Your Child’s Immune System
As parents, we always want to protect our children from anything harmful that may come their way, but how can we shield them from the invisible “bad guys”? Viruses, bacteria and pollen can sneak unseen into your child’s body, and they’re sometimes hidden in the very things that children find so enticing!
Getting sick is a normal part of being a kid. Babies come into the world with very immature immune systems and learn to fight off sickness as it comes. Pediatricians generally consider six to eight colds, bouts of flu or ear infections every year as standard. Hope is not lost, though – here are some tips and habits that may help provide immune support for kids and babies.
The 10 Best Immune Boosters
Breastfeed if You Can
Breastfeeding might be the single most effective way to boost your baby’s immune system. Breast milk has all sorts of immunity goodness, including antibodies and white blood cells, that help fight against “bad guys.” Colostrum, which flows the first few days following birth, is particularly filled with disease-fighting antibodies. Although many doctors recommend breastfeeding for the first year, even just three months can ensure your baby is getting immune protection.
We love going “au naturel” – with remedies, that is! Garlic is probably the most immune-enhancing food created by nature, and elderberry is widely known for its anti-viral properties. In fact, Wellements believes in elderberry for children and infants so much, we’ve created an elderberry formula for everyday or seasonal immunity support! Zinc is also a natural mineral that strengthens the immune system and helps with growth and development – eggs and grass-fed red meat are excellent natural sources of zinc. Finally, don’t forget that sunshine itself is a source for vitamin D.
Let Them Get Dirty!
Research is showing that infants who are exposed to germs and bacteria early may have a stronger immune system later in life. Some studies show that babies who shared their home with a pet, grew up on a farm, went to daycare early on, or had older siblings all showed lower rates of allergies. Remember, most germs are harmless, so don’t be afraid to let your baby explore his or her surroundings without immediately dashing for the hand sanitizer.
Hydrate With Water
Many children don’t drink enough water. It’s true they need less water than adults in order to stay hydrated, but water keeps energy levels up, flushes out toxins, and keeps tissue and cells fully functioning so it’s easier for their bodies to fight off viruses and bugs.
Fruits and vegetables, like organic berries, carrots, green beans and broccoli, have lots of immune-boosting nutrients. Choosing local seasonal fruits and veggies is ideal – the brighter and greener, the better! If your child doesn’t like veggies, hiding them in sauces, soups or smoothies is sneaky, but effective.
Try a Probiotic
Probiotics provide healthy bacteria, which will help your child stay regular, aid digestion and fight off infection. Yogurt, probiotic tablets, powders and gummies made for children are great ways to get a dose of healthy bacteria that contributes to a healthy gut.
Skip the Sweets
Many studies show that sugar weakens your child’s immune system. Because children develop so quickly, they may be extra sensitive to the effects of sugar. Avoiding juices and soda, and keeping other sweets to a minimum will help keep your child’s immune system strong.
Be a Sleep Fanatic
Sleep means that your baby gets lots of time to rest, rejuvenate and grow! Newborns can need up to 18 hours of sleep, toddlers up to 12 to 13 hours and preschoolers around 10 hours. If your baby isn’t much of a sleeper, be a stickler! A solid sleep routine will be your saving grace years down the road.
Use Antibiotics With Care
Most childhood illnesses are caused by viruses, which can’t be killed with antibiotics. In some cases, strains of certain antibiotic-resistant bacteria are on the rise because of antibiotic overuse. Ask your pediatrician what antibiotics are truly necessary to treat your little one’s illness.
Regular exercise really does do a body good! It will help your kids eat and sleep better, keep them mentally and physically healthy, and make them stronger and more ready to fight off viruses. Head out and play together – a family bike ride or walk is the perfect way to get both exercise and quality bonding time!
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical care for the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of your child’s condition. Please consult your child’s doctor before trying any medication or following any treatment plan stated on this site.