In the first three years of life, children are more prone to infections, but there are several gestures parents can take to protect them. Our immune system – the shield that protects our body from aggression – is the result of the interaction between genetic characteristics and the environment.
In the first 2/3 years of life, the immune system is immature, which means that at this stage children are more prone to infections. The good news is that there are measures – from food to sleep – that parents can take to strengthen their child’s immunity.
Strategies for strengthening baby’s immune system
If possible, breastfeed
Provide a complete and adequate diet during the first six months of your baby’s life, made up of nutrients, antibodies and enzymes that reinforce his defences, preventing infections, allergies, obesity or even some types of cancer.
Diversify your alimentation
If the diversification of food is implemented in a progressive, rational and balanced manner, from four to six months, and orientated by the paediatrician, it provides all of the nutrients and protective elements necessary for the reinforcement of the immune system.
Avoid passive smoking
Smoke resulting from the consumption of cigarettes by others is harmful for your child because tobacco destroys the body’s defences that help fight diseases, leaving children more exposed to infections.
Wash your hands properly
It is essential that people who come into contact with babies have good hand hygiene before touching the child. When they are ill, they should take extra measures such as wearing a mask.
Avoid overcrowded small spaces
Parents should value, for example, crèches with fewer children per room and/or avoid places with a high concentration of people (public transport, commercial spaces, etc.).
A good sleep hygiene that respects the rhythms of each baby stimulates immunity and prevents infections.
Avoid the inappropriate use of antibiotics
The majority of infections are caused by viruses and are not resolved by taking antibiotics. The overuse of these medicines can create resistance.
Use nutritional supplements with caution!
Vitamin and herbal supplements, among others, should be used with prudence and their use discussed with the paediatrician beforehand because they can have negative effects on the child’s health.
Information you can trust from A Matter Of StyleWhen it comes to content, our aim is simple: every parent should have access to information they can trust. All of our articles have been thoroughly researched and are based on the latest evidence from reputable and robust sources. Read more about our editorial review process.