The 4th Trimester doesn’t appear to be one that many people including many parents are aware of. So what is it? It is the next 12 weeks after giving birth to your baby where there are sooooo many emotional and physical changes that occur. A newborn also has to get used to its new and changing environment outside the womb. These weeks are so beautiful and such an important time with bonding and learning to ropes when it comes to breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Just remember, they are trying to get to know you too! It also has its challenges too, with a disturbed sleep, an unsettled baby….it can all be quite tiring really. It is such a HUGE learning experience for the baby and parents. You think about it, they have been in a warm comfy environment for 38 plus weeks ready to face the outside world, we can’t expect them to just know how to feed, sleep and sooth themselves. Adjusting can be really hard, I know…I have been there myself – Twice! Understanding there is a transition period and it may not be all smooth sailing, especially if you like things a certain way. It’s important to embrace the changes to your new lifestyle without placing too many expectations onto you or your baby. Always ask for help if you need to!
Immune and Digestive Development in Newborns and Kids:
Our babies immune system and gastrointestinal tract isn’t completely developed and ready to face the world, especially if there are other factors that have impacted their development such as:
1. Premature labor – babies born prematurely haven’t been able to get the last few weeks of when the lung and digestive tract development is still maturing.
2. A mother and fathers digestive and immune health.
3. Vaginal or C-section birth – vaginal births have a positive impact on a babies gut microbiome (healthy bacterial strains) compared to babies delivered via C-section. As a baby born naturally gets bacterial strains as it passes through the birthing canal. Research has shown the difference between the vast difference in beneficial gut bacteria in vaginal births compared to a C – section. Many of us didn’t have the option to do this, however it plays a role in a child’s developing gut and immune health.
4. Pre natal vitamins – the quality of a pre natal product is really important for the development of the immune system and lungs also. Extra supplementation in areas is required when there are genetic factors such as food intolerances, allergies, asthma and low iron. Additional supplements may include Vit D, Iron, Iodine or folinic acid.
Common symptoms I see presenting in newborn babies:
- pain, discomfort and wind
- green poo in nappies
- a distraught mother unsure what to do
There are many effective ways to support a baby and child’s immune and digestive development. The goals focused on are:
- Support digestive enzyme production (processing of fats, proteins and sugars)
- Reduce inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract
- Promote beneficial bacterial strains to support the mucous membrane layers throughout the digestive tract.
- Calm a hyper sensitive immune response.
- Support and encourage Mum’s and Dad’s by implementing a safe and effective plan to support their child’s health.
Whether your child is breastfed or bottle fed you can support a healthy growing and learning gut microbiome to support your child’s health now and long term.