It’s that time of year and the email requests and phone calls from mamas on how to boost the immune systems of their youngsters are coming in. For the record, this is not medical advice, rather what I have seen work from experience supporting families via nutrition and coaching for more than a decade.
Babies get their primary nutrient support from breast milk while exclusive breastfeeding is happening. In this case it’s up to mama to work the best foods and supplements into her own diet to sustain herself and baby. Our girls got probiotics from only weeks old, and I gave it to them by spoon, and as it was such a novelty it was always a hit. I do recommend beginning a cod liver oil regimen for baby after 3 months, at ½ tsp a day.
For babies a powder multivitamin/mineral is great. The one I use is NOT to replace formula if you are formula feeding, but is meant to work with preventing and supporting the baby who may have food sensitivities or allergies. It’s got about 8 grams of rice based protein and can be mixed with water, rice milk or breast milk (I don’t recommend juice at this age).
Toddlers are in a species category of their own, aren’t they? Some are picky eaters and some eat everything you hand them. Mostly I find that toddlers will eat anything you eat, and will eat anything they help to prepare. They will also eat, without issue, that which has been introduced from early on.
Enter in the conversation of cod liver oil. Yes, the stuff your grandma talks about taking when she was a child. Probably your grandmother’s cod liver oil wasn’t flavored with lemon to cut the taste of fish, and today we have those options. Cod liver oil is such a great way to boost immunity. It can be used in treatment of chronic and infectious disease, improves brain function and memory, can prevent cavities, can reverse and prevent diabetes and the list goes on. Introducing a daily teaspoon of this now will have them familiar with this routine versus attempting to introduce it when the child is older, has a stronger will and may win that battle.
A multivitamin/mineral is important and the powder based product I mentioned for babies is applicable here. It’s easy, can be blended with frozen berries into smoothies or straight up in milk or water, shaken and consumed that way. There are also great chewable and liquid multi forms available. Daily probiotics are also recommended as most children these days have been treated with antibiotics at some point and the delicate balance of intestinal flora is likely compromised.
Probiotics will help to support the immune system and promote healthy
digestion. Cod liver oil is a must, though unless your kids are comfortable swallowing a gel capsule, liquid is the preferred form. If they won’t take it as a liquid, you can give them an EPA/DHA Omega 3 supplement and those can typically be found in chewable form.
The multivitamin/mineral product mentioned for babies and tots is also applicable here. This is especially true if your child is working with food sensitivities and allergies. If this doesn’t fit your lifestyle or interest you could use a multivitamin/mineral chewable.
Vitamin D supplementation is also something you in the least want on hand at home if your child isn’t taking it daily. To fight off flu and work with the common cold and whatever else is going around school.
These are just the basics of what one can do to support their babies, tots and kids in being healthy. I have found the supplements one can purchase in the stores aren’t a nutraceutical grade. You can purchase a higher quality product typically through your chiropractor, naturopath, homeopath or someone such as myself.
Nichi Hirsch Kuechle supports mom from Preconception through Early Childhood as a Parent Coach, out of Minneapolis. She publishes a bi-monthly e-zine called Natural Family, which offers tips, ideas and resources for naturally raising your children. She also teaches a variety of live and virtual workshops. She has a special bonus for you, the New Parent Tool Kit, which you can get for FREE by logging onto www.myhealthybeginning.com