Protecting Baby From Eczema Starts In Pregnancy

Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Lactobacillus rhamnosus. One of the fascinating little critters that live in your gut to help keep you healthy. Image credit: Citizendium.

Probiotics are fascinating little things. Babies get their first mouthful from their mother’s vagina as they make their way out into the big wide world and continue to colonise their digestive system with the health promoting bacteria through breastmilk and skin contact with other people. It makes sense that birthing a baby through a healthy probiotic rich vagina and snuggling that baby on healthy probiotic rich skin and feeding that baby healthy, probiotic rich breastmilk will give that baby a healthy gut flora and keep the unhealthy bacteria under control. It’s a little less obvious (though used by natural therapists in this way for a while now…) that the probiotics a baby gets from it’s mother can also reduce the risk of that baby developing allergic type health problems  such as eczema, as shown in this study published last week  in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

About the study

Researchers said it’s possible that probiotics – which help to balance bacteria in the gut and prevent disease-causing strains from spreading – may influence babies’ health through immune cells that cross the placenta and then are later passed on through mums breast milk.

lead author Samuli Rautava of Turku University Central Hospital, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology says “Prevention regimen with specific probiotics administered to the pregnant and breast-feeding mother, that is, prenatally and postnatally, is safe and effective in reducing the risk of eczema in infants with allergic mothers”  ie. Probiotics are safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding and they do work to prevent eczema.

The study involved 241 pregnant women, all who had a history of allergies which would put their babies at high risk of  eczema and other allergies. They were given one of two different probiotic strains. either Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Bifidobacterium longum given as a powder mixed with water once a day, or a probiotic free placebo powder.

The study ran through the final two months of pregnancy and the first two months of breastfeeding. Researchers then tracked their babies’ health for two years to see how many developed rashes.

By the end of the study, 71 percent of babies in the placebo group had had eczema at least once compared to 29 percent of babies whose mother took either of the probiotic combinations.

26 percent of  kids in the placebo group were diagnosed with chronic eczema, compared to 10 percent and six percent, respectively, of those in the two probiotic groups.

However, by age two the study didn’t show any obvious advantage to the probiotic use in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

“(The study) really shows a reduction in eczema from probiotics, which is such a simple and easy intervention for mothers,’ said Ruchi Gupta, an allergy an eczema researcher at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

But she said it was still too soon to see if that reduction in eczema will be tied to a drop in asthma and more serious allergies later on, and Rautava himself said it was still not yet possible to make recommendations for routine use of probiotics.

Rautava and his colleagues didn’t find any evidence of probiotic-related side-effects in either mums or their babies, which is comforting news.

I’d like to point out that probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods and are easy to get from your diet if you make the effort. That’s a post for another day though…

Natural therapies, kids and gastro

Urg!!! Just when I thought the medical dramas were over and done with, my martial arts trainer brings her baby over to play while we train and baby comes down with gastro the very next day. Sigh. I wait for the inevitable and what d’ya know? My baby comes down with it 9 days later, followed by me, my eldest son and then my husband. Not fun!!! I have not had such a cleansing experience in years (TMI? Sorry, I’m a naturopath).

Continue reading “Natural therapies, kids and gastro”

Wearing Your Baby- Not Just a Fashion Accessory

Babies need a lot of attention and there’s a great way you can have your baby with your all day, hands free. Imagine being able to cook, clean, shop, and play with your other children all while you baby is safely snuggled up against you. Well you can do that and more with the art of baby wearing.

Most people have seen the large backpack carriers that used to be very popular, but babies can now be worn in lots of different positions using several kinds of popular carriers.

There are many different types of carriers that you can get. The kind of carrier you want depends on how you want to carry your baby. There are tons of different choices; so research before you decide which kind you want.

Being worn in a sling is good for your baby. Here are just a few benefits your baby gains by being worn during the day:

  • Most babies cry less when they’re being worn; up to 50% less. This is because they’re always close to Mum. They’re also constantly getting new images to process and understand, so they’re less bored
  • The constantly changing stimuli when being carried helps to stimulate your baby’s brain and promote neural development.
  • Babies who are worn by their parents tend to form a stronger bond with them; this is because they always feel safe and secure.
  • Being able to feel Mum’s heart beat and body functioning helps the baby’s biorhythms develop faster. This means they get on a schedule faster and easier

Baby wearing is not only great for your baby; it’s great for you too.

  • Wearing your child gives you the comfort of having them there with the convenience of being able to use both your arms.
  • With a baby sling, you can breastfeed your child without using your hands.
  • You don’t have to haul around and annoying stroller or car seat when you’re out.
  • You get a great weight-bearing workout from carrying the extra weight.
  • Being with your baby all the time helps you learn their normal cues. Then you can anticipate when they’ll need to be fed, changed, or cuddled.

While baby slings and carriers are considered safe for you and your child,  there are some precautions you should take.

  • If you carry the baby on your hip or to one side, change sides and directions regularly so you don’t cause yourself back and hip problems.
  • Make sure you’re using a carrier or sling that is appropriate for the age of your child and the way you carry them.
  • If you don’t feel confident with it practice with a doll or teddy bear before you start carrying your child. This will help you learn to watch their head and to take other precautions to keep them from being injured.
  • Don’t wear your baby while in the car; they should be in an appropriate car seat.

If done safely and properly, wearing you baby in a sling or carrier can be a great way to bond with them, comfort them, and get all your chores done all at the same time.

The shop has a good range of baby carriers at variety of prices starting from just $39.95AUD. I happily ship overseas at cost price, so feel free to take advantage of our struggling Aussie dollar. I have tested all of these carriers with my own and only sell those that I have found to be easy to use and comfortable to wear for long periods of time.