The 3 B’s of Early Onset Allergies
Eczema and food allergy rates have been rising for a generation. Most families are completely surprised to see their baby suffering from rashes, colic, tummy pain, or mucousy poops. \he infant gut biome, and whether it’s made up of healthy or less healthy bacteria, can be a big reason for early onset allergies and their symptoms.
Here are 3 B’s parents can focus on to reduce the risk of early onset allergies.
Study after study has shown that birth method - vaginal vs c-section - is a risk factor for early onset allergies. Babies who are born vaginally pass through the birth canal which coats them in a rich bacterial mix from their mom. Babies also seem to swallow fluid during birth that adds healthy bacteria to their mouth, throat, stomach, and intestines.
When babies are born by c-section, they bypass this bacteria transfer. Instead, the first things a baby comes into contact with are the gloves from a doctor, and mom’s skin bacteria. Some countries will now allow parents to use clean gauze to collect bacteria from mom’s birth canal and swab it onto a baby’s mouth and skin. Another way to replace this missed bacteria is an infant probiotic.
Breast milk is an efficient way for mom to transfer healthy bacteria to her baby. Some bacteria comes directly through the breast milk. Other bacteria comes from mom’s nipple as a baby is suckling at the breast. Lastly, the unique sugars, called human milk oligosaccharides or HMO’s, found only in breast milk, are the best food for healthy bacteria in a baby’s stomach.
Breastfeeding has been shown to be associated with lower rates of allergies, though the data is a bit mixed. This may be because not all breast milk is equal, and every breastfeeding relationship can look different. A supplement that gives mom the nutrients and bacteria to produce richer breastmilk, complemented with an infant probiotic that uses the breast milk has been shown to reduce the rates of eczema in infants.
For baby’s who are formula-fed, it is possible to supplement formula with manufactured HMO’s and healthy infant bacteria. These probiotics will replace bacteria that is not transferred through the breast milk, and feed them the HMO’s they need. Mother’s can also allow their infants to suckle at the breast for comfort, as this will still transfer healthy bacteria from mom to baby.
Bovine, or cow’s milk is the root material of all infant formula. Studies have shown that infants who are fed formula in the first two weeks of life are more likely to develop allergies. Conversely, infants who are fed some formula after 1 month of age, are less likely to develop cow’s milk allergy.
If it’s possible to properly time the introduction of cow’s milk into a baby’s diet, this may help reduce the risk of early onset allergies. However, if it is not possible, supplementing formula from birth with a combination probiotic + HMO may help counter the effects.
While the 3 B’s are not the only risk factors for early onset allergies, they are the biggest. Thankfully, advancing science and new supplement options can help reduce a baby’s risk of early onset allergies.
Related: learn more about probiotics for newborns and infants and how they can help develop stronger immune system.