Jen Cox - AdvDip NAT + WHM.
Lots of proud little faces in too large uniforms monopolised the socials week, because school is back, beaches. And in case you haven’t met a child IRL before, putting them in a group tends to create illness explosions. Their hygiene is questionable. Their bodies are under the stress of growth spurts and learning curves. Inevitably, they get sick and it is no bloody fun. To combat this, we have 3 recommendations to help make this year of day care, kinder, school and general life a little easier on the unpaid leave.
Eat more fruit and vegetables
Not so fun fact: 95% of Australian littlies don’t eat the recommended daily minimum levels of fruit and vegetables their bodies need to function. Shocked? Don’t be, the adult stats are terrible too and anyone in the parenting game knows kids have been hard work to feed ANYTHING since forever. My own youngest child is so head strong, I’m confident that he’ll either be a CEO or the leader of a prison gang.
Unfortunately for us frazzled motherships their growing bods do really need the vitamins, antioxidants and nutrition from fruit and veggies to create healthy immune responses. So it’s time to prepare for battle… but first please do as the airplane safety guide recommends and start with your own oxygen mask/plate. Lead by example, prioritising fruit and veg, educating as you go and becoming the role model your little person(s) need. You’ll also be building up the residual vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and hydration you’ll need for daily broccoli negotiations and to fight off the myriad of snotties your child lovingly douses you in.
Now that your own oxygen mask is in place, it’s time to help others. Up plants in their meals to provide those squishy little bods with the tools needed to defend against the bogey man. Make healthy swaps to start. Trade half the sandwich for cut up veggies, pack fruits in the place of cheese and crackers/popcorn. Hide the sh!t out of pureed pumpkin or zucchini in their pasta sauce: whatever works, just load them up and they’ll get less sick.
Take a daily Probiotic
The connection between digestive and immune health has been so well researched now that it’s becoming common knowledge. So much of our immune system is based directly around the gut that how we nourish and care for the bacteria in our digestive systems is connected to how our bodies respond to colds, flus, allergies and intolerances. By feeding our little grots with probiotics each day we can help them to get less sick and respond better to allergens. If you’re like most people and are unsure which strain your child specifically needs, a broad-spectrum, top quality probiotic is an excellent daily staple to cover all the bases as it helps not to throw out the delicate balance. Opt for an easy to use powder (capsules are tricky for small people) like PONO Baby Probiotic.
A note on antibiotics too – although these are a brilliant and at times necessary tool, they do kill off good bacteria by the billion. It’s important to re-colonise during and a course to replenish the microbiome.
Load up on rays
I’m so pale I could manage a moon burn, so do love a sun-screened country. Getting some rays without the screen is crucial to immune health though because, outside of supplements, it’s the only way we can create Vitamin D. This vitamin operates in approximately a gazillion body processes including immune modulation. It is so key for immunity, that a large study found the incidence of multiple sclerosis (which is an immune driven illness) to be directly linked to how sunny your home is. The places with less sun have more of it, while sunny, tropical climates have less. Further to that - in situations where genetics play a big part and the illness develops anyway - it happens sooner in those who get less sun.
You would think this bodes well for Australia, however immune modulation issues are on the rise in our kids and it’s suspected that this is due to sunscreen. It blocks the Vitamin D creation. To counter this, keep up the slip slip slap through the middle of the day but do let them get a few rays - 15 minutes on arms and legs is all it takes, preferably in the early morning or evening light. This is just enough time for a hair-raising scooter/trike ride in your ‘hood each morning (weather permitting.) They get their synthesis on, and you get the pleasure of a few new greys as you shriek to them in the distance that a driveway is like a road.