It’s time to strengthen your child’s immune system: 5 simple ways to keep your baby strong without medication
As parents we always wish that our kids should be healthy, and we leave no stone unturned to ensure this. And we know that all kids don’t fall sick at the same rate implying that some kids are more fit or strong inside or have a good immune system. Having good immunity means not catching the illness easily or being able to fight the illness in case you get it. The role of building good immune system has become more relevant in the current covid pandemic. Parents want to know how to build the immunity of their child so that they do not get infected or do not get sick. So here are some simple and healthy ways to build immunity in children.
When a baby is born, the first and most important way to build immunity is by breast feeding right at birth and by exclusive breast feeding till 6 months of age and complimentary feeding for longer. Breast milk has lots of protective antibodies and anti-infective properties. It is baby’s first vaccine against illness and diseases.
Children must be given all the available age-appropriate vaccination against the preventable diseases. Vaccination starts at birth and the further schedule as per guidelines must be followed as per the paediatrician’s advice. Immunisation provides immunity against many specific infective agents. Due to covid pandemic worldwide vaccination has taken a back stage because of fear of contracting the disease while visiting the healthcare facility. But, parents are requested to vaccinate their children timely because yes, there is a new foe in the market but the old ones are ready to attack if we don’t keep are guards up.
Right from when we start weaning the child and start solid feeds, its encouraged to start variety of foods including vegetables and fruits in a stepwise manner. The earlier we start better is the adaptability of the child to accept various kinds of food. Give your child a colourful platter to eat as he grows to provide all the micronutrients like minerals and vitamins. Different colour fruits and vegetables including seasonal fruits, green vegetables (source of iron), citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, amla as source of vitamin C), handful of nuts (rich source of Omega fatty acids) will boost the immunity of your child. To small children, vegetables can be meshed with other food items or can be given as puree or soups. Besides this, they should drink enough water. Eggs are a great source of protein and can be added in the daily diet in various forms. Foods with excess sugar and junk food should be limited to an occasional treat as it kills the appetite and puts your child at risk of many lifestyle diseases.
Rest and Exercise
Besides a balanced diet rest and exercise are two important components to build a good immune system. Young children need 10-14 hours of sleep and adolescents need 8-10 hours of sleep. A routine Bedtime and rise time should be followed for a good circadian rhythm. Now a days most of the children are on gadgets and keep watching screen even just before they sleep. A schedule of limited screen time and no screen 2 hours before sleep should be followed. Rest repairs our damaged cells and very important to fight diseases.
At least, an hour of physical activity must be incorporated in every child’s daily routine. As covid has restricted the group play activity and sports for children, exercise in the form of daily walks in the parks, yoga and skipping should be encouraged to keep them physically fit.
Last but not the least, looking after their mental health will be equally important to build their immune system strong. Keep a structured routine for them, talk to them, listen to them, play with them, have meals together and do things together like cooking, drawing, painting, singing or gardening or anything which you enjoy. Keep yourself and your children away from negative media specially in this covid times when already there is so much fear and panic about illness.
Stay healthy, stay fit and stay happy.