The crux of your question, punkprincessmama...
...is what is "necessary" and what is "optimal?"
I always go for optimal.
The science hasn't been done and probably never will be inasmuch as Modern Medical powers currently put all of their efforts into something as primitive and toxic as vaccination.
Actually the culturing of an infant is at least two part. The vaginal passage and, I think more importantly, the breastfeeding. Of course at a time before refrigeration in a healthy culture, cultured and fermented foods would have been a part of the daily diet. These foods would be loaded with ideal phytonutrients and fibers to fuel our human bodies and the flora within.
Our human history is as well fully linked to animal husbandry, so imagine a diet of daily, fresh, unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk, warm and loaded with beneficial flora, anti-yeast and anti-bad-bacterial compounds.
Our civilization is so far from this ideal state right now--there's no such thing as "natural" anywhere-- that I wouldn't bet on anyone's "great bacteria." Remember also, pregnancy mandates that the woman's immune system be compromised. It's necessary for the survival of the fetus.
I'm not being negative here, just realistic. The proof of what I've tried to do with my son's health is contantly evident.
Last thanksgiving he got the flu from my father when he visited and beat it overnight with a fever-- that was it.
You've probably read about his easy case of measles.
He plays alot with other kids and is very "huggy", so he is in continual contact with a full array of germs and viruses. Most of the children are in playgrounds so we have NO idea about what contagiousness they may or may not have. He gets fevers and coughs now and then, but nothing lasts for more than two days. Of course the final test will be when he stops breastfeeding but I think the greatest impact of that will be beneficial to my wife's overall health, and not detrimental to his.
I even think he may have had an almost completely asymptomic case of chickenpox. They looked like pox, but there were only four and they disappeared before even having a chance to crust over. Nonetheless, we are looking for a verifiable case to expose him to.
I'm taking the long winded route here since I'm wondering why you even asked the question about supplemental probiotics, assuming-- perhaps incorrectly-- that you are nervous about the prospect. I think my son's flora now is definitely stronger because of what we started on the 3rd day of his life. Neither my wife nor I were breastfed as infants. We discovered this healthy nutritional path relatively late in life, and, specifically in her case, we can't possibly know how the poor nutrition and toxic environmental loads of her early years-- while her body was developing--might limit her ability to pass on good health to our son.
Hi Amanda. I only opt for a probiotic yogurt instead of kefir for punkprincessmama,, at this point on the basis of this info from page one:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract
If she's going to culture, getting L. rhamnosus and L. fermentum into her body can most clearly help her situation.http://jarrow.com/products/JarroDophilusfos.htm
l. rhamnonus is 20% of the mix. In fact, punkprincess, I would use the jarrow as a yogurt base for the douche and empty 2-3 jarrow caps into it for good measure. For some reason, probably because it thickens it, the yogurt with extra powder seems to work better.
I did some searching and found a source of l. fermentum:http://www.pharmanex.com/corp/produc...s/probio.shtml
Hi, mountain mom, I didn't miss your offer of recipes for fermenting. I've got the time, the crawl space should be the perfect temp right now, and I'm re-reading Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation. Sauerkraut and beets are at the top of my list.