When to Start Baby-Proofing your House

When you first bring home that tiny newborn baby who doesn’t do much besides eating and sleeping, it’s hard to imagine that one day he will be getting into everything in sight. But that day will come before you know it, so stay ahead of the game by baby-proofing early, and watching for improvements to your baby-proofing as baby grows.

How Early Should I Start?

While baby isn’t likely to find much to get into until he really starts crawling, you should start baby-proofing around the time that he starts to roll. Baby-proofing is a process, and as you go, you will notice things you didn’t think of before. So start early, and hopefully by the time baby does start to get up on hands and knees you will be one step ahead of him.

On average, a baby will start to roll over from tummy to back at around 4 months old. By 6 months old, he will be rolling from back to front as well. Once he masters both directions, he will quite literally be on a roll. You’ll see him using this new trick to make his way across the room. He’ll probably roll until he runs into something that stops him, and then roll back. Every baby is a little different as to when they will hit these milestones, so go by your own child’s abilities. At this point baby will also likely be pushing himself up on his hands.

Where Should I Start?

When you see him start to roll from front to back, it’s time to baby-proof. Start with the dangers that baby is most likely to encounter – this means dangers that are at his level. The best way to do this is to get down on the floor and see things from baby’s angle. Start with the rooms where baby spends the most time on the floor.

Things that baby can reach even from lying on the floor such as outlets, low shelves, drawers and cupboards are a good place to start. Watch for any small items baby could get into his mouth and choke on, or breakable items. Baby gates are an early investment well worth making. They will keep baby safe from stairs and also help to keep him contained in one part of the house, so that you can concentrate your baby-proofing efforts there.

Continual Baby-proofing

Baby-proofing is a continual process. Just when you think you have everything covered, baby will grow taller, or learn a new skill. First she’ll crawl, and then she’ll pull up on furniture, cruise around it, and eventually walk. Somewhere in there she will learn to climb too. And before you know it, she will be able to push a chair to where she wants it and climb up to reach something even higher. She will also learn how to open doors into new rooms.

Take your baby-proofing cues from your baby, and try to stay one step ahead. When she is rolling, go ahead and baby-proof for crawling, and when she crawls, baby-proof for pulling up. Think of baby-proofing as an ongoing process; there will always be something new that needs to be made safe against your baby’s curiosity.

Your baby-proofing will also need to expand to new rooms as she becomes more mobile. Thinking ahead and getting your house ready for baby before she gets moving will keep you from discovering a hazard the wrong way – by baby getting hurt.

A Room by Room Guide to Baby-Proofing Your Home

When your baby starts to get moving, it’s time to make sure your house is safe for her to roam. Keep baby safe as she explores with this easy guide to baby-proofing, room by room.

Living Room and/or Family Room

Start with the room where your baby likely spends the most time playing. This will probably be your living room or family room. Look for these common dangers:

  • Secure any furniture to the wall that could potentially tip over onto baby. This includes bookshelves, entertainment units, and televisions. If you have a flat-panel television, consider having it wall-mounted.
  • Remove any breakable or dangerous items from low shelves or coffee tables.
  • If you have a fireplace, secure the doors or block access to it any way you can.
  • Secure doors to any cabinets that might contain breakable or dangerous items
  • Consider replacing floor lamps with models that can be placed out of reach. As there is no way to secure them properly, they could easily tip over on baby. They can also be placed behind furniture.
  • Cover all electrical outlets with secure covers.
  • Tie up cords for blinds, or better yet, replace them with cordless blinds.
  • Cover sharp corners of furniture with soft corner covers

Kitchen and Dining Room

The kitchen is a place full of dangerous items that should be kept out of baby’s reach. In addition to these security measures, be sure never to leave baby unattended in the kitchen.

  • Secure all cabinets and drawers. There are several systems on the market today to make accessing the cabinets you use most easier.
  • Secure the fridge, oven, and dishwasher.
  • During cooking, use back burners as much as possible, and keep handles turned inward
  • Keep fridge magnets that are small enough to get into baby’s mouth up high, out of reach.
  • Don’t leave knives or glasses near the edge of the counter, even if you think baby can’t reach that high.
  • Push chairs in under tables to discourage climbing
  • Cover sharp table corners with soft corner covers.

Bathroom

The bathroom is another room that requires careful baby-proofing. Even if you keep the door closed and don’t allow baby access, take measures to be sure the room is safe.

