Now that winter is almost here, I am sure that you would all like to know how best to keep baby healthy during sniffle, cough and flu season. Following you’ll find a few easy-to-follow tips that will help make this winter healthier for all of you.
As an Integrative Holistic Pediatrician, my focus is on prevention so in the next 2 blogs you will learn natural ways to strengthen your babies’ immune system to empower them to resist infections when they are exposed to them and to help them get better more quickly if get sick.
In another blog you’ll find more information and tips to help you deal with common cold, flu and other common illnesses of childhood
Give your baby foods that are rich in Vitamin C
Make sure you eat them also! The healthier you are the healthier baby will be. Vitamin C seems to play an important role in fighting off infections in the nose, ears and airways and in recovery from them
Here are a few examples of foods that are rich in Vitamin C:
Oranges, lemons and grapefruits, red and green bell peppers (organic if you can), kiwi, tomatoes, baked potatoes with the skin, broccoli, cantaloupe and strawberries.
Probiotics are live bacteria that support health and wellness and considered an important part of a healthy, strong immune system. Did you know that different types of probiotics have different roles in the body?
A small study has shown that giving babies and toddlers milk containing specific types of Probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosis, Lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria prevents upper respiratory tract infections in children.
New research is also showing that it is better to take probiotics in fermented foods rather than as supplements. Good examples of probiotic rich foods are:
Yogurt with live and active cultures
Kimchi (Korean pickles)
Kefir (non-flavored because the flavored has a lot of sugar)
Pickles fermented in salt and water (not vinegar)
Milk supplemented with probiotics
Tempeh which is a type of fermented soy (meat replacement)
If your baby is cow’s milk intolerant or, refuses to eat eat fermented foods, try supplements containing 2-5 billion Colony Forming Units (CFUs) of different types of probiotics (after consulting your doctor). If you can’t find a powdered form , you can open up a capsule and sprinkle it on your baby’s food or add it to a small amount of liquid
Probiotics are safe for most babies. However, if your baby meets any of the below criteria consult your doctor before using probiotics
Your baby is very premature
Your baby has immune system problem
Your baby is on medicines which would suppress his immune system, such as steroids or chemotherapy
Your baby has a sensitivity to lactose (lactobacillus) or yeasts
Cook with a lot of garlic
Because it both prevents colds and shortens the length of colds and is it an antibacterial and anti-viral (in studies in test tubes).
Use a lot of garlic while cooking during cold and flu season. Chicken soup made with chicken bones, garlic, onions, leeks, ginger turmeric, and lots of healthy vegetables especially carrots and spinach (organic if possible) is a healthy, great tasting way to strengthen your baby’s immune system.
Give your baby this soup at mealtimes or have them sip or drink the broth throughout the day if they don’t feel well.
Plenty of vegetables and fruits
Make sure you give your baby plenty of vegetables and fruits so they get all the essential Vitamins and minerals they need to keep their immune system.
Give your baby chamomile tea
So many moms ask me about using specific herbs to strengthen their babies’ immune systems. The scientific answer is that most herbs used in adults to help with colds such as Andrographis, Astragalus, Ginseng, and Echinacea have not yet been studied adequately in babies and children. Their safety and effectiveness are unknown.
However, Chamomile tea (which is proven to be safe if you buy it from a reliable source) is an anti-inflammatory which may have some benefit in preventing colds and reducing symptoms.
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