Kickstart Your Kids’ Gut Health

The early years of a child’s life are an absolutely crucial time for the formation and development of their microbiome.

The human microbiome is made up of microbes that live on and inside us, mostly in our gut, and it’s unique to each of us, like a fingerprint.

We used to think these microbes were passengers just along for the ride but we now know they are so fundamental to how our body works that they are actually a part of who we are!

If the WRONG microbes get into our children’s gut in their early formative years, it can set them on a path of illness not only throughout their childhood but for the rest of their lives.

Our microbiome is a spectacular wonder of the natural world. It’s the unsung hero of the human body, keeping us strong, both mentally and physically.

Take a look at What Is My Microbiome And Why Does It Matter? and Brain Health Begins In The Gut

When everything goes right, the development of a child’s microbiome is like wondrous poetry in motion that Mother Nature has been honing for thousands of generations! It works something like this:

  • As a baby is born it picks up microbes during its passage through the mother’s birth canal. The mother’s microbiome has changed during pregnancy to prepare for this.
  • Yes, the natural birth process is messy and icky but this is exactly what the baby needs, as it picks up the right bacteria to ‘seed’ its microbiome.
  • It’s thought that baby’s immune system is deliberately dampened down slightly to allow these friendly bacteria to get established. This prevents the WRONG bacteria getting in there instead.
  • Baby’s new microbiome is topped up several times a day through breastfeeding. Human breastmilk is the ultimate superfood containing a mix of friendly bacteria and special food for those specific bacteria. Again this prevents the wrong bacteria getting established and taking over. The good bacteria get fed via Mum’s milk and the bad ones starve.
  • As the child transitions to solid food the microbiome moves into the next phase. Different friendly bacteria start to play a larger role, ready to support digestion of a wide variety of foods.
  • Throughout this time the friendly bacteria are playing a crucial role in the development of baby’s metabolism, brain and immune system.

What Can Hijack A Child’s Microbiome?

There are a number of very common things that can upset this process, with potentially serious repercussions:

  • Mum’s microbiome: baby takes most of its vital, first microbes from mum, so if her microbiome is ‘broken’, baby’s starting point will also be less than ideal.
  • Caesarean births: studies show that babies born via C-section start off with random bacteria from the hospital, rather than the special ones from Mum. ‘Swabbing’ baby with microbes taken manually from Mum may help to counter this!
  • Bottle feeding is unavoidable sometimes but manufacturers of formula milk are still nowhere near replicating the Mother-Nature-Genius of breastmilk.
  • Antibiotics are, without question, absolutely vital at times but they come with a cost that is rarely discussed. Every dose of antibiotics is like a nuclear bomb going off inside a child’s (or adult’s) microbiome and it causes insidious long-term fallout, just like a nuclear explosion. Check out The Shocking Ways Antibiotics Can Destroy Your Health
  • A bad diet of heavily processed food, too much sugar, processed carbohydrates, bad fats and empty calories. It doesn’t help that food manufacturers and junk food companies deliberately target our children and design their crap to be as appealing as possible to a kiddie’s palate.

Once a child is past infancy and onto solid food, in general the things that screw up their gut are the same things that screw up a adult’s gut, which I talk about more here Why Your Gut Is Broken

A child can easily get into a negative cycle of illness resulting from a damaged microbiomewhich leads to the doctors prescribing antibiotics, which causes more damage to the microbiome, which in turn weakens immunity and leads to yet more antibiotics being prescribed. This can trigger childhood (and lifelong) obesity, diabetes, autism, Attention Deficit Disorder and a life of ill-health.