  • Secure the lid to the toilet.
  • Secure all cabinets and drawers.
  • Make sure that any medication is kept out of baby’s reach and in a locked cabinet.
  • Cover the tub faucet with a soft cover to protect baby’s head
  • Install slip-proof grips on the bottom of the tub

Bedrooms

Baby’s bedroom should be a top priority for baby-proofing, but don’t forget your bedroom and any others in the house as well.

  • Secure any cords that are dangling from blinds so that they are out of baby’s reach, or replace them with cordless blinds. No matter which blinds you have, try to place baby’s crib away from the window.
  • Make sure any furniture that could potentially tip over is secured to the wall
  • Do not keep any medications in baby’s room.
  • Cover all electrical outlets.
  • Make sure to drop the crib mattress to its lowest position when baby learns to pull up on the rail, to avoid a potential fall.

Other Parts of the House

Watch for potential hazards in the small sections of the house that might not be included in these rooms.

  • Place gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
  • Keep exterior, garage doors and basement doors locked at all times
  • Install outlet covers in hallways and entrances.
  • If you have a laundry room, keep the door closed and secured if possible. If not, consider installing a gate.
  • Keep all detergents and other cleaning supplies in a secure cabinet out of reach.
  • Place latches on closet doors.

Enjoying Meals Together

Eating a meal together has a number of benefits for your family. While sitting down to a meal together can be a challenge with busy schedules, it’s worth the effort to get your family to the table at the same time for at least one meal a day.

Teaching Good Habits

Sitting down to a meal together helps your children to form good habits that will last a lifetime. This includes both healthy eating habits and table manners. When you sit down to eat with your family, you have an opportunity to teach them how to behave at the table. If they learn good manners at home, you won’t have to worry about how they will behave at a restaurant, or if they are invited to a meal at a friend’s house.

Eating meals together also encourages healthy eating habits. Seeing you eating the same healthy foods you have been encouraging your kids to eat will make them more likely to give it a try. They will also learn to slow down, and enjoy their food, rather than rushing through a meal which can cause indigestion.

Seeing you prepare a meal every day will give your child a better appreciation for what goes into the food you serve. Making everyone a part of the meal preparation and clean up process will also teach your children responsibility. And when everyone has a share of the responsibility for making a great family meal, they will enjoy the food more and dinner time battles will start to disappear.

Time to Talk

Family meal time might be the only time you are all in the same room and not focused on something else. Make it a time to talk, catch up with each other, and get to know what is going on in everyone’s busy life. Even for the youngest child, it’s a great time to see mom and dad interacting and chatting about something other than the bills or who is driving carpool this week.

This daily opportunity to reconnect will foster a sense of closeness and security in the family. Your children will start to open up to you more when it becomes normal to spend this time talking. You might hear about things going on in their lives you would otherwise never have known about. Once you have get in to the habit, you will find everyone looks forward to meal time as a chance to spend time together, not just a necessary break for food.

Starting this habit early in life has ramifications for your children as they grow older as well. Research shows that kids who eat meals with the family regularly have better grades and are less likely to get in trouble with drugs and alcohol down the road.

Better meals, Better Budget

Eating at home has many benefits, but the two most important are better meals and saving money too! Eating out can be very costly, and it usually means a less nutritious meal.

When you prepare your own food at home, you know what goes into it. You can use fresh produce, choose organic ingredients if you prefer, and watch the salt and fat content. You can also control your portion sizes, which is difficult to do at a restaurant. Making an effort to eat meals at home will save your family money, which can be spent instead on something everyone can enjoy, like a family vacation.

Quick Meals for Busy Families

With everything else that has to be fit into a busy family’s schedule, it can be difficult to prepare a healthful yet fast and easy meal. Too often meals are the one thing that falls through the cracks of our busy lives, and we wind up with take out, frozen dinners, or the same old thing time and again. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a few simple tips you can have a new and different meal on the table every night in less time than it takes to gather up the family to eat.

Soup Reinvented

Canned soups are a staple of the pantry in most busy households. Cracking open a can and heating it in the microwave is the quickest way to have dinner on the table in no time flat. But with just a little extra effort and a slightly longer cook time, you can have a home made soup that tastes better and is better for you.

Keep the basics of a soup in the house. While homemade broth might taste great, it’s not realistic for most families on the go. Buy cartons of store bought broth. It’s available in chicken, beef, and vegetable. By mixing together broth, a few seasonings, and some fresh chopped vegetables, you will have a tasty homemade soup in no time. Quick and easy soup recipes are readily available online, or you can make up your own. Toss in leftover chicken or potatoes; add whatever vegetables you have on hand. You can also choose from noodles, rice, or even beans. There are endless possibilities, and all you need is the basic broth. As soon as the veggies are tender, your soup is ready to serve.

