Tips for Boosting You + Your Little One’s Immune Systems

Hey mama,

How are we all doing out there? Are you panic stricken by the CoronaVirus coverage or are you managing to keep it together? Maybe somewhere in between? With all the numbers, speculation and warnings going around, it’s hard to process the information or know what to do next.

Here at Fake Mom, we’re all about being proactive, rather than waiting to be reactive. And the best way to be proactive about contagious viruses or public health outbreaks is to support your immune system so your body is ready should it need to fight off an infection, virus or bacteria. Below are 17 tips for boosting your and your littles one’s immune health along with some tips for sneaking the trickier foods into meals.  

There are few things harder than being sick and trying to care for a little one who’s full of energy, so make sure you’re taking good care of yourself too! Grown ups can incorporate any of the items on the list into their lifestyle, while some tips are not suited for small children. Each tip will denote whether or not it is suitable for children 

Citrus Fruit rich in vitamin c, which is thought to boost white blood cell production. They’re sweet and juicy flavors tend to make them an easy favorite with little ones, but if you have a picky eater who is texture sensitive, using citrus juices is a great substitute. Processed store bought juices have a lot more sugar than the actual fruit, so if you can’t juice yourself, we recommend watering store bought juice down with at least half as much water as juice. You’re little one will still get the vitamin boost they need without the extra sugar. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Spinach is a triple threat; packed with white blood cell boosting vitamin c, regenerative antioxidants and strengthening beta carotene. Use it in smoothies blended with other fruits and veggies as little ones tend to not be super excited but this plain tasting leafy green. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Ginger, a go to for most cold like symptoms, ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help fight nausea. Ginger can be used in your littles ones bath but can be quiete strong when it is cooked with. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Garlic for grown ups it’s known for its heart healthy benefits but garlic also contains compounds such as allicin which is known to have immune boosting properties. Garlic is great to use as a flavor enhancer when cooking and is an easy additive to most recipes. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Turmeric is an old world remedy for inflammation that has gained popularity in recent years among western lifestyle gurus for its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties. Turmeric is great added to smoothies or blended treats for your little one. The flavor is mild enough to be masked by citrus fruits and the bold color will peak your little one’s curiosity. Turmeric can be used to cook with or as an additive in small amounts to fresh smoothies or juices. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Papaya, often an overlooked superfood, have more vitamin c than oranges, are packed with potassium, b vitamins, folate and an anti-inflammatory enzyme called papain. Because of it’s mild taste, papayas are also great for smoothies or juicing when added with other more flavorful fruits and vegetables. AGE 8 MONTHS +

Kiwi are full of folate, potassium, and vitamins k and c. They can be a little sour so if your little one won’t eat one by itself, try adding it into a smoothie. The flavor is mild enough to blend seamlessly with other fruits and veggies. AGE 10 MONTHS +

Water is the key to life and health! Our bodies are 70% and require that we consume clean fresh water to replenish what our bodies use up throughout the day. Watering down any liquid your baby drinks is any easy way to decrease heir sugar intake and increase their water intake. AGE 6 MONTHS +

Sleep is simultaneously the most important and most neglected aspect of our modern life. Proper sleep is essential to a healthy, balanced life, and sleep deprivation is the natural enemy of our body’s immune system, killing the cells in our bodies designed to track down and attack dangerous microbes and cancer cells. ALL AGES

Local Honey. Honey can be tricky because children under 1 can contract botulism from the bacteria found in honey. But after 12 months, their bodies are able to process these bacteria properly and they can benefit from its many useful properties. Honey is a natural antibacterial and contains powerful antioxidant properties shown to lower LDL (read: bad) cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides. In children, honey has been found to be as effective as over the counter cough suppressants. The honey acts a barrier, coating the throat and providing relief without the side effects of over the counter meds, which often keep your little one from getting the quality sleep they need to fight off their illness. Adding a bit of honey and lemon to warm water for baby when they’re not feeling good is especially soothing before bed. AGE 12 MONTHS +

Lay off over the counter meds- it may seem counterintuitive but loading your little one up with drugs every time they get the sniffles will actually make them more sick in the long run. As a result of this over medication, bacteria themselves begin to build up an immunity to the treatment. These new, antibacterial resistant strains are harder to fight and a simple ear infection can snowball into a serious infection. ALL AGES

Yogurt contains thousands of good bacteria to keep you healthy from the inside out. The “live and active cultures” stimulate our immune system, help our digestive system to work more efficiently, and are fortified with vitamin d, which helps regulate our immune system and boost our defenses against disease. Most little ones enjoy yogurt because of its mildly sweet flavor but if you have a child who is averse to foods with a runnier consistency, you can use yogurt as a smoothie base and blend it with fruits and veggies to make a delicious drinkable and nutritious snack for your baby.  AGE 6-8 MONTHS +

Blueberries contain Flavonoids, antioxidants that can repair damaged cells and boost your immune system. They are also rich in vitamins and nutrients including vitamins C and A, potassium, fiber and manganese, an essential nutrient found commonly in nuts and legumes. Little ones tend to like blueberries because it’s a chance to flex their fine motor skills and trying to pick them up is just as fun as eating them. They also blend well into any smoothie. AGE 7 MONTHS +

