FX Medicine

Home of integrative and complementary medicine

Insights into breast milk microbiome

Project Description: 

In this infographic we look at exciting discoveries, which truly change our understanding of maternal breast health.

There can be little argument that breastfeeding is the best source of early nutrition for babies.This unique matrix of essential nutrients, immune complexes and growth factors make breast milk the most complete form of nutrition for human infants.

However, did you know that breast milk, once considered to be completely sterile, is also an important source of commensal bacteria? Recent studies have shown that breast milk provides essential probiotic bacteria required to colonise the infant gut and influences normal gastrointestinal function and immune system maturation. These same probiotics are also important for breast health. In fact, any disturbance to mammary bacterial balance puts breastfeeding mothers at a greater risk of infectious lactational mastitis.

Studies have shown that the oral administration of certain strains of probiotics have effectively treated lactational mastitis and appears to be a worthwhile consideration for prevention and treatment.

The discovery of the entero-mammary pathway, a unique biological transport route, allows for the safe transfer of specific bacterial species from the maternal gut to the breast tissue and ultimately to breast milk and the infant gut.

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