The first months of an infant’s life are a vital time. From the moment of birth, a baby is bombarded by a world full of viruses, bacteria, and fungi — some of which are friendly, some can cause serious illness.
It is this time when the baby's immune system is learning how to tell the good pathogens from the bad and beneficial gut microbes are being added to a little one’s immature system.
One natural immune fortifying ingredient found in breast milk has been isolated and identified. It is a complex sugar and the third most abundant solid component after lactose and lipids, it is referred to as human milk oligosaccharides or HMOs.
Emerging research, such as human milk oligosaccharides nestle, has suggested that HMOs are extremely important in the first months of life. HMOs are enhancing the development of the intestinal microbiota and support immune protection in infants, because the gut is where 70% of an infant's immune reaction resides.
Numerous studies have concluded that infants have had a lower incidence of infections, including respiratory tract infections, and long term obesity as compared with those fed baby formulas without HMO representation.
As with gut and immunity, the first 1,000 days of a newborn's life are crucial for brain development. Another important bioactive component of HMOs in breastmilk is associated with improved cognitive and enhanced brain development parameters.
Garnering much attention are studies that have shown a direct relation to the amount of HMOs in breastmilk in the first few months of feeding, to significantly higher cognitive development scores in babies by two years of age. They also indicate that daily exposure of HMOs will be extremely beneficial in growth and development.