The Micro Flora Element of Skin to Skin

When it comes to your skin, squeaky clean is not necessarily best. Although it’s easy to equate a good lather with good health, the well-being of our entire system is dependent upon the right balance between good bacteria and potentially harmful bacteria. Our bodies contain literally millions of healthy micro flora (otherwise known as bacteria) everywhere from our skin to our mouths and gastrointestinal tracts. For these microbes to keep our systems healthy, we need to keep them in balance. This is especially true in your baby’s skin which is still developing and more vulnerable than adult skin.

The healthy colonization of bacteria on baby’s skin occurs during the first 48 hours after birth. The micro flora transferred from mom to baby during initial skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth is essential to the development of baby’s healthy immune system. This proper colonization of baby’s skin helps optimize immunity and could minimize risk of diseases and by hospital-borne infections like MRSA.

An-out of-whack bacterial system can lead to stomach troubles, rashes and other uncomfortable flare-ups. Poor diets, stress or antibiotics all have the potential to offset this delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When it comes to skin, a key function of our healthy micro flora is to keep the harmful bacteria at bay. Balanced skin does this in two ways: First, the good micro flora take up most of the available surface space, leaving little room for problem-causing microbes to grow; Secondly, beneficial bacterial produce acids that keep skin pH low, creating an inhospitable environment for most disease-causing bacteria.

Using probiotic-enriched products on your own skin – both before and after baby is born – can help develop and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria at the optimal pH level. Make sure you’re supporting balanced micro flora by using healthy skin care products on your little one too. Seek out products for you and baby with a pH of 5.5, with no proteins and that are free of artificial fragrances and mineral oil.

To help ensure that your baby is getting ample quantity and quality of the right micro flora, consider using probiotic products on your own skin during pregnancy and ensure skin-to-skin contact after birth for as much of the first 48 hours as possible, and at the very least, aim for that critical first hour after birth.

Published on: July 18, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Kim Walls
Kim Walls, M.S., is the mother of two young boys and a serial entrepreneur. Kim has recently launched a new website - to educate expecting parents about the value of skin-to-skin contact in the newborn period.
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Good article. The transfer of bacteria from mother to infant is an important process. Apparently, bacteria transfer via the vaginal canal is also essential.