Where do babies get their bacteria?

The first few months of a baby’s life are an important time for many reasons, but especially so for their gut microbiome. Our resident microbiologist Dr Kate, PhD (Food and Microbial Sciences), BSc (Hons) Medical Microbiology, explains why exactly this period is so special when it comes to the gut, and how to give your little ones the best start.

Did you know that a baby’s first exposure to bacteria comes from their mum during birth?

Research has shown that up to 60% of a baby’s microbiome reflects their mother, regardless of delivery method(1). However, typically, a vaginally born baby will harbour most of their microbes from their mother’s gut, and a baby born via caesarean section will have microbes more closely mirroring the mother’s skin and breast milk.

A healthy baby’s gut microbiome is made up primarily of a type of bacteria called Bifidobacteria. These bacteria help with the natural development of a baby’s gut, immune and general health. Pregnancy and early life are key periods for a baby’s gut microbiome – they offer a window of opportunity to build a foundation of Bifidobacteria in the gut, and to support the development of both current and future wellbeing.

There is no right or wrong way to give birth – it all depends on what is safest and most appropriate for a mother and her child. Babies born via C-section may not have the same levels and types of good bacteria as a vaginally born baby, because babies are exposed to a mother’s good bacteria in the birth canal. This helps to 'seed' the development of good bacteria in the infant gut.

However, many other factors can impact a baby’s microbiome development, including stress, poor diet or antibiotics during pregnancy – and often this is unavoidable. These factors can affect babies born vaginally and via caesarean section. Therefore, regardless of delivery method, mothers may find it beneficial to use a friendly bacteria supplement themselves during pregnancy, and to support their little ones post-birth.

"I used Optibac Pregnancy throughout my two pregnancies, and gave Baby Drops to both of my little ones. I had a C-section myself and I knew that friendly bacteria would be a great support to me and my children." - Dr Kate

Birth and early life look different for every mother and child – so let Optibac be a constant.

For Pregnancy

During pregnancy, your body undergoes numerous changes, including fluctuations in hormone levels and shifts in your digestive system. 

Optibac Pregnancy offers targeted support during this crucial time and uses the best researched friendly bacteria for pregnancy. Optibac Pregnancy has been carefully developed for during pregnancy, breastfeeding and post birth.

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For Your Baby

As you welcome your precious bundle of joy into the world, nurturing their health becomes your top priority. Optibac have developed a friendly bacteria supplement especially for your baby - perfect for your little one's developing digestive system.

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  1. Bogaert, D., van Beveren, G. J., de Koff, E. M., Lusarreta Parga, P., Balcazar Lopez, C. E., Koppensteiner, L., Clerc, M., Hasrat, R., Arp, K., Chu, M. L. J. N., de Groot, P. C. M., Sanders, E. A. M., van Houten, M. A., & de Steenhuijsen Piters, W. A. A. (2023). Mother-to-infant microbiota transmission and infant microbiota development across multiple body sites. Cell Host & Microbe, 31(3), 447–460.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2023.01.018