Building a strong immune system: Setting the foundations for your childs health
The decisions that you make regarding the type of birth and the way you choose to feed your baby will impact their future health. Setting strong foundations for their future health is the best gift you can give your child
Right from the beginning of your child’s life in utero, the birth and then through their life, especially the first 2 years as their immune system is developing all the decisions you make can impact their health.
‘The mode of birth your child goes through can impact their immune response and thus their health. In a natural birth the child has direct contact with the mother’s vaginal and intestinal flora. This helps to shape the newborns gut bacteria colonisation. A study found that newborns born vaginally were colonised with lactobacillus whereas those born via caesarean were colonised with a mixture of bacteria typically found on the skin and in hospitals such as Staphylococcus and Acinetobacter.’ (1)
The gut is where over 70% of our immune system is. This is why it is vitally important to have a healthy gut colonised with good bacteria.
Allergies like asthma and hay fever appear to be more prevalent in infants after caesarean compared to vaginal birth (1). Thus, if the gut is not colonised with good bacteria it will lower the newborns immune response.
Breast fed babies too have distinctly different microbiome to other newborns. ‘A US study has shown that breast fed babies had a gut microbiome that was richer in genes associated with ‘virulence’: the ability to fight off toxic compounds. These same babies also developed changes in the genes of their gut immune system that allowed them to better fight off infection’ (1). When a baby attaches to the mother’s breast the saliva of the baby sends signals to the mother as to how much protein, glucose etc they are needing, so the breast milk is perfect for them at each specific time of their development.
After every birth, no matter what the mode of delivery, put your precious child skin to skin on your chest or your partners chest straight away after birth. Do this in the first hour, at least but a much as you and your partner can in the first 24hours of their life, is very good for their immune system.
Continuing taking probiotics and fish oil by the mother of a breast-fed baby.
If you are unable to breast feed making sure you are giving these to your baby by adding to their bottle to assist in strengthening their immune system.
Life is all about choices so where possible make the best choices you can to support your child’s developing immune system to give them strong foundation for their future health. When going out for meals or travelling prepare your child’s food. It doesn’t take long to do and all you need is a cooler bag to keep it chilled. Have a flask with boiling water in it to heat any food or bottles while you are on the road. Most cafés and restaurants are more than happy to give you some hot water to if this is easier.
Having chips, fried foods, fast food take away is not ideal for a developing child and their taste buds. Keeping their diet full of fresh healthy foods is the best option. This is what the body requires for optimal development. It may take a moment longer to be organised but I can guarantee that is much easier than having a child with a poor immune system response and constantly getting sick.
Have you considered Chiropractic care as a part of your wellness plan to keep your child at their best health throughout life.
- “Gut instinct: how the way you’re born and fed affects your immune system”, The Conversation, Academic Rigour, October 13 2016.
Dr. Deanne Esposito (Chiropractor)