One of the most important things Moms can do for the health of their newborn babies is to breastfeed them for as long as possible. Breast milk provides an ideal mix of fats, protein and vitamins, nearly all the nutrition your newborn baby needs from the get-go (with the possible exception of vitamin D).

New Moms should breastfeed their babies exclusively for at least six months, and in combination with solid food until age 1 at minimum, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Not only does breastfeeding provides babies the basic nutrition they need, it works to “seed” their developing gut microbiomes with the bacteria, giving them a natural boost to their immune systems that can protect them from disease.

A gut health boost

How much does breastfeeding really help your baby’s gut health? A recent JAMA Pediatrics study led by UCLA researchers tracked the health of 107 Moms and their babies, collecting samples of breast milk, stool samples from infants and skin swabs around the nipple for an entire year to find out.

Scientists learned that breast milk accounts for nearly 30 percent of the beneficial bacteria in a baby’s gut and an extra 10 percent from skin contact with a Mom’s breast.

Plus, the gut microbiomes of babies who were mostly breastfed were a little more diverse compared to infants who were breastfed less.

“We’re appreciating more and more how these bacterial communities, particularly in the intestine, help guard against the bad guys,” says Dr. Grace Aldrovandi, a professor of pediatrics and chief of infectious diseases at UCLA’s Mattel Children’s Hospital, according to a press release.

“We know from animal model systems that if you get good bacteria in your gut early in life, you’re more likely to be healthy.”

What if you can’t breastfeed?

Despite the many benefits breastfeeding provides Moms and their babies, some health conditions require specific prescription drugs — not to forget chemotherapy for cancer treatments — that prevent women from doing it.

Plus, your baby may need an antibiotic to fight common infections, although you’ll want to guard against exposing their growing bodies too often to them.

Moms can still give their babies a gut healthy boost whether they can breastfeed or not with the help of multi-strain probiotics made just for them like EndoMune Junior.

Each dose of EndoMune Junior contains four strains of beneficial bacteria plus a prebiotic that can be easily sprinkled onto foods or added to liquids to protect and enhance their developing gut health.