You feel miserable when your little one has a stuffy nose or tiny cough. However you will find that they will get sick, and these colds and flu episodes are a part of it all. Pediatricians will tell you that it is normal for most children to get sick six to eight times a year. In order to boost their immune system early on, here are some guidelines that you and your baby can follow.
If you are able to breastfeed your baby, even if it is only for a few months, your baby is better off for it. The first milk that you will produce called colostrum is full of antibodies that gives your baby something similar to their first vaccine. Your pediatrician will recommend that you breastfeed exclusively for the first six months for optimum health. If you can even supplement your breast milk with baby formula, your little one can still have those benefits that will last later in life.
Baby formulas generally have the same ingredients, but how it is sourced can make a difference. When you take away the chemicals from herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, and even sugars with high glycemic indexes, your baby will have less inflammation in the body and a stronger immune system. When you think about how you feel when you eat processed foods like a candy bar compared to when you eat a fruit salad, consider that when you choose what you feed your baby.
When your baby starts solids, remember that what you introduce will benefit their immune system. They will still have the fortified goodness that comes from baby formula until they transition to whole milk. However, fruits and vegetables have phytonutrients that can naturally boost your baby's immune system. The more colorful your baby's diet, the more nutrients that will support their immune system with antibodies that will fight off the viruses that medicine cannot touch. Sweet potatoes, guava, and kiwi are just a few foods that are high in vitamin C.
Your baby may not be running around just yet, but that doesn't mean that physical activity is not out of the question. Tummy time strengthens your baby's neck muscles and gives them time to work their body, even for a little while. Crawling around is a good cardiovascular workout for them (and you). Even baby yoga is a good bonding time for you and your baby. Working out together gives both of you the ability to increase the antibodies at work in your blood and habits that benefit you in the long run.
You can't get sick if you remove the germs before you are exposed. Warm soap and water is the best way to keep hands clean. Make it a habit before and after meals so that the germs don't have a chance. Even though exposure to germs will make them more immune later, any germ can actually cause stress to the immune system.
Don't forget to wash your own hands and wipe down high traffic spots like doorknobs and light switches. Also, if your child does get sick, remember to remove items that could cause them to reinfect themselves. A toothbrush can still harbor the same germs and may even infect the rest of the family.
Your baby will sleep 16-20 hours for the first two months, then ease to about 12-13 hours a day by the time they turn one year old. Sleep is important to growth and development, but also to their overall health. If they are not getting enough sleep, they are not giving their natural antibodies the ability to grow and strengthen their defenses against germs. And, as your baby's caregiver, sleep is important to your own immune system as well.
Edited and reposted from December 2018
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