A new study suggests another breastfeeding benefit, i.e., preparing baby's belly for solid food.
Researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and UNC College of Arts and Sciences had a close examination of gut bacteria to look at breastfed babies’ transition to solids and potentially an early life with fewer stomach woes.
For this study, the researchers collected stool samples and information about the diets and health of nine babies as they grew from ages 2 weeks to 14 months. They applied genomic sequencing techniques to the stool samples, the scientists deduced the types and functions of the bacteria in the babies' gut microbiomes.
They found that a baby's diet during the first few months of life has a profound influence on the composition, diversity, and stability of the gut microbiome. The babies who are fed only breast milk have microbial communities that seem more ready for the introduction of solid foods.
On the other hand, the transition of solid foods was observed much more dramatic for the microbiomes of babies that are not exclusively breastfed.
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