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Mom and baby share “good bacteria” through breastmilk

A new study by researchers at the University of Manitoba and the University of British Columbia (UBC) has found that bacteria are shared and possibly transferred from a mother’s milk to her infant’s gut, and that breastfeeding directly at the breast best supports this process.

The research, published today in Cell Host & Microbe, found that certain bacteria, including Streptococcus and Veillonella, co-occur in mothers’ milk and their infants’ stool, and this co-occurrence is higher when infants nurse directly at the breast. 

“Gut microbiota development in early life impacts long-term health and breastfeeding is among the most influential factors affecting this process,” said Dr. Meghan Azad, a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease at the University of Manitoba, and co-director of the Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC) at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. 

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