Baby’s Digestive System: From Womb to Toddlerhood

Coming into the world is experiencing a new life out of the womb. Indeed, a baby’s digestive system from womb to toddlerhood also experiences different changes. Certainly, a baby inside the belly is delivered everything through his/her mom via the placenta. Primarily, the function of the placenta is to deliver oxygen and food (nutrients) from the mother’s uterus to the baby. Thus, here the digestive system of the baby adapts biologically through the fluctuations outside the womb. Let’s understand the digestive systems of the child in and out of the fetus.

Digestive Activities Inside the Womb and Changes Thereafter-

The placenta carries all the food and nutrients to the baby’s body inside the womb. Your baby's stomach is extremely little (about the size of a marble), and his/her digestive system is not used to consuming anything other than what was provided to him via the placenta. As a result, newborns may lose up to 10% of their body weight in the first few weeks following birth.

Because of the small size of your baby's stomach, he will require frequent feedings, whether through formula or breastmilk. Breastmilk is biologically designed to be high in fat throughout your baby's first few weeks of life. This is to guarantee that your baby gets adequate calories to gain weight.

Another advantage of using breastmilk is that your newborn baby's pancreas is still developing. This implies your baby's body produces much less digesting enzymes. Breast milk includes enzymes that compensate for this deficiency.

After a few days, your baby's tummy will expand to about the size of a ping-pong ball. However, he will only be able to carry up to 60 ml at a time. Your baby may also vomit up regularly till he is three months old or older. This is due to a weak and immature lower oesophageal sphincter that separates the stomach from the esophagus.

Issues of Digestive Lining in Babies-

The digestive system of healthy children and adults contains a layer of mucus that protects the gastrointestinal tract from microorganisms and other toxins found in the foods and beverages we ingest. Infants have a very thin and undeveloped barrier, putting them at a higher risk of infection.

Fortunately, breastmilk contains antibodies that protect your baby until his gut mucosal lining matures and he is able to make his own antibodies (about six months of age). According to studies, your infant can transmit your body pathogens through nursing, allowing your immune system to produce antibodies against that germ and help protect your baby.

As if that weren't enough, breastmilk has been shown to assist engineer your baby's gut, which may have a long-term impact on his health. The antibody SIgA contained in breast milk assists your kid in establishing the proper population of gut bacteria. This keeps your infant healthier now and may lead to fewer chronic ailments as he grows older.

By What Time a Baby’s Digestive System Developed Fully?-

Initially, a baby’s body takes its biological time to develop slowly and gradually. Thus, to the commencing six months, the newborn's body is fine to digest breastmilk. However, post that perhaps after 6 months the infant is started with puree/semi-solids. Thus, around about 9 months after birth, the digestive system is developed to digest solid foods or alternatives other than breastmilk. However, it is to note that every child is different from the others and might take up more time than expected.

Why Your Baby Needs to be Fed with Breastmilk until 6 Months?-

When you eat, you may be tempted to feed your infant a morsel. However, if your infant is less than six months old, this may not be a wise choice. This is because, no matter how eager or prepared your baby is, his digestive system may not be. Your baby's body will not be efficient enough to manufacture the appropriate number of enzymes to digest starch in food until he is six months old.

Also, bile salts and lipase, which aid in fat digestion, do not mature until six to nine months of age. This gut will allow the proteins to flow from the small intestine to the bloodstream in their entirety. This will also help antibodies from mother's milk enter the bloodstream; but, if large molecules of food or other pathogens pass through it, allergies or infections may occur.

To The Bottom Line-

Certainly, the infant’s body takes a little time to adapt to changes outside womb. Thus, a baby’s digestive system develops over time. And after birth, your infant will have an 'open gut' by four to six months of age. So, be mindful about nourishing them.