6 ways to supercharge junior’s immunity

Give your munchkin’s immune system the boost it needs with these expert tips!

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Besides embracing a balanced diet, there are a few other things you should do that are beneficial for your tot’s health and wellbeing.

Dr Elizabeth Tham, an associate consultant with the division of paediatric allergy, immunology and rheumatology, and Dr Chan Poh Chong, head and senior consultant with the division of general ambulatory paediatrics and adolescent medicine, both from the National University Hospital shares some nifty ways to fire up your tot’s immunity.

1) Choose to breastfeed

“Breastfeeding exclusively for the first four to six months provides both child and mother with many health and immunological benefits,” notes Dr Tham. It may even reduce the little one’s risk of developing eczema!

The milk produced early on during pregnancy (yes your body may be producing milk even before kewpie’s arrival) and right after giving birth is rich in colostrum. Colostrum — for some mothers, a pale or clear fluid — is full of antibodies and immunity-boosting components, forming the first vital building blocks of your little one’s immune system.

2) Feed yourself well

As mothers, it is common for us to be extra fussy about the foods we are feeding our tots, often prioritising their nutrition over our own. If you think restricting the consumption of some foods might help prevent allergies, Dr Tham says, “Mothers should not restrict their diets while breastfeeding as doing so does not reduce any risk of allergy in children.” A balanced diet is the way to go!

“Simply exposing your tot to second-smoke can increase the risk of respiratory issues later in life.”

3) Kick the habit of smoking

Besides putting yourself at greater risk of chronic health issues (and mounting bills), Dr Tham says smoking increases the risk of your little one developing wheezing and breathing issues. Also, exposure to second-hand smoke after birth can also result in an increased risk of respiratory issues, too.

4) Play hard and sleep well

Devoting adequate time and space for your tot to explore and move about indoors or out is beneficial for their wellbeing and development, says Dr Chan. It is equally beneficial for them to clock quality shuteye every night. 

The rule of thumb should be to keep your living environment at home as stress-free as possible.

5) Don’t pre-empt their allergies

When you begin introducing solid foods gradually when they reach 4 to 6 months of age, don’t forget to include common allergenic foods — egg, dairy, nuts, fish and shellfish — as a part of their diets. According to Dr Tham, NOT doing so will only increase the baby’s risk of developing allergies. 

Don’t know what counts as a superfood for your tot? Read on to find out what Dr Chan has to say…