As we all may already know, we are living in different times. Times when it's important to make sure your baby's immune system is strong and able to withstand any strand of influenza that may want to surprise the world.
You may think that you have to load up your baby with vitamin C gummies all day but there are natural ways to help your baby's body become strong on it's own. All you may need to do is make some changes, and pay attention to what your beautiful babe is in taking.
So let’s dive right in!
1. Breast Feeding
Mommas, we know that this can be a very personal decision and that it isn’t always possible. If you are able to exclusively breastfeed please try for as long as possible especially during this time.
Breastfed children are often healthier with fewer allergies, due to the protective, immune-boosting antibodies found in colostrum (the “first milk” produced from nursing moms). Breast milk is the best way to help build your baby’s immune system right from the start. When a breastfeeding momma is exposed to viruses or bacteria, she starts producing antibodies. These antibodies are then secreted into the breast milk and passed to the baby during feeding. Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for babies. It is nature's medicine.
You can't get this type of nutritional value from formula.There are so many more benefits to breast milk, not just for your baby but also for you mommas. For the sake of this topic however, I'm going to leave it right here and promise you another blog post specifically related to this topic. Today we are talking about helping boost the immune system.
So let's go!
2. MORE Fruits & Veggies
Parents, in the beginning of your baby’s life, your baby will eat whatever you give then. So it’s up to you to provide them with healthy, nutrient-dense options. If your baby is now a toddler and a picky eater that's still okay. Get creative. Hide those important immune building food groups in whatever you make for them. For example,
One of the best ways to boost and strengthen your child’s immune system is to give them garlic. This amazing food contains antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic stimulates the immune cells and increases antibody production. It also contains the compound sulfur which has potent antioxidant properties.
Here are some ideas on how you can hide it, but I encourage you to get creative. You can add garlic into your child’s favorite meals such as the sauces of pasta dishes, such as spaghetti. You can also add it to hummus to be used as a dip for those carrot fingers. You can make a margarita flat bread and add plenty of garlic to the sauce. Call it a pizza and your child will never know the difference. Or add it to a tea. Don't forget to add plenty of honey (not for the babes under 1) and lemon, put it on ice and call it sweet tea. Your child will love it!
When adding garlic into your cooked meals, always add it at the very end. This way you don’t destroy too many of the immune enhancing properties.
Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients. The beautiful and bright red, blue and purple colors get their pigment from the potent antioxidant called anthocyanin. They also contain vast amounts of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, both of which boost your child’s immune system. So instead of gummies, let your babe snack on blueberries or strawberries during the day.
Here’s how you can hide it. Add a handful of mixed berries to your child’s breakfast cereal. Or make them a delicious parfait. A yummy snack that consists of a handful of mixed berries stirred through a bowl of plain yogurt topped with a dash of oats and honey (not for babies under 1). You can even try and mix in some flax seed meal for extra nutrition. For the younger babes, berries are perfect for pureeing and are great as a finger food. Give as a desert.
Don’t forget to use local strawberries. Miami has the best strawberry farms where you can find fresh strawberries.
**IF YOUR CHILD IS NOT ALLERGIC.
Walnuts have healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you in lots of ways. Experts believe that omega-3s help your body fight illness. One small study found omega-3s cut the number of respiratory infections in kids.
Walnuts are easy to sprinkle into a snack mix on cereal. Roast them in the oven with brown sugar or honey. Your child will love them. For the younger babes, crush them up as fine as possible and add it to yogurt or oatmeal.
Spinach and other leafy greens are exceptionally rich in immune boosting nutrients. One of these is iron which is important for the production of white blood cells and antibodies.
Unfortunately, leafy greens or vegetables are not always your child's favorite option. Getting them to eat a handful of greens is often quite a challenge.
Here’s how to hide it. Get creative! Try making a green smoothie. Throw some kale or baby spinach, frozen banana or frozen mango with your choice of milk into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add a tablespoon or two of honey (not for the younger babes) or brown sugar depending on the desired sweetness. For the younger babes make a sweet potato puree and add some baby spinach. Add more sweet potato rather than spinach for taste. The sweet potato is naturally sweet and still has plenty of immune building vitamins as well.
