How to Supercharge Your Baby’s & Your Immune System
Catching a virus is inevitable. In fact, new findings seem to point that getting sick (at a younger age) allows the body to build resilience and have better immunity in later years. For very young infants, special care has to be taken when the child is ill as their bodies are less developed, which makes them more vulnerable to persistent attacks as their immunity learn to cope with fighting and fending.
And because baby V has taken ill during the last leg of our holiday and returned with a fever, dripping nose and cough (what an awesome souvenir!), it’s hard not to get heartbroken over this. To add to matters, daddy and mummy were unwell prior to flying and barely recovered in time for our trip. While our little girl continued battling the bug the week after we returned, the virus hit me again and got my nose doing a marathon with a hot throat. But now, we are glad that she is well recovered, and hopefully these annoying things stay far away from her!
It seems like the flu and cold season is here, whether in Singapore or in London. Coupled with hot and humid temperate in our country, many folks are falling ill. What are some things we can do to supercharge our immune system and keep ourselves in the pink of health?
#1 Start a Rainbow Diet
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826:
“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].
Many would testament that this can’t be further than the truth. A healthy diet addresses the body’s needs and concerns, while a diet laden with all that artery-clogging goodness paves way for a tough time for the organs. The best way is to eat in moderation, and load up on foods that are nutritional and good for you. In fact, the sheen on your hair, glow on your skin, colour of nail beds are also reflective of the quality of your health. If you are only eating a certain type of vegetables, consider trying a variety of options and colours. If you’re a meat eater, try different types of meat and fruits to complement your diet.
As you might have already noticed, I’ve a thing for colourful meals – whether for baby V or mine. They are visually appealing with their happy hues, and they offer a myriad of essential nourishment. Not that I’m fit to be a walking billboard, but having a proper diet has played an important role in helping me reduce my cholesterol levels. We recently made a special dish for baby Vera in a bid to boost her immunity, hoping she recovers fully in no time! Her fruits and water intakes were upped as well, to ensure she stays hydrated and has the necessary vitamins to help her body as they repair and recover.
#2 H to the O
Water is the best hydration fluid out there, and our cells require water to function optimally. 2L – 3L a day is the recommended intake for an adult, and if you are perspiring more during your daily activities, do replenish those water levels too.
A good rule of thumb for babies 12 months and older is to offer water with meals and at any other time baby is thirsty. Most solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables, contain water and can account for about 20% of our fluid requirements. The baby’s urine should be a pale yellow color which indicates she is getting enough fluids.
For babies who have yet to start on solids (i.e 6months old), breastmilk and formula should be their only fluid intake. Once they have started solids, offer water with the meal. Ensure NOT to get overzealous with water intake – studies suggest that overfeeding of water may lead to water intoxication in babies.
#3 Snooze Monster
Our body works non-stop 24/7 and during rest (sleep and naps included), it relaxes. According to the Sleep Foundation:
“With a night of uninterrupted sleep, our body undergoes muscle repair, memory consolidation and release of hormones regulating growth and appetite. Sleep helps us thrive by contributing to a healthy immune system, and can also balance our appetites by helping to regulate levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which play a role in our feelings of hunger and fullness. So when we’re sleep deprived, we may feel the need to eat more, which can lead to weight gain.”
Babies need sleep too, with newborns sleeping most of the time and it tapers off as they hit toddlerhood and beyond. Naps contribute to rest time too, so they can develop and grow which is highly essential during their early formative years. Between sleeping and eating, many agree that sleep is more important as it allows the body to work its magic for the growing bub.
For our family, sleep has been quite a challenge for baby V, especially when she’s with us on weekends. Let’s hope things get better for her.
#4 Beat the Stress
Stress leads to “fight” or “flight” and that can evoke adrenaline-pumping instances which tightens the heart and muscles. It is however, part of everyday life and good stress can benefit us to work towards improvement. Negative stress must be managed in the best effective manner and tackled appropriately.
Do babies get stressed? You bet! Think about: meltdowns? meal time resistance? fighting over toys with another child? refusing to bathe? As the adult, the right habits should be inculcate early with the right beliefs and attitudes. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but hey, whoever said parenthood was easy? :P
#5 Work those Muscles… and Inhale!
There’s no better way to get a good exchange of air than exercise! Better yet, head outdoors to catch fresh clean air. Being cooped up at the office (for you) or facing walls and windows indoors (your little one) can be stifling. How about spending family time together at the swimming pool, open gardens or beach for a change? Outdoor activities are aplenty, and are good for relaxing those eye muscles, stretching those limbs, getting your heart pumping and receiving new oxygen from nature!
A balanced and healthy lifestyle is an investment – take charge of your health so you can spend quality time with your loved ones. What are some of your tips on boosting your family’s immunity system? Do share with us too!