Action Steps

Here’s the good news: the human microbiome can bounce back from even the worse start. Here are some steps you can take to reboot your kiddies’ gut bugs:

  1. Try to not have them take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary, while always being guided by your doctor. It’s a difficult balancing act for a parent as it’s scary when your child gets ill. The temptation to press your doctor for antibiotics is enormous. I personally haven’t taken antibiotics since 2013 when I started on my gut-fixing journey but as soon as my loved-ones are sick, I find myself thinking about antibiotics again.
  2. Introduce some fermented food into your kids’ diet and give it to them on a daily basis. Options like yogurt and kefir can be mild in flavour and appealing to children.
  3. Give them a probiotic daily. Specially formulated products for infants and toddlers are available. These have been shown to reduce common conditions like colic, diarrhea and eczema!
  4. Keep their diet as ‘clean’ as far as possible. The word ‘clean’ has been overused and abused to death but don’t lose sight of what it really means. I explain more here: Clean Eating: More Than Just An Elitist Fad Of course it doesn’t help that as soon as children get to school they trade the healthy items you carefully prepared for their lunchbox for some processed crap their buddies brought in, but we gotta try!
  5. Explain to them that we need to look after the little magic microbes inside us. Explain that these little invisible bacteria are our friends and that if we look after them they’ll keep us safe. Explain that it’s a bit like looking after a special pet.
  6. Set an example to them by eating the right foods!

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
WE LOVE TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS AND QUESTIONS!

Whenever you’re ready to become a fully-fledged Gut Geek™ here are 4 ways we can help you heal your gut, get your sh*t together and transform your health

1. Subscribe to receive regular strategies and hacks that you can use TODAY

All our blogposts and social media are focused on bringing simplicity to the baffling world of nutrition and supplements. We also provide easy-peasy action steps that you can use to start seeing immediate improvement. Subscribe to get the very best of our content straight to your inbox!

2. Follow our daily social posts and video stories religiously

Our content is produced in a combination of written posts and video stories, all neatly tied together around the topic of the week. This gives you constant learning in manageable, bite-sized chunks.

3. Join us for a live online workshop

Head to our workshop registration page for info on our next free online training, and get ready to geek out

4. Join our coaching program

There’s nothing like 1-on-1 coaching to massively accelerate your progress and achieve the results you dream about! We’ll create your very own personalised gut-healing roadmap and then guide you through it. Just send us a message telling us a little about your current challenges and what you’d most like help with and we’ll get right back to you.

7 thoughts on “Kickstart Your Kids’ Gut Health”

  1. This was very informative. I knew some of the facts about birth from my studies as a doula and birth worker but clicked over to your linked article about antibiotics and that was a big eye-opener! Definitely will keep that all in mind.

  2. This is totally fascinating! I read a bit about their ‘virgin gut’ when we were doing baby led weaning but this is loads of new information I hadn’t heard about!

  3. These are great tips for kid’s gut health and very informative. I like to feed my daughter kefir and sauerkraut and she loves them. I don’t think people realize how important gut health really is and how it’s affected, so thank you.

Let us know what you think

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this article

Help spread the word! Every share matters.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp
Share on linkedin

Other recent blog posts

Fix Your Gut to Fix Your Weight: 6 Dead-Easy Steps

There’s a big piece of the weight loss puzzle that you may not have considered: your gut bugs, also known as your microbiome. More and more studies are linking an unhealthy microbiome to being overweight.

7 Stress Busting, Gut Soothing Strategies

Our bodies aren’t build for the near-constant, low-level stress that seems unavoidable in modern life, and our gut in particular suffers as a result. We dive into 7 effective strategies that can help you turn things around.

Does The Food We Eat Affect Our Gut Bugs?

You might think it’s a statement of the blindingly obvious to say that the food we eat affects our microbiome. But then consider that doctors in the UK, US and similar countries receive no training in nutrition, the most important way to care for our microbiome.

Four Powerful Steps to Reverse Autoimmune

Autoimmune conditions bring misery to an estimated 20% of the population. Conventional wisdom is that they are incurable but many people are beating these conditions by healing their gut. Let’s see how they’re doing it.

The 3 Things You Need to Know About Fibre

Fibre is crucially important to the long term health of our microbiome and therefore our entire body, but did you know that if our gut is already in a bad state, eating high-fibre foods can actually make us worse?

5 Steps to Successful Detox!

If our gut isn’t functioning properly we end up carrying around a lot more toxins on a daily basis than we should be. These toxins can drastically affect the way we feel, lowering our defences to illness and contributing to chronic inflammation around our body.