A newborn baby has a sterile intestine. But recent studies believe that its intestine has already been colonised while in the womb (bacterial imprinting). Once born, however, the intestine undergoes rapid, massive colonisation by bacteria. Many factors influence the type and quality of this colonisation: genetic factors, premature birth, weighing less than 2000g, natural or Caesarean delivery, breastfeeding or bottled milk, infections and antibiotic treatments.
The baby’s immune system and consequently its ability to protect itself against upsets and illnesses depend on these factors. So it is important that, from birth, the intestine be kept in a healthy condition. Probiotic supplements, such as Bifidobacteria, taken regularly, can help maintain the balance of bacterial flora, so the harmful bacteria do not overcome the “helpful” ones.