The hand of a sleeping baby, his face blurry in the background.

YOUR BABY’S IMMUNITY

All parents worry about their children getting sick. It’s part of our nature. Here are two simple but important things you can do to boost your baby’s immunity.

Breastfeed your baby1
Breast milk boosts your child’s immunity through antibodies (proteins that fight germs) from your own system. Colostrum, the milk your breasts produce in the first few days after giving birth, is especially rich in antibodies.

Increase sleep time
Just like lack of sleep for adults can leave a person drained and prone to getting sick, less sleep among infants can also strain the immune system. Newborns need about 18 hours of sleep a day, toddlers need about 12–13 hours, and pre-schoolers need about 10 hours of sleep. With all of their activities, it can be hard not to cut into their sleep time—but do your best to make sure your child gets all the sleep they need.

Symptoms of Illness2
If your baby shows any of the following signs of serious illness, get medical attention as soon as possible:

  • Continuous crying or crying that sounds weak and/or high-pitched
  • A lack of responsiveness, increased floppiness or a marked decrease in activity level
  • Unusual drowsiness or inability to stay awake, even if you wake your baby
  • The fontanelle (soft spot) on your baby’s head is bulging
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Not drinking for more than eight hours
  • High temperature
  • Having fits, convulsions or seizures
  • Pale, ashen or blue complexion
  • Breathing difficulties, such as fast breathing or grunting while breathing
  • Repeated vomiting or bile-stained (green) vomiting
  • A rash on the body that is spotty and purplish-red

 

1. http://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/cold/boost-childs-immunity. Accessed March 28, 2013. 2. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/spotting-signs-serious-illness.aspx. Accessed March 28, 2013.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
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