Immunity in babies

Supporting your baby's immune system development

Your baby’s immune system is best supported by your amazing made-for-baby breast-milk. Breast milk contains an abundance of different cells, sugars, enzymes, and immunoglobulins that not only confer immunity on your baby but also stimulate the development of your baby’s own immune system. Breast-fed babies are a far reduced risk of most diseases and infections, as well as reduced chances of developing gastro-intestinal problems and allergies. 

 

If you cannot breastfeed or have stopped breastfeeding, or if your baby was born by C-section or has had antibiotics, it is important to give a suitable probiotic supplement such as Metagenics Flora Care for kids. A huge proportion of your baby’s immune system is in their gut (so is yours!), so gastro-intestinal health is key for good immune health.

 

It is important that your baby’s immune system gets a normal work-out, exposure to normal pathogens (bugs) literally helps your baby’s immune system to work out what is harmful and what isn’t. If this doesn’t happen, there is increased risk of allergy and intolerance developing. Don’t jump in with this too soon though! Staying at home with your new-born baby as long as possible helps your baby adjust slowly to its exposure to the world.

 

If your baby does get a bug or is unwell, it is important to establish what is wrong and treat accordingly. Unless your baby has a serious illness, pharmaceutical medicines will usually not be prescribed, and nor should they. Natural remedies are well suited to treating babies’ illnesses such as mild tummy bugs, oral thrush, colds and runny noses. Always ask our naturopath for specific advice as to how best treat your baby’s illness.

 

Baby Massage is essential to the development of your baby’s immune system. Ask us about baby skin care and massage for more info on the benefits of baby massage and on the importance of choosing the right massage oils.

 

Colds

Seeing your baby suffer its first cold can be distressing, especially as it becomes difficult for baby to breastfeed with a blocked nose!

 

  • Qbaby Snot Drops are the perfect answer for a snuffly congested baby, helping to boost immune function and reduce mucous and catarrh.

 

  • Kiwiherb De-Stuff for Kids is safe even for little babies, and is a herbal decongestant. Put a drop or two on the nipple, it can be suckled off; depending on age, this can be given four or five times daily.

 

  • Burning essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender in the room helps to clear the nasal passages and open the airways, as well as keeping the air fresh and clear.

 

  • Massage baby’s chest with Weleda Chest Rub.

 

Vaccinations

Discuss options with our naturopath, midwife, GP, friends and family. Remember that it is your choice whether or not to vaccinate your children, but it must always be a fully informed decision. For more information, contact the Warnings About Vaccine Expectations www.wavesnz.org.nz.

 

Allergies

Preventing the development of allergies in your baby is an important consideration in today’s world, where so many children have eczema, asthma, rashes, food allergies, intolerances.

 

Talk to our naturopath about the risk factors you may be passing on to your baby; has either parent had allergies? Has the baby had antibiotics? Was it a ceasarian birth? There are so many factors to consider. There are definite options to reduce the development of allergy in your baby, but it is best to discuss this with our naturopath so that an individual treatment plan can be established.

 

Eczema

Specifically, if you or your partner have had eczema, prevention of eczema in your child can be enhanced through the use of Ethical Nutrient’s Eczema Shield during the last two months of pregnancy and continued during breastfeeding.