Newborn’s First 1,000 Days Crucial to Preventing Diseases, Allergies — New Book
Philadelphia, October 5, 2022 — Expectant moms are advised to eat well, exercise, take vitamins, abstain from caffeine and do everything possible to ensure the optimal health of their babies. Yet, children born today are sicker than in any past generation. Food allergies, asthma and other chronic health conditions affect up to 30 percent of kids across the country. Why?
In The Baby and the Biome: How the Tiny World Inside Your Child Holds the Secret to Their Health (Avery, an imprint of Penguin/Random House; September 6, 2022; Hardcover; ISBN: 9780593421024), author Meenal Lele reveals the answer—and it’s not bad genes or bad parenting. As a medical researcher with a chemical engineer’s degree from Wharton, her firsthand experience as an “allergy mom,” Lele sheds light on the key role of a newborn’s microbiome (the mix of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on us and in us) in either preventing or provoking diseases of the immune system, which include not only food allergies and asthma but also eczema, ADHD, IBS, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and more.
“Immune disease needs a revolution in thinking—and an accessible way for parents to understand it,” Lele asserts. Interweaving the story of her firstborn son Leo’s life-threatening struggles with food allergies and asthma with significant, potentially life-saving scientific findings, Lele aims to lead that revolution by educating parents about how to prioritize and strengthen their baby’s microbiome by protecting the delicate skin, gut and lung barriers.
In accessible language and a reassuring tone, The Baby and the Biome combines medical insights with practical advice on a more informed, healthier approach to the ABCDEs—Antibiotic use, Baby Care, Diet and Environment—during a newborn’s first thousand days, and helps parents raise kids in this toxin-filled world. You’ll learn:
- How to nurture your baby’s biome during pregnancy, practice good biome care from the moment of birth and, if possible, choose breastfeeding over formula to support immunity—but only exclusively for the first two months of your baby’s life.
- Why many standard practices endorsed by pediatricians—wash your baby daily, wait three days between introducing your baby to new foods and more—are not backed by science and might actively hurt your child’s immune defenses.
- Why eczema, which affects about 25 percent of infants, is not just “a little rash” but both a serious warning sign and direct cause of increasingly worse immune conditions to come—plus, clinically proven, actionable ways to treat it.
- Why antibiotics commonly prescribed for ear infections and fever are often unnecessary and can actually make a child sick longer and cause diarrhea, among other complications—plus, examples of when antibiotics are essential.
- Why to avoid using creams and lotions, including sunscreen, on your baby’s skin—and tips for minimizing diaper rash, including using cloth diapers (which are also better for the environment than super-absorbent disposable diapers).
- Why giving your baby regular exposure to the most common food allergens, including peanuts and eggs, is a vital practice for developing a healthy, disease-free immune system—and how to do it safely and stress-free.
- The importance of feeding your baby a good and diverse diet, with priority on avoiding added sugar and processed foods, which contain preservatives, dyes, synthetic fats and emulsifying agents that are poisonous to the gut barrier.
- The biome-friendly benefits of letting your baby play and crawl around in good dirt, whether in your own backyard or a natural park with real grass, trees and mud, as opposed to a playground built on artificial turf.
- Tips for cleaning your home, dishes and clothes, as well as your family’s hair and bodies, to prevent immune disorders—plus, the potential long-term dangers of our national obsession with antibacterial cleansers … and much more.
About the Author
Meenal Lele is a mom to two boys, medical researcher and chemical engineer with a degree from the Wharton School. She is the founder and CEO of Lil Mixins, a company devoted to educating parents about how to prevent their children from developing food allergies. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, with her family.