Moms know best

A baby’s initial exposure to bacteria – whether good or bad – is through the vaginal canal during childbirth. Thereafter, it’s strengthened by breast milk. If a mother has a healthy microbiome, then their newborn has a healthy start towards one as well. Make sure you build your microbiome through a balanced diet. If possible, breastfeed for as long as you can past the essential first six months. Breast milk has beneficial microbes and essential sugars that feed and nourish probiotics so they can thrive.

Mix it up

A diverse microbiome means a child has a wide range of nutrients to use. As research has proven, children with richer and diverse microbiomes are more curious, positive, social, extroverted and impulsive. To achieve this, you simply need to vary your child’s balanced diet.

A good place to start is probably your grandmother’s kitchen. For centuries, African households understood the power of fermented foods and with good reason. Fermented foods are breeding grounds for probiotics (good bacteria) so get that family recipe for fermented porridge or sour milk for your family to sip on.

Yoghurt and raw apple cider vinegar are also rich sources. Pair fermented/probiotic foods with prebiotics that is, indigestible fibre rich foods, for a richer experience. These foods include bananas, oats and honey.

Avoid overmedicating

Antibiotics, whether prescribed or present in foods such as meats, can wipe away good bacteria even as they sweep out harmful bacteria. So swap them with natural remedies where possible and keep them at a minimum. You can, however, give probiotic supplements to complement your child’s organic probiotic intake.

Playtime

Children need to play outside. This exposes them to diverse and healthier microbes not present in food for a re-enforced immune system.