New study suggests pumped breast milk isn’t as beneficial to your baby as you think.
A new study published in Cell Host & Microbe found that breast milk from women who pumped tended to have more potentially bad bacteria than women who only breastfed.
The team of researchers looked at 400 samples, and while there was a wide variation of microbial balance at play, they noticed a common theme.
Milk from mums who pumped were higher in certain bacterial families (stenotrophomonas and pseudomonadaceae).
“To our knowledge, this is among the largest studies of human milk microbiota performed to date,” said senior study author Meghan Azad, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and a Canada research chair in developmental origins of chronic disease at the University of Manitoba.
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“Contrary or in addition to the hypothesis that milk bacteria come from the mother’s gut, our results suggest that the infant’s oral bacteria are important in shaping the milk microbiota,” Azad continued.
“Our results suggest that both the act of pumping and the lack of contact with the infant oral cavity may independently influence the milk microbiota, although we cannot definitively distinguish between these related factors, nor identify the sources of the exogenously derived bacteria in the expressed breast milk.
“Nevertheless, based on lower richness associated with indirect versus direct breastfeeding in both manually expressed and pumped milk samples, we speculate that exposure to the infant oral cavity has a persistent impact on shaping the milk microbiota community.
“Further research is needed to characterize this “retrograde inoculation” process, and to explore the possible impact of pumping on the microbiota of expressed milk.”
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