Make it even easier on yourself by throwing the soup fixings in a slow cooker before you leave the house in the morning. You will come home to a lovely aroma and a meal ready to eat.

Wrap It Up

Take the boring sandwich and the same old burrito to a new level using tortillas and interesting fillings to create delicious wraps. Look for tortillas in different flavors, such as spinach and cheese to add flair and taste to your wraps. Then lay out a buffet of possibilities for filling them!

Try a Southwest wrap with fillings of beans, rice, corn, spicy chicken, cheese and ranch dressing. Go Asian with some crispy chow mein noodles, cooked chicken or pork, fresh greens and a sesame-ginger dressing. Or roll romaine lettuce, chicken, Caesar dressing and parmesan cheese into a tortilla, skip the fork and eat your chicken Caesar salad with your hands. The possibilities are endless.

Switch Up Your Pasta

If your family groans every time you serve up spaghetti and meatballs, change things up a bit. Try some different noodles, such as penne or rigatoni. Toss with pesto and chicken instead of tomato sauce, or try fettuccine alfredo at home – it really isn’t all that hard to make. These meals can be on the table just as fast as that tired old spaghetti.

Add chopped fresh vegetables to cold pasta and toss with a salad dressing such as Italian. Who says a pasta dinner has to be hot? On a summer evening a cold pasta salad is sure to be a hit.

These are just a few of the ways you can come up with a fast meal your family will love. Look to old standards and change them up for a fresh look at dinner, and your family will thank you for it!

Supporting Baby’s Immune Health

We all know that the immune system exists to protect our bodies from harmful invaders, and that it is vital to keeping us healthy. The complex immune system is a powerful force for identifying and eliminating dangerous foreign matter that enters the body. A baby’s immune system, however, is not yet developed enough to successfully defend that tiny body – it needs a little help. Do you know how to best support your baby’s immune system so that it can do its job keeping your little one healthy? Answer these three basic questions to find out!

What is the Number One Way to Boost a Newborn’s Immune System?

When it comes to strengthening your newborn’s fledgling immune system, the absolute best thing you can do is to choose to breastfeed. Breast milk, especially the early, darker colored milk called colostrum, is packed with antibodies that your baby can’t get anywhere else. These antibodies are the building blocks of immunity. They give your newborn a fighting chance against the bacteria and viruses that are new to his body. Your baby received antibodies through the placenta during your pregnancy, but from the moment of birth that protection begins to wane. The only way to continue to protect him is to keep the supply of antibodies up through breast milk.

While formulas have come a long way over the years, they simply can not provide these antibodies to your baby, so if you can, breastfeed for as long as possible. When you stop breastfeeding, the same effect will occur as when you gave birth – the antibodies will become less and less effective. The longer you breastfeed, the more time you allow for your baby to grow bigger and stronger, and for his immune system to make its own antibodies.

What Does a Fever Mean?

Fever is a sign that your baby’s immune system has kicked into gear to fight off an invading force. In the first few months of life, a fever in your baby is your first clue that something is not right. While older children and adults will come through most fevers just fine, a newborn doesn’t have the strength to fight off whatever the fever is signaling. Any fever in a newborn warrants a call to your doctor’s office. Antibiotics might be necessary to help her immune system fight off the illness causing the fever.

Recognize the signs that your baby is getting sick, such as fever and others – lethargy, changes in appetite and sleep habits – and help your baby’s immune system fight off the illness by stepping in quickly.

Is Exposing Baby to Germs Good or Bad?

It might sound like a silly question, but it’s a good one. Exposure to germs is what triggers the immune system to respond, and create antibodies that will fight off illness. However, a baby’s body isn’t strong enough to fight off many of the germs he might encounter. So what is the right answer? Avoid exposure to germs as much as possible for the first few months of life, when baby is still very small and vulnerable. During those early months, a simple illness can quickly become very serious, so be very careful.

As she grows and becomes stronger, you can be a little less militant on the germ patrol. This doesn’t mean exposing her to people you know are sick so she can build antibodies! Just that you can take her to more places and let her body start to build its defenses against what it encounters.

With the answers to all three of these questions, you arm yourself with the knowledge to boost your baby’s immune system so that eventually her body will be able to defend itself.

