I am often asked what my top tips are to keep babies and toddlers healthy through winter. It’s such a challenge because toddlers seem to share germs and when babies and toddlers are ill, sleep and eating are extremely challenging.
Here are some ways you can help to keep your little one healthy:
- Don’t take your newborn to busy public places, although her immunity is still well supported by your antibodies, especially if you are breastfeeding, a newborn who gets sick will not feed well and this is very stressful for you as a parent.
- Breastfeed – there is no doubt that formula milk simply cannot replicate the antibodies in breast milk. But I even if you only breastfeed for a very short time, know that the highest level of antibodies is passed to your baby in colostrum – that first milk babies get in the early days.
- Offer your baby a healthy diet once she is on solid foods. The micronutrients found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean meat, chicken and fish are essential for your baby’s health.
- If your baby attends crèche or is cared for in a group when you return to work and is consistently getting sick, put her on a good multivitamin or supplement.
- Vaccinate your baby. This is the best way to ensure she does not suffer any dramatic and potentially life-threatening childhood illnesses.
- Do not over sterilize everything. Simply wash your hands and your toddler’s hands before eating and sterilize her bottles until 6 months of age. Thereafter sterilization is not necessary and in fact exposure to most germs, which are harmless is important for our immunity to develop over time.