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The Benefits of Understanding the Baby Microbiome

Abstract: Understanding the Baby Microbiome 

How important is it to understand the baby's microbiome? This post will explore what we know so far about the baby microbiome, and concludes by highlighting that in order to keep the very sensitive skin of infants as healthy as possible finding out more about the composition of the baby microbiome is crucial. 

What Do We Know About the Baby Microbiome 

The skin is the human body’s largest organ. The skin microbiome is made up of an organic ecosystem of trillions of bacteria that sit on the surface of the skin. It acts as a barrier against the threats and infections posed by the outside world, and works in a team to keep your skin healthy by fighting infection, supporting the immune system, healing wounds and controlling inflammation. Therefore, the microbiome needs to remain dynamic and responsive to the changing environments throughout the human life cycle. 

This is also true for the baby microbiome, and an infant’s exposure to environmentally sourced microbes may vary across different settings. It is interesting to consider how differences in childcare practices across sociocultural contexts could play a part in differential microbial exposures, for example, those linked to hygiene practices, attending daycare, and physical contact with siblings (Manus et al, 2020). 

At Birth 

Fetal skin is colonized by surrounding microorganisms immediately after birth. There are a variety of factors at birth that can influence the skin microbiome. 

Firstly is the mode of delivery. In vaginally delivered newborns, the skin’s bacterial signature resembles the mother’s vaginal bacteria. Whereas newborns delivered by cesarean resemble the bacteria relating to the skin. Moreover, newborns delivered by cesarean were found to have reduced skin microbial diversity (Dominguez-Bello et al, 2010). 

A second factor is whether the newborn is carried to full term. Where a newborn is born prematurely, the overall variety of species of skin bacteria and the relative abundance of the community are likely to be lower than babies born full-term (Pammi et al, 2017). However, it is important to note that the regional differences between preterm and full-term infants disappear after the first month of life. 

Maturation of the Infant Microbiome 

Within the first 6 weeks of life, the significant re-organization of the infant microbiota is primarily driven by body site, rather than by the mode of delivery (Chu et al, 2017). 

More significant differences have been discovered between the infant and maternal stool. Amazingly, it has been found that the baby microbiota becomes very similar to that of the adult by just the fourth week of life (Gaitanis et al, 2019). 

The Benefits of Understanding the Baby Microbiome   

Baby’s skin is known to be especially sensitive, highly prone to inflammatory conditions like eczema and dermatitis, and susceptible to infections such as candidiasis. The key benefit of understanding the composition of the baby microbiome is that strategies, for example, specific prebiotics and probiotics targeting the skin, can be developed to prevent the excessive growth of opportunistic pathogens and help us to ensure the baby's skin is kept healthy. 

Sequential Bio is a testing company with years of expertise in the field of skin microbiome and genetics. We utilise deep molecular analysis and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology to understand the impact on an individual’s microbiome from products they use, and the effect from their environment. 

Having previously carried out skin microbiome testing on infants down to as little as 4 months, we have the knowledge and technology to help companies better understand the infant microbiota as they go about formulating their targeted products.

All of our testing is carried out in-vivo and with the utmost care for unearthing the secrets that lie on the surface of the skin.  If you are interested in carrying out any research with us and testing products, you can reach us at


Microbiome: The microbiome is a characteristic microbial community occupying a reasonably well-defined habitat which has distinct physio-chemical properties. The microbiome not only refers to the microorganisms involved but also encompasses their theatre of activity, which results in the formation of specific ecological niches. This includes their genetic material, and also structural molecules, like enzymes, membrane lipids or polysaccharides. (Definition based on Berg et al., 2020) 

Skin microbiome: is present on the whole skin surface, including the oral cavity and mucosal surfaces of the external genital organs. The composition of the skin microbiome is dynamic, and site-specific but also differs from individual to individual. (Definition based on Byrd et al., 2018

Probiotics: Live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits when consumed or applied to the body. They can be found in yoghurt and other fermented foods, dietary supplements, and beauty products.

Prebiotics: Non-living ingredients that are used to support the balance of both good and bad bacteria on your skin throughout your skin and within your body.


Chu DM, Ma J, Prince AL, Antony KM, Seferovic MD, Aagaard KM. Maturation of the infant microbiome community structure and function across multiple body sites and in relation to mode of delivery. Nat Med. 2017 Mar;23(3):314-326. doi: 10.1038/nm.4272. Epub 2017 Jan 23. PMID: 28112736; PMCID: PMC5345907.

Capone KA, Dowd SE, Stamatas GN, Nikolovski J. Diversity of the human skin microbiome early in life. J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Oct;131(10):2026-32. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.168. Epub 2011 Jun 23. PMID: 21697884; PMCID: PMC3182836.

Dominguez-Bello MG, Costello EK, Contreras M, Magris M, Hidalgo G, Fierer N, et al. Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiota across multiple body habitats in newborns. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010;107(26):11971–11975. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1002601107.

Gaitanis G, Tsiouri G, Spyridonos P, Stefos T, Stamatas GN, Velegraki A, et al. Variation of cultured skin microbiota in mothers and their infants during the first year postpartum. Pediatr Dermatol. 2019;36(4):460–465.

Manus MB, Kuthyar S, Perroni-Marañón AG, Núñez-de la Mora A, Amato KR. Infant Skin Bacterial Communities Vary by Skin Site and Infant Age across Populations in Mexico and the United States. mSystems. 2020 Nov 3;5(6):e00834-20. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00834-20. PMID: 33144313; PMCID: PMC7646528.

Pammi M, O'Brien JL, Ajami NJ, Wong MC, Versalovic J, Petrosino JF. Development of the cutaneous microbiome in the preterm infant: a prospective longitudinal study. PLoS One. 2017;12(4):e0176669. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176669.


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