The hand of a sleeping baby, his face blurry in the background.


All parents worry about their children getting sick. It’s part of our nature. Here are three simple but important things you can do to boost your baby’s immunity.

Breastfeed your baby.[1]
Breast milk boosts your child’s immunity through anti-bodies from your own system. Colostrum, the first milk your breasts produce during pregnancy, is especially rich in antibodies (cells that fight germs).

Increase sleep time.
Just like lack of sleep for adults can leave a person drained and prone to getting sick, less sleep among infants can also strain the immune system. Newborns need about 18 hours of sleep a day, toddlers need about 12–13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours of sleep. With all of their activities, it can be hard not to cut into their sleep time—but do your best to make sure your child gets all the sleep they need.

Don’t overload on medicines.
Don’t pressure your pediatrician to prescribe antibiotics for every little cold or infection. Antibiotics only work on infections caused by bacteria and not on infections caused by viruses, such as the common cold or the flu. It is not true that antibiotics ‘can’t hurt.’ Unnecessary use of antibiotics induces the evolution of drug-resistant strains of bacteria, which cause illnesses that don’t respond to antibiotics.

Symptoms of Illness.[2]
Look for the following signs of serious illness and contact your physician about your concerns:

  • Crying continuously and sounds weak and/or high-pitched
  • Responsiveness is low, or your baby is inactive/listless
  • The 'fontanelle’ (soft spot) on your baby’s head is bulging
  • Stiffness of the neck
  • Not drinking for an entire day (eight hours)
  • High temperature, fits, convulsions or seizures
  • Pale or ashen complexion
  • Turning blue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Repeated vomiting or bile-stained vomiting


1. Accessed March 28, 2013. 2. Accessed March 28, 2013.

Information provided is for general background purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by a trained professional. You should always consult your physician about any healthcare questions you may have, especially before trying a new medication, diet, fitness program, or approach to healthcare issues.
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