Did you know that the evolution of microbes has allowed different forms of life to develop on Earth? Microbes, such as bacteria and viruses, are not only the cause of disease, but also play an important role in maintaining life and health. Microbes also play a key role in the development of a child's immune system. Before birth, the mother's body prepares for the birth of the baby through changes in the microbiota of the birth canal, among other things. Evolution has evolved a protective mechanism that allows the child to receive its first natural 'protective vaccine' against pathogens in the outside world during the prenatal period. The second protective dose is provided by nutrients and microbes in the mother's breast milk. If the birth is by caesarean section, it is worthwhile strengthening the child's immune system in the early years of life by focusing on lifestyle, including strengthening the connection with nature. There are also indications that the child's body can be supported in this case by transferring microbes from the mother to the child's skin.
The important first 3 years of life
When a newborn baby is born through the womb, the mother's birth canal transfers beneficial microbes into the baby's body to help keep the baby healthy. The baby's gut, skin and respiratory epithelial cells are home to a variety of microbes that work together with the immune system. For example, gut microbes digest food and produce important neurotransmitters, while skin microbes can produce things like lactic acid, which regulates the skin's pH, or proteins that are essential for skin function. The microbes living in a child's body form a coherent microbial ecosystem called the microbiome. The microbiome continues to develop and change throughout life, but during the first three years of life, commensal microbes are introduced into the child's body and can play a major role in shaping the microbiome.
Strengthening the microbiome supports the normal functioning of the immune system 🔬
It has been noted that the incidence of hypersensitivities, allergies and autoimmune diseases is on the rise, as today's children are born into a microbial environment that is completely different from for example their grandparents. The pollution caused by various chemicals has increased and the microbiota in the environment has also become depleted as rural life has given way to urbanisation. Food production, building techniques, landscaping of urban environments and even the keeping of domestic animals have changed in the past decades and have also affected our microbial environment. Fortunately, however, we can support the development of a balanced microbiome and immune defence by paying attention to lifestyle. By favouring a varied diet rich in vegetables, adequate protein and good fats, and reducing our chemical load, we can already do a lot. Finnish researchers have also shown that by modifying the microbiota in the environment to make it more diverse, positive changes in the human microbiome can be achieved. Read more about a kindergarten study that brought forest fitness to kindergarten playgrounds.
How to support your child's microbiome and immune system
♡ Hug and stroke your baby
Cuddling and stroking your child lowers stress levels for both child and parent, and in itself strengthens the immune system and supports the child's brain development. Hold, stroke and kiss children of all ages (within the child's limits)! Moi Forest Baby Cream is also a wonderful way to pamper your child while supporting their immune defences. The cream protects and nourishes the skin while Reconnecting Nature™ microbial extract helps strengthen the microbiome. Rub the cream on your child's back or the soles of their feet in the evening to soothe them into a restorative sleep from the day's activities.
♡ A trip to the forest is good for both the child and the parent
On a forest hike you can experience the calming power of nature and if possible, let your child roar and romp freely in the forest. With older children, it is fun to build huts or climb trees and pick blueberries or other forest produce. At the same time, you get a healthy dose of the beneficial effects of the forest, including forest microbes and the volatile oils produced by the plants.
♡ Wash in moderation
You should only wash or treat your baby's skin when necessary and without unnecessary chemicals. It is not necessary to bathe your baby more than 1-2 times a week and it is a good idea to reduce the frequency of baths, especially if your baby's skin is dry. Washing your baby does not necessarily require detergents either, but if necessary you can wipe the skin with a damp towel with a little coconut oil. You can also put a few drops of vegetable oil in the bath water if you wish. Excessive washing should be avoided in order to keep the skin's own protective hydrolipidic film intact and the microbial balance of the skin healthy.
♡ Choose gentle cleaning and laundry detergents
For laundry, dishwashing and cleaning, use products that are as natural as possible. Children's skin and the whole body can react sensitively to strong detergents. A baby crawling on the floor or a toddler playing is also in contact with various cleaning products used in the home, so mild and gentle products are the way to go to reduce the chemical load. Washing nuts, baking soda and vinegar, for example, can help, but there are also product ranges on the market that pay particular attention to maintaining the microbial balance of the home environment. Products from the Probiotic Craft brand are very gentle and contain probiotics that are proven to be good for humans. And remember, it doesn't always have to be so clean! Microbes from the outdoors, especially from a trip to the woods, are good for you and will positively diversify the microbiota in your home.
♡ Animal contact 🐶
Pets also diversify the microbiota in the home and give a good workout for your child's immune defence. If it is not possible to take animals home, it is worth visiting pet homes with your child or farms that are open to the public. If the neighbour's dog kisses your child or your child decides to taste an earthworm, there's no need to panic - your child's immune system will gain valuable information about its environment.
Your child is perfect just the way he or she is and it is our job to work together to help more sensitive individuals get the support they need in the immune defence development process. ♡