Keeping your child properly hydrated can also help in boosting immunity. Water helps to carry oxygen to your body cells, which results in properly functioning systems. It also works in removing toxins from the body, so drinking more of it could help prevent toxins from building up and having a negative impact on your immune system.
Parents it's very important to understand that what you give your child to eat is fuel. What you put in will keep them growing strong and healthy. Give your baby quality sustainable food that will help them grow strong and develop properly. As they eat the right foods you are also helping your baby create healthy habits for themselves in the future.
Like adults, kids need exercise. Most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. Regular exercise has many benefits for children. It is a bit more difficult these days to get outside or to the playground, but it's definitely recommended to try and get outside at least once a day with the kids.
Get them moving!
As you feed your child the proper nutrient-dense foods and they become physical their bodies begin to absorb nutrients quickly.
If kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time running and playing. Parents you should limit TV, video games and computer time as much as possible right now. If not, it can help promote a lower immune system.
Parents set a good example by being active as well. Exercising together can be fun for everyone. Walking or biking, dancing, and yoga are some ways for kids to get exercise. For the little ones, try creating a baby gym right at home. Do baby bouncing. Help them crawl or even get them up on their feet. Don’t forget tummy time and baby yoga. Massaging your baby is also very beneficial. Other benefits of exercising with your child are,
Your child will feel less stressed.
Feel better about themselves.
Feel more ready to learn during homeschooling.
Keep a healthy weight.
Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints.
Sleep better at night.
Which brings us to the next way to boost your baby's immune system!
4. Sleeping Routine
Parents, I don't think I really need to convince you on the importance of sleep. As busy parents raising our children we know how precious sleep can be. We know that we feel much better when we are getting the proper amount of sleep. We just need to make sure that our babes are getting the proper amount of sleep daily so that their immune system is functioning properly.
Babies (ages newborn - 1) need between 13 and 16 hours
Toddlers (ages 2-5), need between 10 and 13 hours
Children (ages 6 to 13) need between 9 and 11 hours
Adolescents (ages 14-17) need between 8 and 10 hours
Not getting enough sleep limits the body’s ability to produce proteins called cytokines that help fight infection and reduce inflammation.
Sleep gives your baby’s body the time it needs to rest and repair, which is why children just want to sleep when you’re unwell – sleep is the body’s chance to fix whatever may be wrong. Sleep supports the proteins and cells of the immune system to detect and destroy bugs and germs. It also helps the immune system to remember those germs, so they can fight them off even quicker in future. Sleep strengthens the body’s immune response, and in times like these it’s more important than ever that our babies are getting enough of it.
Let’s make sure we stay on top of a healthy sleep routine so that our babes immune system is nice and strong. Babies may not be able to create their own sleeping and waking patterns. Surprisingly, not all babies know how to put themselves to sleep. And not all babies can go back to sleep if they are awakened in the night. When it is time for bed, many parents want to rock or breastfeed a baby to help him or her fall asleep.
Creating a bedtime routine is a good idea. When you get them moving it helps you get them to sleep easier. Try having a dance party right before bed.
Fighting germs doesn't technically boost immunity, but it's a great way to reduce weakening your child's immune system. Good hygiene is the first line of defense to keep germs at bay and to keep your immune system strong. By following good personal hygiene habits you can stop infection before it begins and avoid spreading it to others. Teaching your child the importance of proper hygiene is so important in these times and helps them stay healthy. Here are some ways you can teach proper hygiene to your children.
For toddlers, Try playing the Baby Shark Song while they wash their hands with soap and water before a meal and after using the bathroom.
Encourage your child to cover their mouths with a tissue when they sneeze or cough. Or show them to cough into their elbow rather than their hands.
Teach them to use warm water when washing their hands.
Don't forget to encourage it daily. Get creative and find ways to show them how germs work and why we need to protect our bodies from them.
This can lead the way in proper hygiene for the future.
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Thanks for reading!