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30% of infants gut bacteria may come from the mother’s breast milk and another 10% has been traced to the skin around the mother’s nipple. There is a specific type of prebiotic found exclusively in breastmilk called human milk oligosaccharides that have been shown to set up the early infant microbiome. The bacteria around the skin of the nipple also appears to be important for seeding the infant microbiome. While this study did not examine health consequences of breastfeeding, other studies have found that it is important for immune system development and may protect against obesity.

To learn more about the role of breastfeeding in setting up the infant microbiome and more generally about how to have a healthy microbiome during adulthood listen to (or watch) my podcast (video/audio) with microbiome experts Drs. Justin and Erica Sonnenburg. YouTube: https://youtu.be/gOZcbNw7sng iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sonnenburgs-on-how-gut-microbiota-interacts-our-bodies/id818198322?i=1000351247766&mt=2

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