Babies who drink breast milk receive ‘good’ bacteria that has been transferred from mom’s gut, reports Environmental Microbiology. The probiotic bacteria colonize the neonatal gut and improve the immune system.
Data suggests that the beneficial bacteria reach breast milk by an entero-mammary pathway, a path from the gut to the breast milk. While the exact route the bacteria take is unclear, it has been found that the healthy bacteria that reach breast milk include Bifidobacterium, Bacteroides, Parabacteroides and many members of the Clostridium bacteria.
Baby benefits from probiotics because they regulate the gut by reducing pathogens and bad bacteria, and by boosting the immune system. The bacteria transferred from mom to baby may also help to prevent intestinal disorders.
Information from the study will help develop baby formula that closely resembles breast milk, allowing all babies the potential to have a healthy immune system and colonized gut.