Why Bacteria in Breast Milk are so Important

I’m delighted to have written a guest blog for Rhitrition about breastfeeding and the friendly bacteria in breast milk (called the breast milk microbiome). As a mother of two children, I know from personal experience that breastfeeding can be tough and demanding but also very rewarding. As a former paediatrician, I’m a strong advocate for mothers to be supported without judgement however they chose to feed their baby. Equally, I do think it is vitally important for mothers to have unbiased, science backed information so that they can make an informed choice about feeding. There are a number of key reasons how breast milk is different to formula milk, and I’ll talk through why this is important. Even more astonishingly, there is even a difference between microbiome in pumped breast milk and direct transfer from the breast. I talk through does mix feeding matter, if mixed feeding is as good as breastfeeding, and how formula milk changes bacteria.

This photo was taken moments after the birth of my first child, right at the start of my breastfeeding journey.

The microbiota refers to all the microorganisms including bacteria that live in breast milk.

In summary this article includes:

  • what are friendly bacteria in the gut?
  • why do bacteria matter?
  • where do bacteria in breast milk come from?
  • does it mixed feeding matter?
  • is mixed feeding as good as breastfeeding?
  • how breast milk is different to formula milk
  • pumped breast milk and changes to bacteria

If you are looking for more information about what to eat after a baby and beyond, check out my book ‘Postpartum Nutrition: An Expert’s Guide to What to Eat After a Baby‘.

is mix feeding as good as breastfeeding

If you are currently breastfeeding, you might find my FREE meal planner and micronutrient checklist helpful. I designed this planner and checklist, so that you don’t have to hunt for reliable information. Instead you will have it all to hand in an accessible format, to help you eat well during breastfeeding.

I also have science backed nutrition books that you can find in my shop here.

Have you seen my articles on starting weaning, and vitamins for children.

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