In recent years, we’ve been hearing a lot about gut health, the gut microbiome, and probiotics, but experts say, your baby’s gut health is just as important. In fact, researchers are learning more each day about the infant gut microbiome, the role breastfeeding plays, and the connection to colic, sleep, allergies, autoimmune conditions, and more.
In this episode, I sat down with Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh, a nutritional scientist with over 15 years of experience in scientific communications and life science research. Dr. Shafizadeh currently serves as the Director of Scientific Communications at Evolve BioSystems, the parent company for Evivo® probiotics for babies.
We talked about why baby’s gut health matters, what newborn gut deficiency is— and how to tell if your baby has it—and why having a c-section or taking antibiotics during pregnancy can alter a baby’s gut microbiome. We also talked about why women pooping during childbirth is actually a good thing, if babies need probiotics, and how to choose the best one.
3:34 Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh talks about her story, why she became interested in gut health, and what her work looks like today.
6:59 The increased interest of infant gut health and the new connections pediatricians are making between issues like colic and the gut microbiome.
8:47 What researchers are uncovering about poop and a baby’s gut microbiome.
10:50 Babies are born without a gut microbiome but during childbirth, they’re exposed to their mom’s gut microbes through her poop—known as a fecal-oral transfer.
12:10 C-sections mean babies are not exposed to mom’s gut microbes.
13:10 Antibiotics for group B Streptococcus (group B strep) during pregnancy can disrupt the transfer of gut microbes from mom to baby.
16:30 If taking probiotics after a round of antibiotics during pregnancy can offset the negative impact.
17:47 Other factors that can affect the gut microbiome before and during pregnancy, and as a result, a baby’s gut health.
20:07 The role breastfeeding plays in infant gut health and why 15% of breast milk is indigestible by babies.
22:43 Whether infant formulas made with human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are just as good as breastmilk.
25:03 The long-term consequences for babies who lack b.infantis.
28:35 The definition of newborn gut deficiency, how common it is, and how to find out if your baby has it.
34:31 If a baby doesn’t have b. infantis, if it’s still necessary as they get older.
36:51 How parents can choose among the various types of infant probiotics.
46:08 Ways moms can promote optimal gut health in utero and during infancy.
47:36 What vaginal seeding is, and if moms should do it.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
Dr. Shafizadeh mentions this January 2021 study that shows 90% of babies are missing B. infantis.
Dr. Shafizadeh talks about this March 2021 study that shows the nutrients in breastmilk that are indigestible by babies are there to feed B. infantis.
Dr. Shafizadeh mentions this June 2021 study that shows activated B. infantis influences immune system development in infants, and therefore, may reduce the risk of allergic and autoimmune conditions later in life.
Dr. Shafizadeh talks about this April 2021 study that found 70% of rural Old Order Mennonite (OOM) infants in Rochester, NY had B. infantis in their guts.
Dr. Shafizadeh mentions that ACOG does not recommend vaginal seeding.
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