrum lines the stomach and plugs the holes so that no foreign substances can get in to the rest of their body. Colostrum also acts as a laxative and helps to clear the baby’s meconium from their system and reduce any jaundice.

The health benefits

Evidence from many studies suggests that the bacteria a mother passes to her baby during vaginal delivery can protect the child from developing asthma and food allergies as well as other conditions that can develop later in life.

C-sections and seeding

If you’re having a C-section or end up having a C-section, then it’s worth stating in your birth plan that you’d like to make sure your baby receives as many healthy microbes as possible. The surgeon can offer to take a sample from vagina and coat your baby’s skin with it at birth. This is called 'seeding’. Of course, you can discuss this in further detail with your healthcare provider.

Also, lots of skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby immediately after birth can help pass good bacteria to them.

newborn baby being held by a doctor after being born by c-section

Other tips for all mothers

  1. Offer breast milk straight from the breast whenever possible. Studies show it provides more good bacteria and less harmful bacteria than pumped milk.
  2. Don't overdo it on the baths as these can strip your baby's skin of beneficial bacteria.

Butterbean is designed to be a gift from one Mum to another, so you can feel confident, prepared, and give your baby the best start in life. For more advice on pregnancy, feeding and beyond, be sure to explore our full range of resources so you can have the birth you’ve always hoped for.

You can find out more fascinating facts by signing up to become a butterbean member today!

newborn_baby

Help Your Baby Get Healthy Microbes at Birth

newborn_baby

While in the womb, babies are protected from infection via the mucus plug which acts as a block against germs getting in through the vagina. The placenta also protects the baby by filtering out waste and harmful substances during pregnancy. The womb is a completely sterile environment and if babies were to be born into the world with no extra support, they would be doing so with no immune protection which could be deadly. Thankfully, the mothers body is equipped to give them an internal and external layer of support during birth so that as they leave their sterile environment and enter a world of germs, they do so with a barrier of protection around them. Our bodies are so clever! This blog post explains how your body will act to protect your baby and give them the best start in life.

What are healthy microbes?

Did you know that healthy microbes exist to train our immune system in early life. In the first few days after birth they rapidly develop, playing a vital role in shaping your babies immune system….

A recent Dutch and Scottish study has suggested that how we are born alters our immune system and how well we respond to a vaccine in later life. The study shows babies that are born vaginally have double the amount of protective anti bodies at birth. Why is this?

  • Babies who are born vaginally have more ‘good bacteria' passed to them by the mother at birth. Their skin is coated with healthy microbiomes so that their skin is colonised by friendly bacteria.
  • Babies born by c-section are set on a different path as the early colonisers are bugs that live on people’s skin and in the surrounding environment.

This is important for those who want to have a c-section to be aware of, keep reading for tips on how you can give you baby as much protection as possible at birth.

During birth

The first time a mothers body will give her baby microbes at birth is during the 2nd stage of labour. This is when her baby gets an external layer of protection. The vagina is packed full of microbiomes so as the baby passes down the birth canal they are quite literally coated in microbes. Have you noticed how mammals lick their newborns as soon as they are born? Well, this is the human equivalent. This is one of the reasons that mothers may be discouraged from having a c-section, because a baby born by c-section doesn’t pass down through the birth canal. It’s always worth remembering that you can request ‘seeding’ as part of your c-section – a process whereby the surgeon uses a swab to take bacteria from the vagina and manually coat your baby.

couple_holding_baby_scan

Breastfeeding after birth

The second time a mothers body will protect her baby is immediately after birth in the form is colostrum. This is when her baby gets an internal later of protection. Colostrum is your first milk and it is packed full of antibodies, fats and sugars. Babies are born with something called a ‘leaky gut’ which means they have very small holes in their gut at birth. Colostrum lines the stomach and plugs the holes so that no foreign substances can get in to the rest of their body. Colostrum also acts as a laxative and helps to clear the baby’s meconium from their system and reduce any jaundice.

The health benefits

Evidence from many studies suggests that the bacteria a mother passes to her baby during vaginal delivery can protect the child from developing asthma and food allergies as well as other conditions that can develop later in life.

C-sections and seeding

If you’re having a C-section or end up having a C-section, then it’s worth stating in your birth plan that you’d like to make sure your baby receives as many healthy microbes as possible. The surgeon can offer to take a sample from vagina and coat your baby’s skin with it at birth. This is called 'seeding’. Of course, you can discuss this in further detail with your healthcare provider.

Also, lots of skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby immediately after birth can help pass good bacteria to them.

newborn baby being held by a doctor after being born by c-section

Other tips for all mothers

  1. Offer breast milk straight from the breast whenever possible. Studies show it provides more good bacteria and less harmful bacteria than pumped milk.
  2. Don't overdo it on the baths as these can strip your baby's skin of beneficial bacteria.

Butterbean is designed to be a gift from one Mum to another, so you can feel confident, prepared, and give your baby the best start in life. For more advice on pregnancy, feeding and beyond, be sure to explore our full range of resources so you can have the birth you’ve always hoped for.

You can find out more fascinating facts by signing up to become a butterbean member today!