|MadSci Network: Anatomy|
When a baby mammal is born their intestines are sterile. Upon the moment of their first breath microorganisms began to inhabit many locations. Escherichia coli can find its way to the intestine of a newborn through oral ingestion. If the baby is fed infant formula it is possible that some low levels of non disease causing E. coli could be ingested via the formula, water used to re-hydrate the formula, unclean bottle, unclean or contaminated teething ring, transfer of E. coli from other people or animals to the hands or fingers of the infant and then subsequent ingestion of the organisms by the infant sucking on their fingers and lastly possibly from the nipple of the mother during breast feeding if it is not clean. However, it is not inappropriate for the infant to ingest non-disease causing forms of E. coli or other bacteria. Proper digestion is dependant upon the infant building a “normal intestinal flora” of which E. coli is but one member. It is however, important to make sure that when touching a new born or handling items that the newborn might put into their mouth that ones hands are clean and recently washed.
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