Your Baby’s Microbiome starting from Pregnancy and Beyond

Babies are a universal symbol for Joy and New Beginnings. It can be very exciting when one receives news of a bundle of joy on the way. And for the expecting mother, that can also be a time of sudden conscious awareness of the health of your body in order to bring this tiny seed of a human through an uncomplicated and healthy full gestation, labor, birth, and of course beyond into childhood.  What many health researchers are finding is that the lack of diversity in our gut microbiome may be strongly linked to the growing numbers of those being diagnosed with allergies, eczema, and asthma, among several other conditions, while taking an even closer look at babies and children.

SO WHAT IS A MICROBIOME?

It is a colony of 100 trillion microorganisms, mostly bacteria and yeasts, that live directly inside of our digestive tract, skin, respiratory pathways, and genitalia. When this collective ecology is in BALANCE, the overall health of the immune system, detoxification pathways, intestinal nutrient absorption, and brain function functions appropriately to moderate levels stress, with the occasional high-stress moments. An individual with a healthy and balanced microbiome feels clear-headed and focused, energized, and is overall a motivated person with a passion for life. When the microbiome is OUT OF BALANCE, this influences the body’s immune and stress response to be on high-alert, which can lead to diagnosis of inflammatory conditions, obesity, diabetes, hormonal problems, anxiety and depression.

We receive our initial inoculation, under ideal circumstances, at birth as we descend through the vaginal canal and through breastfeeding, skin to skin with the mother immediately after. In a perfect world, the mother will have been supporting her body before conception in ways that promote optimal wellness and a healthy balance of microorganisms, even inside her vaginal canal. Nowadays, it’s a little more complicated for many women to really keep their bodies healthy in this way without a quality understanding of WHY keeping our microbiome healthy and balanced is so important to shifting the direction of illness in our world today.

“Antibiotics and an obsession to sterilize our environments have resulted in a significant rise in gut-related illnesses and pressure on the medical community to finally explore this long-ignored aspect of human biology.”

(https://www.enviromedica.com/human-microbiome)

SO HOW CAN I SUPPORT MY BODY AND PREGNANCY?

Well to bring health and balance to our microbiomes, we must provide our intestinal tract with the strains of beneficial microorganisms that we know, through much on-going research, to be crucial to a healthy functioning immune system, detoxification pathways, hormone stress responses, and neurological wellness.  Two of the most beneficial strains of bacteria found in a healthy and balanced gut are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, while two of most beneficial strains to a woman’s vagina and infant gut inoculation are Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri. It is becoming more commonly recommended as new research trickles down into the medical community, that all women who are pregnant take a probiotic with a wide variety of the aforementioned species, including the specific two strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri, AT LEAST through the Third Trimester. Doing so has been shown to lower the risk of women testing positive for Group B Strep (Streptococcus agalactiae) or GBS for short, during pregnancy leading to a higher likelihood of receiving an IV antibiotic during labor to prevent infection in the newborn.

Other ways women can support their bodies and babies through pregnancy, is to eat a diet low in refined sugars and processed foods (refined flour products and baked goods), while including more fiber from complex plant-based carbohydrates (vegetables, flax and chia seeds) and lacto-fermented veggies along with a high-quality probiotic supplement.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS FOR PREGNANCY AND BABY?

When an imbalance is present, and it could have been this way for many women for most of their lives, the risk of urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and testing positive for Group B Strep, can statistically lead to preterm labor and the need for antibiotic use in pregnancy and labor. Early exposure to antibiotics in babies from birth through the first 2 years can lead to an increased risk of developing allergies, eczema, and asthma, which is why it’s super important to take what you know FROM THIS MOMENT and make the best choices for you, your baby, and your specific circumstances.

I did then what I knew how to do.Now that i know better I do better.

HOW CAN I SUPPORT MY BABY’S MICROBIOME AFTER BIRTH?

It is ideal for a baby to be born through an uncomplicated natural vaginal birth but we all know that sometimes there are unplanned circumstances that cause us mothers to make the best decision we possibly could with what we knew then. So if you can take action now before or during your pregnancy to take a probiotic, eat cultured and lacto-fermented foods, reduce consumption of processed foods and excess sugars, avoid OTC vaginal products, and do your best to decline antibiotics, unless medically necessary to avoid pre-term labor and severe infection. Also planning to have a doula and/or midwife to help you through labor and delivery can decrease the possibility for labor induction and reduce risk of Cesarean section giving your baby the best possible start for a healthy gut and immune system.

Once the baby bundle is born, breastfeeding is the first and most essential way to nourish your baby. One new study from UCLA in 2017 “found that 30 percent of the beneficial bacteria in a baby’s intestinal tract come directly from mother’s milk, and an additional 10 percent comes from skin on the mother’s breast.”