Sun Safety for Your Baby

There’s nothing more fun than spending a sunny day enjoying the outdoors with your baby. Before you head out to enjoy the sunshine, make sure to take a few precautions to protect baby’s delicate skin and eyes from those bright rays.

Sunscreen for All

It doesn’t matter what shade your baby’s skin is; sunscreen is an absolute must. Many people believe that having darker skin will protect them from the harmful effects of the sun, but while darker skin tones are less susceptible to burning than lighter ones, they aren’t impervious to the sun. No matter what your baby’s skin tone, you should use sunscreen every time you go out to play.

Choose a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. The minimum recommended SPF is 15, but it’s a good idea to go higher – as high as you can find. Look for a formula that is designed for babies – it won’t sting baby’s eyes if it gets in them by accident.

When applying sunscreen to babies under 6 months old, apply sparingly, on small areas of the body that are not otherwise protected. When your baby is this young, it’s best to stay out of direct sunlight altogether as much as possible, and use hats and protective clothing. Over 6 months old, apply sunscreen to all exposed parts of the body. Make sure to apply the sunscreen about 30 minutes before heading outside, to give it time to absorb into the skin, and rub it in well. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming.

Remember that even if it’s cloudy, the sun is still up there; harmful UV rays can make it through the cloud cover. Use sunscreen every time you are going to be outside for any space of time. This includes the winter! Sunlight can reflect off the snow, and although the sun’s rays may be weaker in the wintertime, they are still damaging. If your baby is enjoying a snow day, winter clothing will probably cover most skin, but dab some sunscreen on any part of the face that is exposed.

Protective Clothing and Eyewear

So your baby doesn’t like wearing a hat? Keep trying. A hat will shade sensitive eyes and protect the skin on the top of the head, where it can be difficult to apply sunscreen because of baby’s hair. Try a hat with a chin strap that stays on, but if that bothers baby, just keep putting it back on. It might be frustrating, but it’s the best way to protect his head and face.

Sunglasses with UV protection are now available in small sizes for babies, and include a strap to help keep them on. Baby’s eyes are very sensitive, so keep them protected as best you can.

Look for swimsuits and clothing that include UV protection. Entire lines of baby clothes are now available with this feature, from swim shirts to sun hats. These fabrics will help to protect baby from rays that can get through the clothing’s weave. Tightly woven fabrics will also help.

Remember to limit your time in the sun with baby, especially on days when the UV index is particularly high. This information is available from your weather channel or online, but it’s easy enough to see that a very hot, sunny day will have a high UV index. Sunburn and future risk of skin cancer aren’t the only dangers on a hot day. Heat stroke can occur too, so don’t stay out too long, and make sure baby has plenty of fluids.

Does Going to Bed with a Bottle Cause Cavities?

You’re tired, you just want to go to sleep, and you know that if you put baby down with a bottle, she will go to sleep easily so you can head off to bed yourself. Every mother has been there, doing whatever it takes to get some rest. Unfortunately, putting baby to bed with a bottle can do serious damage to her teeth.

Tooth Decay and Baby Bottles

Early childhood tooth decay can happen in a number of ways, but the most common and often the most severe of these is known as baby bottle tooth decay. It results when liquids containing natural sugars, such as formula, breast milk and juices, are left on the teeth while baby sleeps. This form of tooth decay can also occur in breast fed babies, even if they do not take a bottle, but breastfeed on demand during the night after the first tooth appears. Putting your baby to bed with a bottle is a major risk factor for baby bottle tooth decay.

Tooth decay in babies may start off mild, but can quickly progress to a very serious problem. It can result in infection and in your child losing one or more teeth.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

Although baby teeth are only temporary, they play a very important role in your child’s development. Your baby needs them not only to eat, but also to develop normal speech. Baby teeth are also place holders for adult teeth. If they are lost too soon, the adult teeth may come in crooked. The loss of baby teeth can not only harm your baby’s smile now, but her adult smile as well,

Preventing Tooth Decay in Babies

The American Dental Association offers some recommendations on how to avoid tooth decay in your baby. One of the major recommendations is that you avoid putting baby to bed with a bottle. That isn’t the only important precaution you should take, however.

Sugary drinks such as juices should be kept to a minimum during the day, and avoided entirely at night. In fact, unless your doctor has recommended juice for a problem such as dehydration or constipation, there is no real reason for a baby to have juice at all. Ensure that baby finishes his bottle entirely prior to a nap or bedtime, and gently wipe his teeth with a clean piece of gauze before you put him down.

