The Importance of Good Gut Health when Weaning
For the first 6 months of life, all your little one knows is breastmilk and formula – things that are pretty bland and easy enough to swallow. Their little bodies have just about mastered the art of the liquid diet, when all of a sudden they’re met with a new challenge: solids.
Not only do their mouths need to learn how to chew and push food around, but their digestive systems have to figure out how to process new textures and flavours. That’s why it’s so important that we properly care for our little ones’ guts through this journey.
Little tummies, big impact!
Our gut plays a larger part in our lives than most people realise. While its main job is to digest and absorb food, removing any waste in the process, it also has an impact on our overall health.
Research has shown that well-balanced guts in those first few years of life can have an effect on allergies, obesity, and other conditions later on in life. Your baby’s microbiome develops hand-in-hand with their immune system, so for the latter to develop properly, you need to ensure their gut is happy and healthy!
The gut’s role in weaning
Your baby’s gut is working hard behind the scenes throughout the weaning journey. As those first solids are introduced, the gut’s job is to absorb important vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fats that you’ve fed your little one.
Its next job, of course, is to remove any of the waste leftover from this. A healthy gut will be able to keep bowel movements regular and prevent constipation or diarrhoea.
While dealing with the food itself, your baby’s gut is also keeping up a conversation with their brain. Millions of nerves send messages between the two, including chemicals that control feelings of fear and also happiness. A healthy gut therefore makes for good mental health, too!
By the end of their weaning journey, your child should have a microbiome more closely resembling an adult’s. From here on out, it becomes a lot more stable and a lot less flexible, so ensuring the gut is healthy and balanced in those early years is vital.
How to look after your baby’s gut health
The main way to ensure the development of a healthy gut is through a well-balanced, nutrient-filled diet. Ensure they have an adequate amount of fibre-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds. Certain foods, such as sweetcorn, onions, garlic and oats contain prebiotic fibres – these are particularly good at feeding the friendly bacteria in baby’s tummy.
We know that a nutrient rich diet looks good on paper, but doesn’t always end up as planned. Your little one may decide they don’t like certain flavours, foods or textures, and trying to work things like probiotic-rich foods into their diets can prove challenging. However, probiotics are an excellent way to maintain a healthy, functioning gut. You should therefore consider introducing a probiotic supplement into their diet instead.
BioGaia’s Protectis Baby Drops are specially designed to provide your little one with all of the probiotic goodness they’ll need as they wean and grow. To find out more about the role of probiotics in weaning, and how they help to maintain a healthy gut, check out BioGaia’s blog.