How A Mother’s Role is Important in a Child’s Gut Health

Your child’s gut can be a host to trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, collectively known as the microbiome. Scientists at Abbott have been studying the impact of the microbiome on the developing immune system of children for the past two decades. Here are our experts’ answers to three common gut health questions from parents and friends.

Why are the beginning years critical to building immunity?

Seventy percent of our immune system is in the gut so it’s important that a child gets important ingredients like prebiotics. When gut bacteria are properly nourished, they can grow, diversify and multiply – all of which help to strengthen a child’s immune system.


What can parents do to foster their child’s gut health?

Parents can help by getting their kids to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables by modeling the behavior themselves. Throw in a couple of healthy snacks like carrots & dip or apples & nut butters to help kids feel full and get in daily requirements of fat and protein. Try cheeses for calcium if they cannot tolerate regular milk.


How can parents take care of their own gut health?

As it is important for children, it is also important to feed them the right food and ensure the beneficial bacteria thrive for adults. These 3 things you can be for you and can be customized to be more fit for your child too while you are at it:

  1. Diet
    Eat lots of fruits and vegetables because they are rich in fiber and prebiotics that feed intestinal bacteria. Yogurts are also another natural source of probiotics. The nutrients in these foods nourish and help protect your overall immunity.
  2. Antibiotics
    These are not needed unless medically necessary – Taking them just for the sake of it can upset the balance of your gut flora. If you need antibiotics, ask your physician about them and other probiotic supplements to take after you recover to help restore any impact to your gut health.
  3. Exercise and Stress
    Stress is universal in affecting gastrointestinal systems negatively. Every day, make sure you find ways to reduce stress, for yourself and your children, and fit in exercise to help relax and stay fit. Doing so can protect your immune system.