While every mother desires to give their new born babies the absolute best they can right from the beginning, it is important for women not to judge or blame themselves for making choices going against any “recommended” healthy protocol. Regardless of how mothers decide to feed their babies, breast milk or formula, adding a quality infant probiotic supplement is quite safe (approximately over 26,000 reports in medical literature) and strongly encouraged when babies had exposure to antibiotics or born by Cesarean section. Look for an infant probiotic powder that includes the beneficial strains: Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri. Some quality brands to look into are Klaire (Klaire Infant), Jarrow, NOW Foods, and Flora Udo’s.

Give baby a daily dose using one of the recommendations below:

  1. Express a couple tablespoons of breast milk and mix the probiotic powder together, then give to baby through an eye dropper while nursing, or…
  2. Mix the probiotic powder into the bottle of breast milk or formula, do not add before heating if heating needed, wait until the milk or formula has cooled to a tepid temperature.
  3. Another way, is to take a single dose of powder and put it into a clean dish, and with your clean pinky finger, dip the fingertip into the powder and allow baby to suck it off of your finger until the entire dose is given. DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGER into the jar of probiotics or you could damage the strains.

It is recommended to begin days after birth through at least the first 6 months of life. For good measure, it might be suggested that the mother continue to take her own high-quality probiotic supplement with many strains of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.

For those who have to have a cesarean section, look into the newest procedure showing some promise for those with no other options called “Vaginal Swabbing” also referred to as “Microbiome Seeding”.

For those who would like to improve the balance and quality of their children’s microbiome, who may or may not have had rounds of antibiotics and various other medical treatments and procedures in their first few years of life, I personally recommend checking out Healthiest Kids University for natural solutions and remedies.

One More Thing…

The information provided in this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any medical or health diagnosis or condition. The information here is to give you a jumping off point to seek more information about what matters most to you. I am in no way condoning anyone’s choices as parents and mothers and caregivers, I fully support and encourage all of us to step into the conversation surrounding our health and wellness in the United States. The current state of health and our growing epidemics, such as allergies, obesity, asthma, and diabetes, really need to be more in the hands and control of each individual and family. I believe with more knowledge and access to cutting edge alternative research, we can shift from a sick and tired society to one that is vibrant and energized. It starts with our children. And it starts NOW. When we invest in the health of our children, we invest in the future of humanity.

When we invest in the health of our children and we invest in the future of humanity. (1)

 

I would love to read your comments or help answer any questions, feel free to share below!


How NOT to Get Sick This Winter Season (And Feel Well Instead)

Stay Well_1

Keep yourself even healthier and energized this holiday season by remembering these

5 Simple Body Health Essentials:

  1. WATER! Water makes up 75% of our entire body and when we do an insufficient job of staying WELL hydrated then we start to notice our skin, eyes, nasal passages, lips, and lungs feel really dry and painful. How much water are you drinking and eating through fresh fruits and vegetables each day? Aim to drink a minimum of half your body weight IN OUNCES of water. As always implied, increase hydration during exercise, cold weather exposure, and during any illness. Example for a person who weighs 150lbs, they would drink around 75oz of water daily.
  2. FRESH AIR! Step outside and take the opportunity to breathe in deep and exhale into the cool, crisp, winter air. When you do this, you can feel an immediate sense of peace and maybe even a moment of joy in just the act of BEING PRESENT, this mindfulness then sends signals to your body letting it know that all is right in the world IN THIS MOMENT HERE.
  3. SUNSHINE! Open the blinds, the drapes, and let all that beautiful winter sunshine in! All that beautiful, natural divine light touches our skin and stimulates our eyes! Seasonal Affective Disorder and Depression have been linked to deficient Vitamin D, melatonin, and even a gut microflora imbalance. Keep your moments of sadness at bay, by taking in as much outside light as you can! You can combine Air and Light (along with your now UNBUSY schedule) by taking a walk outside.
  4. MOVE YOUR BODY! Moving your body helps keep your blood moving and organs free from congestion, which improves mood and energy levels. Find what makes your body move and your Heart smile, maybe it’s a walk, shoveling snow, sledding, skiing, or maybe it’s dancing around your living room with your kids before bed! The more you can move your body in a meaningful way, the closer you come to overall mind, body, and spirit balance.
  5. REST! Probably the one most forgotten about until we actually end up under the weather. Resting often, especially during the Winter season, will keep your body’s stress level more in rhythm with the energy of the season. This time of year for those of us in the cooler climates actually feel a lack of energy that is completely normal considering our evolutionary biology suggests that even we too have hibernation tendencies in our genes. So instead of fitting in all the things on your To-Do list, choose the Top 3-5 Priority for the day and give yourself some time to rest every day. Log off, power down, close your eyes, and put your feet up. Just breathe deeply and slowly, focusing on how your breath fills your belly with each inhale and falls with each exhale. Rest without getting something else done is KEY.

A balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and proteins, in addition to these five simple essentials, can greatly enhance your sense of wellness, support your immune defenses, and improve your overall satisfaction with life!

Looking for a delicious winter recipe to try? Give my Winter Radish & Kale Salad a try this holiday season!

What are some other ways you are focusing on doing this season to stay healthy? We would love read more innate wisdom! Leave your perspective and wisdom below!

Are you on Facebook? Join my free 30 Day Food Resolution Challenge group and take the next step in your wellness journey! Show up for yourself, commit to your Health and Wellness in a NEW WAY, and you will discover what TRUE HEALTH can really do for YOU!


Winter Radish & Kale Salad

This winter salad is not only grounding, replenishing, and supportive but it’s so festive for the season! For a salad, it’s really got some heat in the delicious pungent peppery flavor of radishes.

The root vegetables of Daikon radish and Red radish provide the nutritional grounding really needed to keep our digestive fires burning hot during the winter season along with an immunity boost! The Radish family actually promotes the movement of bile and aids the body in fat digestion, decongests the gallbladder, cleanses the blood and liver, and safely lowers blood pressure.

Kale, still a trendy superfood, and for good reason. It’s hardy cold weather green leaves are packed with energy and nutrients necessary to keep our blood, kidneys, and liver clean and functioning well.

Try this salad like a relish or a julienne dish! Share this with your friends and enjoy a fresh twist at any gathering!

Winter Radish & Kale

What’s in it:

3 Daikon radishes

1-2 bunches of Red radishes

3 Kale leaves (I used Green kale)

1/4 tsp real sea salt (I use a blend of pink Himalayan salt for added minerals)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1-2 tsp honey (raw and local for added immunity factors)

Optional Additions: shredded carrots, parsley, or cilantro and lime juice

What to do:

Place the radishes and kale into a large Food Processor and chop until your desired texture. You could shred the radishes and finely chopped the kale if you prefer! Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl, add the salt and toss. Let the veggies release their water (10 minutes). Drain the water. Whisk the oil, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl and pour over the veggies. Toss well to integrate and let marinate about 15-20 minutes before serving. Mmmmm!

Winter Radish with Carrot

You have permission to get creative with it and make it your own!  I hope you enjoy this delicious salad this winter season!

Come back and share your taste experience and creative innovations in the comments below!

Are you on Facebook? Join my free 30 Day Food Resolution Challenge group and take the next step in your wellness journey! Show up for yourself, commit to your Health and Wellness in a NEW WAY, and you will discover what TRUE HEALTH can really do for YOU!


How NOT to Get Overwhelmed This Holiday Season (And Feel Joy Instead)

Who is most at risk for falling ill this holiday season?  Busy people. That’s who get ill with the colds, flus, pneumonias, and other common winter time ailments. The number one thing we can do for ourselves to support our bodies during a naturally cold, dry, and dark, not to mention also a joyous, exciting, and full of festivities season, is to UNBUSY our minds! Seriously. It’s THAT simple. Sometimes not doing anything feels like doing something! Enjoying the cancelled plans, traffic delay, or long line at the store by just TAKING IT ALL IN!

Unbusy Mind

When our mental space between our ears and above our nose is full of lists, judgements, worries, anxiety, and our physical space experiences headaches, sinus troubles, vision trouble, dry scalp, and brittle hair, you WILL experience a dip in your body’s natural defenses against illness. Your body is following the control of the mind, the mind is sending high-stress signals to the rest of the body, and immediately the body goes into Survival mode. Your digestive system goes into overdrive so it can store as much energy as it can; in the form of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, which all eventually break down into glucose, vitamins, and amino acids. With all the attention and energy flowing into the gastrointestinal tract, your immune system takes a BIG hit.

When we allow the “busyness” of the season to take over our minds, we begin to experience weight gain, sleep disruptions, mood changes, and other physical ailments, all of which can be directly related to an imbalance between your mental and physical vibrations. Our mind, body, and spirit vibrates out of sync, but when we are in sync we experience feelings of peace, acceptance, happiness, and joy. The most important thing (above diet and rest at number 2 and 3) is to unbusy your life. Take your To-Do List and circle the absolute fewest priorities for the day or the week, and place everything under the “If I Get to It, I Get to It List.”

When you unbusy your life, you choose to unbusy your mind!

In any given moment, take a few deep breaths and ask your mind this question:

“What am I actually doing right now?”

Answer yourself by relaxing, letting go of tension, and ENJOYING the moment you are in NOW – it’s the doing, the people, the talking, the view, listening to the sounds of kids yelling, screaming, crying, laughing, giggling, WHATEVER it is that you are doing in that moment and FEEL how all seems right in the world, in this moment right here. And give yourself an opportunity to actually FEEL THE PEACE no matter what kind of “chaos” is going on around you.

I hope you find my perspective and wisdom helpful. May your moments be merry and bright this season!  Leave your perspectives and wisdom below!