2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Lucas Cranach the Younger "Mercy" (XVI century)
Canadian scientists have found that several different factors affect the microbiota of a woman's breast milk, the most important of which is the way of feeding. So, having studied almost 400 milk samples, they showed that in the milk of a woman who uses a breast pump to express, there are more pathogenic bacteria and fewer bifidobacteria. The article was published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
In the first few months of life, the baby feeds on breast milk or a special formula similar in composition to breast milk. As with any human fluid, breast milk contains bacteria that help build up the infant's gut microbiota. However, the microbiota of breast milk itself can be influenced by many different factors, including the mother's nutrition, physical and mental health.
Scientists led by Meghan Azad of the Children's Hospital of the Research Institute in Manitoba, Canada decided to study these factors in more detail. Their study involved 393 young breastfeeding mothers who provided samples of their breast milk, as well as data about themselves (body mass index, age, dietary habits, race), child (gender, method and date of birth, birth weight, presence of siblings and taking antibiotics) and preferred feeding method.
Proteobacteria (about 67 percent) and firmicuts (about 24 percent) were the main microbiota of women's breast milk, of which streptococcus, staphylococcus and Ralstonia bacteria were most common. At the same time, the milk of different women significantly differed from each other in terms of the composition of the microbiota.
Among the factors that influenced the composition of the breast milk microbiota, scientists identified the presence of two older siblings of the child, his gender and the mother's body mass index. The most significant factor influencing the composition of the breast milk microbiota was the feeding method: regular breastfeeding or expressing milk using a breast pump. In particular, in the breast milk of women who use a breast pump for breastfeeding, more enterobacteria were observed, which include known pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. At the same time, "beneficial" bacteria from the genus of bifidobacteria (antagonists to pathogenic bacteria) were less common in such milk.
The authors note that while they found significant differences between naturally derived milk and pumped milk, and concluded that the microbiota of expressed milk may be potentially more harmful to the baby, conclude about its effect on the health of the baby is impossible. This requires further research into the impact of different breastfeeding practices on child health and development.
Several years ago, scientists found out that oligosaccharides contained in breast milk have antibacterial properties: in particular, they limit the formation of films in some species of streptococci.