Baby & Breast: Perfect Together

gut health and mood rethink health snippet

Healthy Gut

If we want healthy guts, we have to develop a collective consciousness about the origins of the microbiome. Knowing how something is made helps you to fix it when it’s broken. So, here’s what we know:

  • Antibiotics, pesticides, birth control, and vaccines may all negatively affect a woman’s microbiome over the course of her life
  • When she becomes pregnant, this microbiome is transferred from her entire alimentary canal to the fetus, during gestation
  • Vaginal birth provides a foundational microbial exposure
  • Breastfeeding after a vaginal birth supports the continued development of the infant gut and immune system

Breastfeeding does this through at least two ways – enteromammary transfer of bacteria from the mom’s gut through the breastmilk and provisioning of oligosaccharides or prebiotic sugars specifically designed for that infant’s gut bacterial growth.


Thanks to a new analysis by Al-Shehri et al, we have a third way that breastmilk completes the task of establishing that microbial template, and it’s another example of the importance of the mother-infant dyad. The cocreation event of growing and birthing a human is seamlessly supported by a breastmilk-infant salivary complementarity.

What Al-Shehri found was that infant saliva actively reacts with breastmilk to:

  • Generate reactive oxygen species through the interaction between infant salivary hypoxanthine and xanthine (10 times higher levels than adult saliva) and milk xanthine oxidase. This serves to limit the growth of potentially opportunistic pathogens like Staph aureus and Salmonella.
  • Furnish growth precursors (nucleosides/bases) that support gut cell growth as well as beneficial bacteria such as Lactobacillus.

They conclude:

“Milk thus plays more than a simply nutritional role in mammals, interacting with infant saliva to produce a potent combination of stimulatory and inhibitory metabolites that regulate early oral–and hence gut–microbiota. Consequently, milk-saliva mixing appears to represent unique biochemical synergism which boosts early innate immunity.”

Seeing as how we now understand that the gut microbiome is the puppeteer of our entire human organism, determining risk for autoimmunity, psychiatric and neurologic pathology, metabolic dysfunction, and cancer processes, it’s a beautiful thing that the sanctity and complete irreplacebilty of natural birth and breastfeeding is being elucidated. Don’t let Big Pharma (or your Pharma-repping OB or pediatrician) tell you otherwise. This wolf in sheep’s clothing is trying to get you to open the door and there’s nothing friendly on the other side. Believe in the natural order. You have what it takes.

For breastfeeding support, check out:

Milk Share

Human Milk for Human Babies


Breastfeeding Inc

La Leche League

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About Dr. Kelly Brogan

KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your OwnOwn Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. Learn More