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Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
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Infant Development: How Your Baby Grows and MaturesInfant Parenting: Keeping Your Baby Healthy and HappyInfant Safety: Keeping Your Baby SafeInfant Enrichment: Stimulating Your Baby
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CDC Updates Zika Guidance for Infant CareHigher Doses of Vitamin D May Boost Preemies' Bone HealthHealth Tip: Avoid Baby Sleep PositionersHelping Preemies Avoid Unnecessary AntibioticsProtecting Preemies From Stress Might Improve Later Mental Health'Sleep Positioners' a Danger to Baby: FDAClinical Exome Sequencing Useful for Critically Ill InfantsTdap Given in Pregnancy Protects Infants From PertussisWhooping Cough Shot Works, But Many Moms-to-Be Skip It: CDCHealth Tip: Breast-feeding May Help TeethHeart-Lung Fitness Challenged in Early Full-Term BabiesHealth Tip: Is Your Baby Teething?Pediatricians Increasingly Aligned With Breastfeeding GuidelinesHigher Cigarette Taxes May Mean Fewer Infant DeathsHealth Tip: Design a Non-Toxic NurseryParents Getting Better at Using Car Seats SafelyVision Problems Common in Babies Infected With Zika'Modest at Best' Discriminatory Ability for CBC Test in InfantsDoes General Anesthesia Affect Babies' Brains?Health Tip: Avoid Juice Before Age 1Race/Ethnicity Shown to Factor Into Quality of Care in NICUHep B Vaccine Should Be Given Sooner: Pediatricians GroupSome Newborns Don't Get Heart Defect, Hearing Loss TestsAnti-Vaccine Info in Pregnancy May Delay Infant ImmunizationToo Many Babies Still Placed on Stomach to Sleep: StudyAnti-Vaccine Family Members, Friends Spur Many Moms to Delay Baby's ShotsIncrease in Survival Without Severe Disability for PreemiesParents of Preemies End Up Just Fine: StudyCharacteristics of Diabetes in Infancy ExploredLow Blood Sugar in Newborns Tied to Brain Problems LaterHealth Tip: Don't Use Sunscreen on NewbornsPicky Eater? It Might Just Be Your Child's PersonalityIs Infant Drug Withdrawal Likelier When Opioids Used With Psychiatric Drugs?Alarms Could Save Children From Being Left in Hot CarsMaking the Most of Childhood Wellness VisitsMRI Approved for Young Infants in Intensive CareCan Fetal Alcohol Damage Be Undone?Impaired Eyesight May Be First Sign of Zika Damage in BabiesHealth Tip: Getting Toddlers to Try New FoodsWidening 'Race Gap' in U.S. Infant DeathsHealth Tip: Are My Toddler's Eating Habits Normal?Probiotic Supplements Failed to Prevent Babies' InfectionsHealth Tip: When Children Grind Their TeethA Baby's Skin No Match for the SunTissue Testing Can Spot Zika at Birth: CDCCould You Raise a 'No-Diaper' Baby?Health Tip: Considering Bed Sharing?Medical Costs Soar for U.S. Babies Born Addicted to OpioidsMany Preemies Don't Struggle in SchoolBabies' Fascination With Faces May Start in the Womb
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Another Reason to Breast-Feed: It's Good for Baby's Belly

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: May 8th 2017

new article illustration

MONDAY, May 8, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers have been told for years that breast-feeding is best. Now researchers say they've found a new way it helps babies -- by planting good bacteria in their digestive system.

For the study, the researchers assessed 107 breast-feeding mother-infant pairs. The investigators found that 30 percent of beneficial bacteria in a baby's intestinal tract comes directly from the mother's milk, and 10 percent comes from skin on the mother's breast.

"Breast milk is this amazing liquid that, through millions of years of evolution, has evolved to make babies healthy, particularly their immune systems," said senior study author Grace Aldrovandi. She is a professor of pediatrics and chief of infectious diseases at UCLA's Mattel Children's Hospital.

"Our research identifies a new mechanism that contributes to building stronger, healthier babies," she explained in a UCLA news release.

Also, babies who are breast-fed every day even after they begin eating solid food continue to benefit in the form of a growing population of beneficial bacteria linked with better health, Aldrovandi and colleagues said.

Previous research has shown that a balanced bacterial community in the intestines plays a major role in protecting against immune diseases.

For example, children who develop type 1 diabetes have abnormalities in their gut's bacterial populations. And healthy bacteria in the gut appears to provide lifelong protection against allergies, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, the study authors noted.

"We're appreciating more and more how these bacterial communities -- particularly in the intestine -- help guard against the bad guys. We know from animal model systems that if you get good bacteria in your gut early in life, you're more likely to be healthy," Aldrovandi said.

The study did not examine how children who are fed only formula acquire healthy bacteria in the gut.

Aldrovandi's team wants to do further research in this area, including how bacteria provided through breast-feeding play a crucial role in infants' immune responses, and which beneficial bacteria are missing in people who have certain diseases.

The findings were published May 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on breast-feeding.