Start a dental hygiene routine as soon as baby’s first tooth appears. Contrary to previous recommendations against using fluoride toothpaste, the ADA now recommends using a baby toothpaste containing fluoride right from the start to protect and strengthen teeth. You should get in the habit of brushing baby’s teeth at least twice a day, and wiping teeth after each feeding.

As soon as your baby is able to do so, you should tech him to start drinking from a cup and avoid trainer or “sippy” cups as much as possible. Consumption of sugary beverages throughout the day should be discouraged. If your child is thirsty, offer a drink of water.

The ADA recommends that you take your child to see a dentist as soon as his first tooth erupts. You can take him to your own dentist, or find a pediatric dentist who specializes in children.

Taking care of your baby’s teeth from the moment they first appear will ensure he has a healthy smile for a lifetime.

The AAP’s New Stance on Food Allergies

About 50 million children in the US suffer from allergies, some of them very severe. Many new parents are extremely concerned about potential allergies in their children, and how to proceed cautiously with potentially allergenic foods, such as peanuts, shellfish, milk and eggs. As food allergies tend to be the most severe and potentially life-threatening, a great deal of research has been focused on how to reduce the risk. The AAP offers several recommendations.

When to Introduce Allergenic Foods

The AAP previously recommended delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods to a baby to prevent allergies. Recent research, however, refutes this. Previous recommendations were to avoid allergenic foods during pregnancy and through the first 2 years of life. In fact, the results might be the opposite – eating these foods during pregnancy and introducing children to them earlier may actually reduce the risk of allergies in the child. The current evidence at the very least does not support any benefit to avoiding these foods.

There is an exception to these guidelines; if there is a family history of severe food allergies, especially if the parents or siblings have allergies, it’s still a good idea to follow the old rules, and avoid exposure. Children with a genetic predisposition to food allergies should try the baby foods in question cautiously and at an older age, when they are stronger and more able to recover from a reaction.

If you are concerned about allergies, talk to your doctor to find out what the best path is for you, both during pregnancy and when your baby is born. Every case is a little different, and talking to your doctor can help you make sense of how the recommendations apply to you.

One of the best things a mother can do to prevent her baby from developing allergies is to breastfeed the baby for at least the first four months. Babies who are breastfed are less likely to have not only food allergies, but other types of allergies as well. This effect is most pronounced in children with a high risk for allergies. There is also no evidence that avoiding allergenic foods during lactation prevents or reduces the risk of allergies in the baby.

Does Your Baby Have an Allergy?

It can be hard to tell if the reaction is mild, so if you suspect an allergy, see your baby’s doctor. Not all allergic reactions will be serious or life-threatening, but an initial mild reaction does not mean that the next reaction won’t be stronger. If you notice anything strange after your baby has eaten a new food for the first time, such as a diaper rash, rash on the skin, upset stomach including strange bowel movements or vomiting, call your baby’s doctor. Avoid the food in question until you have talked it over with a medical professional.

In order to make it clear which foods are the culprits, be sure to introduce new foods one at a time, and wait a few days in between new foods. This way, you can tell which food is responsible for the reaction. You may not see a reaction the first time your baby tries the food, either. Sometimes the allergic reaction does not occur until the second or third time the food is ingested, which is why several days should be allowed in between adding to baby’s diet.

If your baby does develop an allergy, you may not have to avoid the food forever. Many childhood allergies are outgrown in time, but be cautious about re-introducing the food, should you choose to do so. If your child has not outgrown the allergy, a strong reaction is possible.

Safe Toys for Baby

Make sure that your baby’s playtime is both fun and safe by choosing the right toys, and always checking them for any potential hazards. Watch for a few key things to make sure your baby is playing with safe toys.

Recommended Age

Always check the package for the manufacturer’s recommended age before purchasing a toy. The age on the package is carefully chosen to make sure that the toy is both developmentally appropriate and safe for your baby. Remember, however, that not all babies develop at the same rate. Your baby might be six months old, but isn’t necessarily ready for every toy marked 6 months and up. Conversely, if your baby is developing rapidly you might want to choose some toys that are beyond his age range; however, if you do this, make certain the toy is not potentially dangerous. Toys meant for older children might have small parts that present a choking hazard.

