It’s commonly understood that your body’s immune system keeps you healthy. When your body is exposed to infection such as viral, bacterial and fungal, the immune system fights back and prevents illness and disease. The immune system is a complex network made up of cells, tissues, and organs. One of the most important cells are the white blood cells, which destroy disease and infection-causing organisms. While all this holds true, what about immunity in babies. In this article, we’ll talk about immunity in babies – how it gets developed and other important aspects.
How does your baby get immunity?
Immunity is gained both naturally and can be also be acquired.
- Natural immunity: At birth, your baby already has some immunity. However, the immune system has yet to mature in a newborn and that leaves them vulnerable to infection until they get older. The immune system starts to build while in the womb itself and continues strengthening subsequently. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you will be passing on some much-needed antibodies to him via breast milk.
- Acquired immunity: Over time, your baby’s little body will acquire immunity. When he falls ill, his body gears up to fight the illness. The next time the same infection recurs, his body knows what to do to quickly fend it off.
The level of immunity differs from person to person, which is why some people tend to fall ill more easily than others do. You can try to raise your baby’s immunity level by taking care of a few things, which are mentioned below.
Immunity in babies and children
Unfortunately, falling sick at intervals, or at the very least suffering from a cough or cold is pretty much the norm in babies and young children. While at school, for instance, they are exposed to a large number of germs and even viruses on a daily basis. However, while you can expect your child to fall ill more frequently until age 6 or 7, you can adopt some healthy habits to boost their immunity naturally.
You don’t need to resort to medicines to boost your child’s immunity level. Consider, instead:
- If breastfeeding your baby, continue to do so for as long as you can. Breast-milk contains antibodies that help boost immunity.
- Ensure that your baby is vaccinated as per schedule. Vaccination builds up antibodies against that particular disease and prepares the body to fight against it.
- Once your baby is ready for weaning, increased servings of fresh fruits and vegetables in the form of purees.
- To avoid or minimise infection, make sure your hygiene levels are high. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you are handling the baby. As the baby grows, encourage the habit of washing hands frequently.
- Monitor your baby’s sleep pattern. It’s important for a growing baby to get plenty of sleep because both his development and immunity are influenced by sleep.
The bottom line
When your baby is unwell, don’t rush to administer antibiotics unless absolutely required since overuse of antibiotics can also have ill effects on your child’s health. Keep the above tips in mind to boost your baby’s immunity instead.