Gut microbiota colonization is a complex, dynamic, and step-wise process that is in constant development during the first years of life. This microbial settlement occurs in parallel with the maturation of the immune system, and alterations during this period, due to environmental and host factors, are considered to be potential determinants of health-outcomes later in life. Given that host–microbe interactions are mediated by the immune system response, it is important to understand the close relationship between immunity and the microbiota during birth, lactation, and early infancy. This work summarizes the evidence to date on early gut microbiota colonization, and how it influences the maturation of the infant immune system and health during the first 1000 days of life. This review will also address the influence of perinatal antibiotic intake and the importance of delivery mode and breastfeeding for an appropriate development of gut immunity.
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