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Tips for parents to boost their babies' immunities

Updated: 2020-06-11


In addition to being influenced by genetic, environmental and some other factors, nutrition -- which is the material basis for maintaining life, activities and health -- is also a key factor affecting immunity.

When is the best time to start interventions for your child's nutrition?

Mature and good immunity develops gradually from the fetus and infant period. These two stages are precisely the immunodeficiency period of infants and are easily infected by various pathogens. This requires scientific nutrition to lay the foundation for the healthy growth of children.

  • The most important stage for boosting your baby's immunity is breastfeeding.

Breast milk is the most natural and optimal food for your baby. Colostrum is rich in nutrients and immunoactive substances, and it could contribute to the development of intestinal functions of the baby and provide immune protection.

Infants younger than 6 months of age should be exclusively breastfed; they can be breastfed until two years of age if conditions permit. It is recommended that the daily milk volume of infants aged 7-12 months should be 700-500 milliliters and that of infants aged 13-24 months should be 600-400 ml.

If it is not possible to breastfeed, or if breast milk is insufficient, an appropriate infant formula can be chosen instead. For infants with a milk protein allergy, special medical formula milk such as amino acid formula, deep hydrolysis formula, etc. -- approved and registered by the state -- should be selected under the guidance of professional physicians.

  • Strongest assistive skills: add complementary foods for your baby.

The timely and correct addition of complementary foods for baby can promote the development of intestinal functions; if the baby's intestinal functions are good then immunity is high.

Why is it recommended to add complementary foods for a 6 months old baby?

The activity of starch digestive enzymes in the saliva of infants less than 6 months old is relatively poor and the secretion levels of gastric acid, bile and pancreatic juice is also relatively low. The early addition of complementary foods will lead to insufficient digestion of food.

Children aged 6-9 months are sensitive to the addition of supplementary foods. Late addition will increase the incidence of infant malnutrition and iron deficiency anemia, miss the critical period for exercising the infant's ability to taste and chew and lead to picky eating and food preferences.

Generally, the addition of complementary foods starts with infant rice flour strengthened with iron and gradually changes from rice flour, vegetable paste or puree and fruit puree to cereal as the main food. 

Complementary foods for babies such as sufficient eggs, fish and shrimp, meat and poultry, etc. could meet all kinds of nutrients for the growth of infants.

If the child is not allergic to certain foods, it is recommended they eat 25-75 grams of meat and fish, at least one egg yolk, 25-100g of fruits, 25-100g vegetables and 20-75g of grain every day at the age of 7-12 months (before the age of 1 year, milk is still the main food).

After 1 year old, it is recommended they eat 50-75g of meat and fish, 50-150g of eggs, 50-100g of fruits, 50-100g vegetables and 50-100g of grains every day. In addition, eat pork liver or blood curd at least once a week.

Food choices in nutritional supplementation for babies after one year of age.

Among various nutrients and proteins, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B and trace elements -- such as zinc, iron, copper and selenium -- are important to the body's immune system.

Babies can eat meat and fish, animal liver, eggs, animal milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals to supplement the various nutrients mentioned above.


Special attention should be paid to food hygiene and safety. Food for infants and young babies should be prepared separately according to different ages by using independent cutting boards, knives, special pots and stoves.

It is recommended to steam, boil and stew meat, eggs, poultry and fish, which can not only improve the digestibility of proteins, but also kill  microorganisms. Because protein rich food is also the most favorable environment for microbial growth, food safety can also be ensured through these cooking methods. Therefore, in general, do not eat raw meat and fish.