How long does it take for a baby’s immune system to develop?

The immune system duty serves as the body’s defence. It defends and fights against infection. A source of worry to most parents is the development of their babies’ immune system and how to keep germs away from. Though, research has shown that from babies of ages 4-6 months have a more robust immune system.

The first few weeks of babies’ life is when the immune system of the baby’s life is at its lowest ebb, making them vulnerable to infections and germs. An illness at this stage can be severe or fatal. But the good news is that with adequate breastfeeding and vaccination, your baby can be well protected from germs.

The following steps can help you improve your baby’s immune system and keep germs at bay:

How long does it take for a baby's immune system to develop

How to improve your baby’s immune system

Read: How Can I Build My Baby Immune System?

Breastfeeding

Breast milk has all the nutrients your baby needs. It is filled with essential vitamins, fat and minerals that will nourish and fuel your baby’s growth. It also contains an immunoglobulin called secretory immunoglobulin A, which will defend your baby against infection. Breast milk has often been known to reduce babies’ risk of catching respiratory illnesses and diarrhoea. So make sure you exclusively breastfeed your baby in the six months of birth.

Frequent hand washing

 For the safety of your baby, inculcate the habit of frequently washing your hands before handling your baby, this includes visitors or guests who may want to hold him. Proper handwashing hygiene will ward off germs and infections that are responsible for infant mortality. Illnesses can be fatal for babies under the age of two months. So, use soap and running water to wash your hands, at every point in time. Consider keeping a hand sanitiser handy for guests to use before visiting your baby’s bedside.

Vaccinate your baby

Vaccination is the best way to protect your baby from severe and potentially fatal infections. Vaccination will boost your baby’s immune system and enable him to become protected from harmful diseases like measles and chickenpox. Vaccination, today, is government-funded and very affordable. 

Longer sleep time

Babies need quality sleep time. Recent researches have shown a link between sleep and the immune system. Inadequate sleep may result in a weak immune system. Sleep benefits the brain immensely because it unclutters stress and toxins from the brain. Sleep also positively impacts the digestive system. Poor sleep-time for your baby will mean poor digestion. Allow your baby sleep and nap for as long as possible, with few wakings and no disturbances.

Ensure that your baby’s mattress does not contain hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde. Make sure his mattress cover is washed frequently to prevent the accumulation of germs. 

Layer up during cold weather

Though exposure to cold at an early age is a controversy in the medical community, research has asserted that not keeping your baby warm can lower his immunity because cold can put a lot of strain on the immune system of your baby, increasing the likelihood of illness. 

Dress your baby in a sleeved vest, soft hats and breathable but be careful not to overdress your baby to avoid heat exhaustion.

Read: Can Babies Be Outside In 90 Degree Weather

Sterilize your baby’s utensil

Sterilising is a sure way of killing germs. To prevent infection, your baby’s utensils (baby bottle, plate, feeder) has to be disinfected and cleaned properly after use. Sterilising your baby’s utensils and feeding equipment will ensure the removal of any microbe sticking to their surface. Sterilisation can be done through boiling (using hot water), chemicals or steam.

Keeping your baby safe from ‘school germ’

If your baby has an older sibling, you might want to protect him from germs from school. Children are known to catch germs from school via toilets, bus seats, classroom blocks, drinking fountains essential and so on. It might be necessary to immunize the older kid(s) while teaching him/her how to practice frequent handwashing and ‘elbow sneezing. It might also be necessary for you to at least for the first two months, limit contact. 

Eat healthily

If you are breastfeeding, then it is necessary to eat a nutritious meal because what you eat affects your breast milk. So ensure you eat a lot of protein and vitamins. Sources of protein include fish, meats, eggs, beans and nuts. Vitamins can be found in vegetables and fruits. Drink a lot of water while desisting from alcohol for as long as possible because it impairs your baby’s development, sleep cycle and breast lower milk production.

Read: When do babies feed themselves?

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