Winterize Your Baby
Winterize... His Immune System
No matter how hard you work to keep germs from infiltrating your baby's body, some will find their way in anyway. Your next line of defense is to strengthen his immunity to better fight the germs.
Stay on his shot schedule All of the vaccine-preventive illnesses are more common during the wintertime. When I was a young doctor, the first hour or two of my rounds were spent visiting children seriously sick with whooping cough, encephalitis caused by measles, and other diseases that have been nearly eradicated by vaccines; I'm a firm believer that getting your child immunized is one of the most responsible things you can do for his health. The flu shot (for both you and your baby, if he's over 6 months) can spare you many sleepless nights this winter; if only we had a vaccine for the common cold! (For more information, read The Vaccine Book by my son, Robert Sears, M.D.) Breastfeed as long as you can Breastfed babies have fewer ear and upper respiratory infections, and are at a lower risk of developing asthma and allergies. Even part-time breastfeeding provides your baby with Mama's preventive medicine. Each drop of your milk contains more than a million infection-fighting white blood cells, plus immunoglobulins-proteins that coat the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and act like a protective paint to keep the germs out of the rest of a baby's body.
Stock up on immune-boosting foods My favorite stay-healthy eats, in order of potency, are: oomega-3-saturated salmon, antioxidant-filled blueberries, vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies (strawberries, papaya, cantaloupe, kiwi, broccoli, and spinach), and probiotics-packed yogurt. During the winter months, I encourage moms to feed their babies lots of fruit-and-yogurt smoothies in addition to a variety of vegetables.
Winterize... Her Skin
It's easy for a baby's skin to become dry during the winter months, and as a result, we see a rise in eczema flare-ups -- especially in the neck folds and groin -- during this time. And serious eczema breakouts can leave skin vulnerable to bacterial infection. Keeping your baby's skin soft and healthy means treating it from the outside and nourishing it from the inside.
Do the "soak and seal" Instead of rubbing your baby dry with a towel after her bath, gently blot her skin, leaving a thin layer of water. Then apply a moisturizer such as Aquaphor to seal in the softness.
Cut her nails more often Dry skin itches; trim your baby's nails regularly to prevent further irritation from over-scratching.
Serve her fish Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some fish, oils the skin from the inside, so I always tell parents, "If you don't want your baby's skin to feel like a fish, feed her fish!" Salmon is the best source of omega-3's, and wild Alaskan is the healthiest type of salmon (luckily, it's the kind found in most canned salmon, a less expensive and more convenient alternative to pricey fresh filets).