From Moms Across America
By Michelle Pero, MD
Infertility, surrogacy, changing family structures, low milk production, inhospitable and toxic environments, stress, and a myriad of other factors are impacting breastfeeding babies. From the perspective of the baby biota, moms are the microbial stewardesses, passing on the collection of microorganisms that will direct much of the baby’s biology, and in particular, their immunological future. Vaginal births and breastfeeding ensure the inheritance of moms’ microbial wisdom to be passed onto the infant.
But as we are all well aware, one-third of American babies are now born via Cesarean Section. With the changing landscape of parents and pregnancies, many babies are not receiving the best source of infant nutrition, especially with a lens on the microbiota, whether from the acquisition of microorganisms from a vaginal birth and/or nursing.
However, there is some good news to be shared! Nearly one-half of US moms are still nursing six months after birth. But according to the USDA, 80% of 3-11-month-old infants are fed some formula. The addition of infant formula to the baby’s diet introduces undesirable toxicants present in many formulas such as:
- High fructose corn syrup (Never good!)
- Artificial essential fatty acids (extracted with toxic hexane)
- Perchlorate (found in rocket fuel)
Sadly, this is an incomplete list.
Infant formula contains perhaps only one of the human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs – prebiotic lunch for the microbes), whereas mother’s milk may have up to 50 HMOs. Is there an amenable solution to infant formula?