Our tummies are an amazing part of our living system and play an important role in the gastrointestinal system (gut) where lots of bacteria live, both good and bad.
- The majority of your body’s immune system is located in your tummy.
- 95% of your body’s serotonin (serotonin is a type of chemical that helps to send messages from one area of the brain to another) is located in the tummy – giving you that ‘gut feeling’.
- Approximately 100 trillion bacteria live in your tummy.
- The type of bacteria (the good and the bad) living in your tummy is influenced by a variety of factors like, stress, antibiotic use, mode of delivery, diet, disease, gestational age at birth.
- Having the right type of bacteria in your tummy is important for your health and wellbeing.
- In pregnancy, it is now known that a very small amount of tummy bacteria is transferred to your growing baby via the umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid and placenta. But the type of bacteria in their little tummy is largely influenced during their birth and beyond.
- The initial development of the bacteria in your baby’s tummy (the good and the bad) is as a result of their exposure to bacteria in the vaginal canal during birth and your skin and the environment shortly after their birth.
- The mode of delivery (caesarean v vaginal) can affect the initial development of the type of bacteria in your baby’s tummy.
- In a baby, the wrong balance of bacteria in their tummy can increase their risk of things like allergy, gastrointestinal infections, constipation, diarrhoea and general digestive discomfort.
- Breastfeeding plays an important role in the development of the right balance of good bacteria in your baby’s tummy.
- Breastmilk contains at least 200 different prebiotic oligosaccharides, which help the growth of the good bacteria in your baby’s tummy.
- During the toddler years (1-3years) the balance of the different bacteria (the good and the bad) in your baby’s tummy is closer to that of an adult’s tummy bacteria.
- Temporary disruption to the balance of bacteria in your toddler’s tummy may occur due to a variety of reasons like their diet, illness or medication they may have had to use.