Whether it’s a common cold or a stomach bug, there are few things that strike fear into a parent’s heart more than the thought of their baby being sick. Unfortunately, there’s no way to ensure your little one won’t get ill, but it is possible to improve newborn health. From taking the right supplements to enjoying skin-on-skin time together, this is your chance to give your baby’s health a head start.
Newborn health boost #1: Take folic acid before conception
We’re fully aware that this one isn’t always possible, especially if yours is an unexpected pregnancy. However, if you’re planning to get pregnant, make a point of taking a daily folic acid supplement (400mcg) for at least one month before you conceive, and during your first trimester. Folic acid is often touted as the multivitamin superhero, and it’s not without grounds, because it helps to reduce neural-tube defects such as spina bifida.
Newborn health boost#2: Eat well during pregnancy
According to a recent study, a high-fat diet may have the potential to damage cells in the foetal liver, which could affect the child’s immune system in later life. For that reason it’s important to make nutritious food choices during your pregnancy.
Newborn health boost#3: If possible, opt for a vaginal birth
Mother Nature designed it this way and as it turns out there’s a good reason for it. Scientists have shown that a natural delivery exposes babies to a host of bacteria that enable them to fight off germs and allergies as they grow up.
Newborn health boost#4: Have some skin-on-skin time
Not only is the practice of skin-to-skin great for bonding, but it also helps to give baby’s immunity a boost. Research shows that babies placed on their mother’s skin immediately after birth receive more of their mother’s bacteria than babies separated after birth. Some studies also suggest that being on mum’s skin increases baby’s skin hydration, which in turn creates a protective barrier from harmful bacteria.
Newborn health boost#5: Breastfeed if you can
From a bump in IQ to stronger bones, there are so many amazing health benefits to breastfeeding your baby. In particular, breast milk is a nutritional source of minerals, antioxidants and other antibacterial substances and research shows that the incidences of pneumonia, colds, allergies and gastrointestinal infections are less common in breastfed babies.