Two weeks into motherhood I found that “Does fiber pass through breastmilk?” is not the correct question to ask. And I know. In early motherhood it’s like, how do you know what questions to ask. It’s frustrating. I get it. However asking this question will get you a no 100% of the time and maybe a ‘momma, you silly’ comment unfortunately.

“Does fiber influences the human milk oligsacarrides?” Is the correct question to draw some question marks in the room.

“Granny. TT. Y’all were right. I ate some butter beans and cornbread yesterday an’ now my baby gassy!“

It is traditional for maternal elders to pass down dietary guidelines for nursing mothers to prevent gastrointestinal distress in their babies. And it was for great reason without the technology.

So mom, you are not going crazy!

Pregnant momma, pay attention to your baby. All babies will not react the same. My child has colic- like symptoms at 2 weeks and went away by the time she was 3 weeks. My changes were ingesting fermented foods and increasing my fiber intake— especially my type 4 resistant starch that’s been ‘clinically studied’ to help with IBS, colic, and constipated patients.

Green Banana + Lions Mane Powders

My journey brought me to a path of understanding what to include in my diet to create a powerful therapeutic breastmilk tailored to my Littles. And it works till this day. Hopefully it helps the next mom. This knowledge is nothing knew, just taught with newer and harder words to pronounce! Our elders has passed it down before. Listen to them and gain more insight to add onto it along the way.

Secretor or Non-Secretor Status In Momma

Knowing your secretor status is a step further in understanding if our babies receiving all components in our milk. It is reported that 80% of the population are “secretors” while 20% are “non-secretors”. Breastfeeding mothers lies somewhere in between these numbers.

A secretor is an individual with the ability to secrete their blood type antigens into their bodily fluids like sweat, saliva, mucus, and breastmilk.

Whereas a non-secretor is an individual who secretes little to no blood type type antigens into their bloodily fluids.

In relation to breastmilk, mothers with the ability to secrete their blood type antigens carries a functional FUT-2 gene that allows them to produce a unique set of protective sugars called FL-2. This ability allows mom to secrete a diverse set of HMOs.

Nonsecretor moms have a non functional FUT-2 gene. Instead they carry the FUT-3 gene that produce different sugars in their breastmilk. The known advantage to this mutation is its resistance to HIV and rotoviruses.

Human Milk Oligsaccarides (HMO)

Human Milk Olgisaccarides is the third largest component in breastmilk and are considered indigestible sugars.

It’s 2 main purposes are:

1. To act as a “decoy” in order for pathogenic bacteria to bind to these sugars and into our Little’s diapers

2. To bypass the digestive system to nourish the growing colonies of microbes located in our little ones gut and colon; creating short chain fatty acids

Bifidobacteria, Akkermansia, Bacteroides and other groups the key players of chowing on HMOs. And their main benefit seems to protect our babies from gut dysbosis commonly seen in adults.

Breastfed babies regardless of secret status have the natural ability to receive unique sugars to help reconstruct the gut wall, feed the growth of beneficial bacteria, and improve overall immune function.

Poor digestive and neurological functionality is unfortunately common in eumelanin babies. The access to poor health care and ethnic based nutrition is part of the cause to our infant mortality rate. Pregnant mothers and growing families may have the chance to avoid half of our downfalls by giving our babies the milk designed for them. It’s something to think about, because within that first year… realistically your body isn’t just yours anymore.

Maternal Diet, Fussy baby, and HMOs

There are around 200 types of HMOs that are influenced by gene, age, stage of lactation, ethnicity, and diet. The secrete status of the mother is the current main determinant of HMO concentrations in our milk.

Based on momma’s diet, Fl-2 milk is shown to have a spectrum of fiber, antioxidants, complex sugars and more compared to Fl-3 milk . The main nutrients that influenced the quality and amount are a variety of carbohydrates and polyphenols from maternal diets!

Now what grandma said may not be completely false afterall.

There are growing studies that shows the relationship of mothers gut microbiomes and preference of childbirth influencing the gut microbiome in breastfed babies.

Another post will be made on this, but for now…

C section babies born to mothers with a poor gut microbiome (eg. Antibiotic exposure, poor lifestyle choices, poor dieting) are more likely to experience digestive problems whether they are formula fed, breastfed, or both. The severity varies.

With a poor introduction to a healthy gut flora from the start, then introduction to breastmilk from a mother who has a diet high in gassy foods ( eg. beans, cruciferous vegetables), there may be a connection as to why our babies experiencing IBS, GERD, eczema, and other related digestive symptoms in our young ones.

C section and with/or poor maternal gut health who carries the FL-3 gene means less HMO exposure for their baby’s gut to produce a diverse microbiome. This may leave room for pathogenic bacteria to thrive.

This may explain why both scenarios are less likely to have the beneficial bacteria to produce short fatty chain acids for optimal digestive health.

Studies have not been conducted but let’s use modern science, gran gran wisdom, and our intuition. Even though science can not tell us by how much our diet is effecting our milk, we often can tell immediately by our baby’s digestive system that our bean or broccoli intake ain’t agreeing with each other due to several variables.

Formula Fed Infants and HMO exposure

“Formula is never complete. If you are substituting a living food, do your best in supplementing the missing components in formula to mimic our breastmilk as close as you can”

In this case supplementing with “fortified” prebiotics and natural prebiotic foods acts as HMOs by increasing the beneficial bacteria in our infants guts.

The only formulated infant milk brands in North America are Enfamil NeuroPro and Byheart formula. And with Byheart they had a formula recall in December 2022 due to Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria contamination. So they aren’t on the shelves for now.

Now studies show fortified prebiotics mixed into formula show a similar gut composition compared to full breastfed babies. Foods rich in prebiotic Inulin and resistant starch has been shown to increase several types of bacteria such as Bifidobacteria, known for reducing digestive and bowl dysfunctions in infants.

With the help of a holistic pediatrician and research from the parent, parents can find several prebiotics on the market for infants. This may be a bit expensive but parents can start incorporating nutritious foods to support the growth of these bacteria’s. This includes banana’s, plantains, onions, garlic, dandelion root, chicory root, or burdock root.

Also administering probiotics that’ll flourish with prebiotics may help improve the digestive systems born to c section/formula babies.

About the Author Sol Divyne

Sol Divyne is a multi-cultural mother who practices intuitive, traditional, and ancestral living in modern day life. Using the knowledge of her Geechee grandma and aunt, she focuses on raising her daughter with old and modern traditions. She figured with her discoveries and passions she could help other families with and without her community on spreading awareness of low tox and cultural living by documenting her findings on GeecheeGreenHouse

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