As a medical professional with a profound interest in nutrition and a baby on the way, I was excited to receive this book for Christmas from my mother-in-law. I dove into it right away!
Right from the start, I knew this book was going to be a great resource for me, and become a recommendation to patients and friends who are expecting and/or have young children.
Babies don’t do much besides eat, sleep & poop. So, in order to know as much as possible about how baby is feeling we need to look at how they perform these 3 things. Digestion is a complicated process, and one of the leading causes of pediatrician visits. Looking out for number two is an extremely well-written book taking an evidence based approach to how to set your baby's gut up for success - all in a non-shaming, guilt-free way. The author, paediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Bryan Vartabedian tackles hot button items such as the microbiome, breastfeeding, formula, allergy development, immune system and more in a way that makes you feel informed to make the best decision for you + your baby + how your birth and the early months and years unfold.
Here is an excerpt from the book about some things to keep in mind about just how important the intestinal tract of your baby is:
1. It’s the ultimate source of nutrition. That is . . . after the placenta. Before birth the placenta gives your baby all the nutrients she needs. After delivery, the gut takes center stage to replace what your placenta was doing.
2. It’s part of the immune system. The gut plays a key role in the development of a healthy immune system. In fact, most of a baby’s immune cells are in her intestines.
3. It’s a hormone factory. It may sound surprising, but the process of digestion is under heavy hormonal control. Depending on what your baby eats, the tummy hormones released will vary. Gut hormones shape things like hunger, fullness, and how hard the gallbladder squeezes.
4. It holds on to fluids and minerals. The intestines are key to holding on to liquid to meet a baby’s basic fluid needs.
5. It’s home to the microbiome. As we’ll learn, the bugs found within the intestinal tract play a key role in helping a baby adapt to a world full of foreign things.
6. It has its own brain. There may be some truth to the accusation of having your brains in your arse. The intestines are home to a vast network of nerves rivaling those found in even the spinal cord. This enteric brain, as it’s called, is critical to digestion and the elimination of the stuff we don’t need.
7. It’s a work in progress. Your baby’s gut goes through several months of growth and development as it adjusts to the new outside world and all its nutrients.
[source: Dr. Bryan Vartabedian's looking out for number two: a slightly irreverent guide to poo, gas and other things that come out of your baby]
This book enables all parents to be equipped with the science + tools you need to make important decisions for your baby.
I recommend this book to all expecting parents or parents of young children.
- Dr. Alli Cain