Choking and Strangulation Risks

Look every toy over carefully for any small parts that could come loose. Things like wheels on toy cars, eyes sewn onto stuffed animals or dolls, or other small pieces. Check baby’s toys over regularly for signs of wear that could result in pieces of the toy coming off and posing a choking hazard.

Toys should not have any strings or cords longer than 6 inches as this could pose a strangulation risk. Check any toys that do have a cord to make sure it is secure and not fraying over time.

Washability, Durability and Paint

Look for toys that are easily washable so that you can sanitize them regularly. Babies love to put their toys into their mouths, so keeping them clean will help keep baby healthy. Some toys can be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher, while others will need to be hand washed. Make sure to clean bath toys regularly as the constant wet can cause mildew, especially inside of toys like bath squirters, which should be replaced regularly.

Look for toys that are durable and won’t break easily. Wooden toys should be smooth with no danger of splinters. Plastic toys should not shatter or snap if dropped or thrown. When choosing toys, look for high quality items; they might cost more, but they will last longer. Check all toys regularly for any signs of wear.

Check the finish of the toy. If it is painted, you will want to make sure lead paint was not used. While the US has laws against use of lead paints in children’s toys, many other countries where toys are manufactured may use them. When choosing painted toys, stick to a manufacturer dedicated to the use of safe materials. Plastic toys too may have a finish that could wear off, especially if chewed on. Scratch it with your fingernail to see if anything comes up. If so, toss the toy.

Safe Toy Storage.

Look for toy storage that is low to the ground, so baby won’t tip it over trying to get toys out. If using a toy chest, be sure is has safety hinges that will prevent it from slamming on baby’s fingers. Toy storage should allow for air to get in, just in case baby gets stuck inside with the lid closed.

If you have children of different ages, store toys for older children out of reach of baby. Consider keeping them in the older child’s room, and make sure that your older child cleans up all the toys after play. Toys meant for older kids can pose a risk to your baby.

Playtime should be fun, not dangerous. So keep an eye on your baby’s toys to make sure they are safe and clean!

A Healthy Immune System for Baby

A healthy immune system is vital to helping your baby’s body to fight off infections and avoid illness. To keep her immune system working at peak performance, baby needs a little help from you.

In the womb, antibodies are passed to baby from her mother via the placenta. But after birth, their power will start to wane, and unless they are replace baby will be vulnerable to illness. A baby won’t start to produce her own antibodies until she is a few months old. In the meantime, there is a way to help her out.

Breastfeeding and Immunity

Breast milk is the only way to get vital antibodies to your baby in the first months of life. The AAP recommends that new mothers breastfeed for at least the first four months, but preferably exclusively for the first six months. This isn’t just because breast milk contains antibodies. It also gives your baby the optimum nutritional content she needs to be healthy. A body that is receiving all the nutrients it needs is a body that supports immune health.

Baby’s Diet and Immune Health

When your baby starts on solid baby foods, make sure to offer her a wide variety of healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables. The nutrients in these foods will help to support her immune system and keep her healthy. Look for foods high in vitamins C and E, which are known to have immunity-strengthening properties. These foods include choices like applesauce, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and more. Also, be sure to include foods high in zinc, which also supports immune health. This important mineral appears in proteins such as chicken and eggs.

Probiotics have recently been recognized as playing a major role in immune health. They are the good bacteria that our bodies need in order to fight off any number of illnesses. Probiotics can be found in foods like yogurt, but use caution. Many commercial yogurts have been flash heated to maintain shelf life – which kills many of the good bacteria. Look for an all natural yogurt that has not been heated. You can also use probiotic supplements; talk to your baby’s doctor about how to implement them into baby food diet.

The Importance of Sleep

It might not be the first thing to come to mind when you think of a healthy immune system, but making sure that your baby gets the sleep he needs is actually vital to supporting a healthy immune system. In the same way that adults can get run down and become vulnerable to infection when we aren’t getting enough sleep, babies need sleep to stay healthy – and they require a lot more sleep than we do.

During sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, making it better able to fight off illness. A newborn requires upwards of 16 hours of sleep, and in the first year of life that need won’t go down much. Make sure baby gets enough rest by sticking to a bedtime routine and a nap schedule as much as you can. If baby seems to be sleeping more than usual, he might be fighting something off. Let him get his rest, and watch for further signs of illness. Sometimes all the body needs is a little extra down time to let the immune system kick in and do its job.

A healthy immune system means a healthy baby, so do everything you can to support it from the day he is born. If you pay attention to his body’s needs, your baby’s immune system will stay strong and keep him strong too.

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