When you have a newborn, the world suddenly looks a lot germier. You load up on sanitizing wipes and sprays and tuck them in all your bags and the seat pockets of your car. But here’s the thing: All the wipes in the world won’t change the fact that your little one will still get the occasional cough and sniffles as her immune system develops. You can’t keep germs away forever, but you can help build up your baby’s immunity with a few humble helpers.
Research has long suggested that a healthy immune system stems from a healthy gut. We all have a community of microorganisms, known as our microbiome, that calls our digestive system home. It’s a delicate balance of different types of bacteria, and it’s there to keep us healthy. At least 70 percent of your immune system is in your gut, research finds. A baby’s microbiome is still developing, so promoting beneficial gut flora is key to building immunity.
Hello, prebiotics. Think of these as the food that feeds probiotics, the good bacteria necessary for gut and immune health (more on that below). Prebiotics are carbohydrates your body can’t digest. Instead, they move through the stomach to the lower GI tract, where good bacteria feed on them and thrive.
Prebiotics are found in high-fiber foods such as onions, chicory root, asparagus, dandelion greens, artichokes, and under-ripe bananas. Babies aren’t eating these foods yet, but once your baby’s 4 months old, you can give him a daily supplement containing prebiotics. Our Organic Baby Elderberry Drops include prebiotics in the form of inulin, derived from Jerusalem artichokes, as well as immune-supporting elderberry and zinc.
Probiotics are, as mentioned, friendly bacteria that help promote and restore our microbiome’s balance and our immune system’s strength. You can find these in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles (again, not on a newborn’s menu), but you can also get them in supplements. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most well-recognized strains. Our Baby Probiotic Drops contain pure Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, the world’s most-studied single-strain probiotic, delivering 1 billion cells per serving—without sugar, dairy, artificial flavors or colors.
3. Vitamin D
Chances are you’ve heard some buzz about vitamin D and immune health. Research has shown that this vitamin bolsters immune health against nasty bacteria and viruses (which include those occasional coughs and sniffles), and a deficiency of vitamin D is linked to increased infections, autoimmune issues, and allergies.
The body doesn’t make vitamin D. We can only get it from our foods, sunlight, and supplements. Supplementation is especially important for breastfeeding infants because breast milk lacks vitamin D, infants aren’t yet eating a variety of foods, and it’s best for them to avoid direct sunlight. That;s why we made Baby Vitamin D Organic Drops, which promote healthy growth and bone development with 400 IU of liquid vitamin D in just one drop. Our Baby Multivitamin + Iron also contains 400 IU of vitamin D, along with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, E, folate, and iron, covering your little one’s nutritional bases while providing immune support.
While your baby may still get occasional coughs and sniffles, take heart: The habits you’re starting with your little one now will help him develop his immune system for the long haul. That’s nothing to sneeze at!