Your baby’s guts might be why they’re so fussy!

Some new research from Finland has proven a link between the microflora in babies’ guts and the amount of fussing or crying that they do. The Turku Univeristy Hospital in Finland has shown that there are some microflora which actually seem to protect against fussing and crying – the more of them that are present, the less crying the baby does.

The low down on gut microbiota

  • Formerly known as ‘gut flora’, gut microbiota represents the total amount of bacteria that is found the intestine of a human being.
  • There are well over a thousand species of microbes found in the digestive tract. Many are actually beneficial and in fact necessary to help us digest foods and process vital substances.
  • Gut microbiota is not present when infants are born. Instead, through exposure to air, eating and growth, these bacteria gradually appear.
  • It is estimated that only in the third year of life will a child will get the gut microbiota that is usually present in an adult.
  • Another important role of gut microbiota is protection, as it performs the part of a blockade against diseases and pathogens. Just having the gut flora there in infants is part of the development of the entire immune system.

A few more details on the study

The findings of the study conducted by the Finnish scientists showed a direct link between gut microbiota and infant crying. The research involved 88 infants and it focused on all types of crying, including colic. The bacteria was analysed during the first 6 months of the infants’ lives and the results speak for themselves. When strains of Bifidobacterium was present, there was less crying. In fact, the more Bifidobacterium present, the less a baby would cry.

Another interesting fact is that strains of the bacteria are commonly found in breastmilk, which is another advantage of breastfeeding (although babies who are formula fed can get the bacteria via other means too).

So what does this mean for our babies? 

Well first of all, it’s interesting that there are some links between a babies’ guts and their disposition because it once again shows that all babies are different. Some babies will fuss more than others. Some babies are harder to settle. Some babies are naturally more settled.

The researchers have concluded though that more research is needed. We don’t really know why some babies have different guts to others and finding out is just one of the ways that we can get more useful information about how to get our babies to sleep and settle more easily.

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All the best


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