Green Tea: Green tea is loaded with caffeine, so this one is definitely not for kids. But for grown ups, green tea is somewhat of a superfood. The caffeine boost is a welcome effect for most grown ups but it’s levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a powerful antioxidant shown to boost immune health. Green tea also contains high levels of L-Theanine, an amino acid that may raise production of germ fighting compounds in your body’s T-cells. ADULTS ONLY

Cruciferous Vegetable: These include cabbage, broccoli, colliflower, kale, brussel sprouts, bok choy, radishes, arugula, collards and watercress: Rich in vitamins and minerals like folate and vitamin K, darker varieties are also rich in vitamins A and C. They’re also packed full of phytonutrients, plant based compounds that benefit our bodies in a number of ways, most notably by acting as anti-inflammatories and reducing our risk for cancer and heart disease. Little ones enjoy cruciferous vegetables the most when they’re cooked a bit and seasoned with aromatic spices like garlic, onion or turmeric, all of which provide their own health benefits. AGE 10 MONTHS +

Mushrooms: They’re usually not popular with kids but adults love them and mushrooms are packed full of nutrients that help keep us strong and healthy. Cooked properly, the varieties that are not poisonous are packed with B vitamins, potassium, copper, antioxidants and beta glucan, a soluble fiber linked to lowering cholesterol and supporting heart health. AGE 12 MONTHS +

Sunflower seeds: This may be a surprising one for most people but sunflower seeds are actually packed with nutrients including phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins B-6 and E, a powerful antioxidant responsible for regulating our immune system. AGE 24 MONTHS +

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-that-boost-the-immune-system#ginger

https://www.parents.com/health/cold-flu/cold/boost-childs-immunity/

https://www.geisinger.org/health-and-wellness/wellness-articles/2018/01/19/14/09/6-foods-to-boost-your-immune-system-through-cold-and-flu-season

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/the-beginners-guide-to-cruciferous-vegetables https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/are-mushrooms-good-for-you

Attachment Part 2: Incorporating meaningful touch into your child’s life

Happy Hump Day Mama! You’re halfway there..

We hope the New Year’s been treating you kindly 🙂 Today, we’re jumping right in, with Part Two of our series on the importance of physical touch in your child’s development. If you missed Part One when we discussed 25 benefits that come from positive, affirming physical touch, you can catch up here.

Today, we’re taking it a step further, and looking at what we can actually do to incorporate loving, meaningful touch into our little one’s lives.

Kangaroo Care

VIA UNITYPOINT.ORG

Kangaroo Care gets its name from its similarities to marsupial care. It involves a parent holding their swaddled newborn to their bare chest. For children born preterm or with complications, Kangaroo Care has life altering capabilities (6). In the first hour after birth, skin to skin contact is essential for babies to bond with their parents and regulate their vitals (1). This initial skin to skin time is so important in baby’s growth and development that professionals recommend building time for it into your birthing plan, postponing the normal protocol after birth of washing and weighing baby to prioritize skin to skin time (1).

Infant Massage

VIA MOM365

Infant massage is the next stage of important developmental touch after skin to skin. This type of touch is about bonding, love and respect. It’s important to be read baby’s interactions with you during this time; Trust is a key part of this activity, and it goes without saying that baby needs to trust that you’re not going to hurt them, so pay attention to the physical responses your child may be giving you; whether they are positively engaged or disengaged. Children communicate instinctively from their time they’re born, through physical responses before they can talk so it’s important that you learn to read their cues (1).

Good Nights

Creating positive associations with sleep is a vital part of your child’s development, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to build in positive touch with your little one. Goodnight hugs and kisses are quick and easy ways to increase your physical interactions and massaging their head or back while you read them a goodnight story will help them fall asleep faster and feel more connected to you.

Myth Busters: They Don’t Know What They’re Talking About…

How many times has someone (older than you, most likely) told you that you were gonna spoil your baby picking them up too much? This is one of the most common critiques of moms, most especially from well meaning (?) relatives and family friends, who know that you’re going to regret picking that baby up so much when they won’t leave you alone. Umm, what? Thank you for you concern sir, but we’re not doing that let them cry till they can’t no more, no more.

For generations, the myth that holding a baby too much will ‘spoil them’ has persisted. You’ve likey heard it before, and may have even put some stock in it. Nobody wants a ‘spoiled’ kid and technically, it’s true, they have been raising kids longer than us…

There are two parts to the baby spoiling ideology:

  • You should let your baby cry for a while
  • You’re holding them too much

“Let Them Cry”
When an infant cries, they need something. They’re not crying for your attention (they don’t even understand those concepts yet) and they’re not trying to be difficult. Babies only cry as method of meeting their needs. This means if your child is crying, they need something from you; a meal, a diaper, a measuring hug (7). When you allow your child to cry for extended periods of time, without responding to them, you being to send silent messages that their needs are not a priority, or that you may not even notice them. These messages will compound as the child grows, and one subjected to this kind of treatment for prolonged periods will begin to show effects, like struggling to create bonds with others, that will follow them into adulthood.

Sources:
1. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2013/09/the-benefits-of-touch-for-babies-parents.html
2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/born-love/201003/touching-empathy
3. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/health/23mind.html?scp=3&sq=touch&st=cse
4. https://www.americanadoptions.com/adoption/do-orphanages-still-exist 
5. https://www.chla.org/blog/rn-remedies/cuddling-does-kids-and-parents-good 
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683265/
7. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/features/infants-attention#1