Keeping your baby healthy is a number one priority for moms. Even though you can’t always prevent them from getting sick, there are ways to help boost their immunity. In this article, we’ll tackle everything from germs to nutrition to probiotics, giving you the knowledge to help support your little one’s immune system from the very start.
Germs are everywhere—and we mean everywhere. But there’s no reason to panic. Despite their bad rap, germs actually help build your baby’s developing immune system. That’s because, when your baby encounters a germ (aka virus, bacteria, parasite) for the first time, their body learns how to make antibodies that will protect them from that germ in the future. Still a little squirmy about germs? Keep these tips in mind:
- Clean enough is good enough: Your home shouldn’t be spotless according to the well-regarded hygiene hypothesis, which states excessive cleanliness disrupts the natural development of the immune system. Furthermore, experts believe that over-sanitizing has contributed to the boom in childhood allergies. Turns out a little dust can go a long way.
- Don’t be scared of day care: Even though babies who attend day care tend to pick up more infections than those who stay home, there’s a silver lining: research shows that exposure to a variety of germs may in fact improve overall immune system function.
- Adopt a fur baby: Studies have shown that kids who are raised with a dog or cat have fewer allergies and cases of asthma.
While your baby can fend off most germs, some germs can be extremely serious, even life-threatening. Thankfully, vaccines can help protect your baby. Vaccines work by mimicking a natural infection, teaching the body’s immune system how to fight off a given invader. During well-baby visits, your pediatrician will review your baby’s vaccination record as well as recommend any changes to the schedule if your little one is sick or has missed any shots in a series.
Feeding & Food Allergies
Breast milk is least likely to trigger an immune response as it is easy to digest and a natural immune booster for babies. If your baby is at risk for food allergy and formula is a better option for you, choose one that is hypoallergenic. When your baby is ready to transition to solid foods, chat with your pediatrician and keep these helpful tips in mind:
- Start solids between 4-6 months: Experts consider this the ideal time to gradually introduce solid foods. Most parents tend to start with fruits and vegetables, but many pediatricians may recommend trying strained meats first to help provide iron as well as other nutrients.
- Try, then wait: After introducing a new food, it’s best to wait a few days before introducing another new food in order to gauge whether there’s an intolerance.
- Food allergy concerns: If there’s a history of food allergies in your family, be sure to consult with your pediatrician on how to best introduce new foods, including common allergens, to your baby.
Probiotics for Babies
Did you know that your baby’s tiny tummy plays a huge role in their immune health? From the moment they’re born, the presence of beneficial bacteria in your baby’s developing digestive system is important. Not only does it support overall gut health, but it may also support baby’s developing immune system. Probiotics may support the balance of beneficial bacteria your baby’s gut to support their healthy development.
Now that you know immune health begins in the gut, learn about a probiotic for your baby that has beneficial bacteria clinically studied and designed to support a healthy gut and developing immune system.