Did you know that your baby has a diverse community of friendly organisms in their belly?  Starting from their mouth (oral microbiome) right through to their lower digestive system… there are trillions of live helpers working hard to keep your baby healthy and support their development.

Your baby’s gut microbiome starts emerging right from the time they are in your tummy, during birth and throughout their childhood.  The amazing thing is that YOU, their parents and carers, can do so much to help your baby’s gut microbiome develop in a healthy way.

We like to think of this friendly microbiome as a garden.  The most beautiful gardens are diverse and plentiful. You want to see lots of different healthy plants and flowers of all different colours.  Not just tulips or roses… but a diverse array of vibrant plants that make it visually appealing.  And certainly not too many weeds!

The same goes for your baby’s microbiome in their digestive system.  The diversity and variety of this developing gut microbiome is really important for their health.  Just like a garden, if you can support a healthy gut microbiome full of lots of different friendly flora, there’s less room for the “weeds” to grow.

So why is this gut microbiome so important?  Here are some of the key findings from research:

  1. Our gut microbiome keeps our digestive system happy and healthy.  A good digestive system is important for absorption of our essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and protein.
  2. If our gut microbiome is happy, our digestive system can work more optimally – meaning we can absorb all the amazing nutrients in our food needed for growth, repair and brain development.
  3. The gut microbiome helps to fuel our brain health. That’s because we absorb essential nutrients needed for a healthy brain in our gut. And even more fascinating, the gut microbiome helps support production of healthy brain chemicals like serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter.
  4. Our friendly gut microbiome ferment fibre in our food, and create special compounds called short chain fatty acids which help to control our metabolism, balance inflammation in our body and talk to our immune system.
  5. A diverse and robust gut microbiome is linked with a reduced risk of many illnesses and diseases in later life – including diabetes, autoimmune problems, depression and obesity.

It’s amazing to think that what you feed your baby can have such an impact on their future health!  What an incredible gift you can give your little ones.  Diet is one of the few ways that we can positively support a healthy gut microbiome, and when it comes to weaning, you can literally feed the gut microbiome with every bite!