The immune system works as a shield against all the harmful pathogens such as bacteria, viruses etc. present in the environment and protects us from various diseases and infections. The immune system of babies and children is not as strong and developed as adults and hence as parents, you need be extra careful so that they do not fall sick frequently.
Prevention is better than cure. Here are 5 ways you can help to boost your child’s immunity so that he can easily fight those pathogens away before they can affect him:
1. Breastfeed your baby
Mother’s breast milk is undoubtedly the best nutrition for the newborns. A newborn is not born with a fully developed immune system. With careful exposure to the environment, the baby’s immune system starts to strengthen with time. For the first few months, until the baby starts developing immunity against the harmful pathogens present all around, mother’s breast milk provides all the antibodies and white blood cells required for the baby’s defence mechanism. Therefore, try to breastfeed your little one as long as you can.
2. Follow the vaccination schedule religiously
Children are not born with inbuilt immunity against diseases and infections, which is why you must consider talking to your child’s paediatrician and preparing a vaccination or immunization schedule for your child. Vaccine shots are made from small amounts of weak or dead pathogens which stimulates your baby’s immune system to produce antibodies to fight against these pathogens. Each of these vaccines undergoes years of safety testings to make sure that they do not cause any harm.
3. A good night’s sleep
While trying to cope with the fast-paced modern lifestyle, today’s children are constantly getting over-burdened with the pressure of excelling at everything they get into. As a response, their body produces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, resulting in lower immune system response. A good night’s sleep is extremely essential for maintaining a healthy body and strong immune system. Make sure your little one gets at least 10-14 hours of sleep everyday. As the sleep hormone, melatonin is secreted in dark, try to use minimum light before and during sleep.
4. Maintain proper hygiene
Children love playing outside and do not mind getting dirty. Even though it is going make your cleaning work harder, always encourage them to play outside as it exposes them to all the good bacteria that help in boosting their immunity. But you need to be extra careful and make sure they learn to maintain proper hygiene. Remind them to wash their hands after blowing their nose or handling the pets and to take bath after coming back from playing, especially if they get dirty. Make sure they develop a habit of washing hands before and after a meal or after using the loo and always wear clean clothes.
5. Stick to a healthy meal plan
Healthy foods such as fresh fruits and green vegetables are essential for maintaining a healthy body and to build a strong immune system. Make sure to include plenty of nutritious food items such as grains, legumes, meat, eggs, fishes, nuts etc. in your child’s everyday menu. You also need to ensure that your child’s water intake is optimum so that he doesn’t suffer from dehydration. Even though they may be your child’s favourites, keep your child away from eating too many sugary foods as they are known to suppress the immune system.
[Read more: Superfoods To Boost Your Child's Immunity]