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Nurturing Immunity: A Guide for Parents and Babies for the Autumn and Winter ahead

Katherine Whitby | Registered Paediatric Nurse | Health Visitor | Baby Massage Instructor | Mummy of Two | Founder of Baby Steps

The Autumn leaves are falling and there is a nip in the air. Then Winter will wrap its frosty embrace around us and the concern for immunity becomes more pronounced, especially for parents and their little ones. The chilly season often brings with it an array of challenges that can compromise the immune system.

Mum and little girl sat on a bench reading in the autumn leaves

In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of immunity for both parents and babies during the autumn and winter months and provide practical tips to bolster your defences.

The Winter Immunity Challenge

Winter is synonymous with plummeting temperatures and an increase in viral infections. For parents, particularly mothers and babies, whose immune systems may already be more vulnerable, this season can pose additional risks. Understanding the unique challenges of winter immunity is crucial for taking proactive measures to stay healthy.

Vulnerabilities of Babies' Immune Systems

  • Underdeveloped Immune Systems: Infants are born with underdeveloped immune systems, relying on antibodies passed from their mothers during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

  • Limited Exposure: Limited exposure to environmental elements can hinder the development of a robust immune response in babies.

Impact on Mothers

  • Postpartum Challenges: The postpartum period can leave mothers physically drained, making them more susceptible to illnesses.

  • Sleep Deprivation: Lack of sleep, a common challenge for new parents, can compromise the immune system.


Before we go any further, have you heard about... my online Ultimate Baby and Child First Aid and Home Safety course?

Katherine with her online course for baby and child first aid including a toolkit of resources

This has all the information you need on managing childhood illness and much much more...


Back to the blog...

Building Immunity: Mummies First

Nutrition: The Foundation of Immunity

  • Balanced Diet: A diverse and balanced diet is crucial for parents to obtain essential vitamins and minerals that support immune function.

  • Hydration: Drink water!!! Staying hydrated aids in flushing out toxins and supports overall bodily functions. Herbal teas are also a great way to help hydration and warm you up!

Rest and Recovery

  • Quality Sleep: Prioritise sleep to allow the body to repair and regenerate, strengthening the immune system. I know this is near impossible with a baby but consider getting to bed earlier, tag teaming if you can to get a lie in, a power nap, even just resting and having cosy time rather than rushing around as much.

  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can weaken the immune response; incorporating stress-relief practices is beneficial. Again a tricky one to manage when you feel you have so little time to yourself. Deep breaths, any mindful practices like a little meditation, yoga, a walk in the fresh air, savouring a cup of coffee or tea, a warm bath or refreshing shower will help.

Physical Activity

  • Moderate Exercise: Regular, moderate exercise enhances immune function and contributes to overall well-being. A walk in the autumn leaves and nature is a win win for you and your baby.

  • Outdoor Activities: When weather permits, outdoor activities expose mums to natural light and fresh air, promoting physical and mental health. Morning light actually helps serotonin and sleep!

Nurturing Baby's Immunity

Breastfeeding or formula

Baby breastfeeding, breast pump, liquid gold

Liquid Gold: Breast milk is a powerhouse of antibodies, providing crucial immune support to babies and formula milk is fortified with vitamins

Proper Clothing and Hygiene

  • Layering: Dressing babies in layers ensures they stay warm without overheating, preventing illnesses.

  • Hand Hygiene: Regular hand washing and sanitising reduce the risk of infections.


  • Timely Vaccinations: Following the recommended vaccination schedule strengthens a baby's immunity against various diseases.

  • Consulting GP/ Paediatricians: Regular check-ups or seeking advice when concerned gives you reassurance and confidence and ensures babies receive timely and appropriate medical guidance and where needed, treatment.

Family meal times promote healthy eating and communication

Family Immunity Building

Healthy Habits as a Family Unit

  • Balanced Meals Together: Encourage family meals and in your Weaning journey include a variety of nutrient-dense foods.

  • Outdoor Activities: Again fresh air wins! Engaging in outdoor activities as a family promotes the feel good factor, physical fitness and boosts collective immunity.

Adequate Ventilation and Humidity Control

  • Fresh Air: Ensuring proper ventilation in living spaces reduces the concentration of airborne pathogens. Having a window open a little helps.

  • Humidifiers: Maintaining optimal humidity levels can prevent respiratory issues, especially during winter. A humidifier can be a good investment to help with block noses and is a way to have a gentle diffusion of essential oil which can help relaxation, sleep and keep the bugs at bay.

The FIVE things I recommend to help:

Kathrine sharing Neals Yard remedies to mums and babies for the cold and flu season

  1. Neals Yard Elderberry Syrup - so yummy and suitable from 1 year you can add into food or have on it’s own great for the whole family. Elderberries have more vitamin C than oranges!

  2. Vitamin C - 1000mg for you or as advised or Vitamin C Boost with Wild Rosehip Remember foods rich in Vitamin C - Citrus (oranges, kiwi, lemon, grapefruit), Bell peppers, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower), White potatoes.

  3. Hand Sanitiser - this Neals Yard Remedies Defend Hand Spray one smells lush and doesn’t dry the skin

  4. For an immunity boost Eucalyptus Radiata Organic Essential Oil is a great one at the first signs of snotty noses and bugs to use in a diffuser and also eases congestion.

As we cocoon ourselves in warmth, let's not forget that the power to fortify our immune systems lies in trying to take care of ourselves. Together, as families, we can usher in a winter season filled with health and well-being. Winter need not be a season of heightened vulnerability. With a holistic approach to immune health, understanding the intricacies of immunity and adopting proactive measures, parents and babies can navigate the cold months with resilience


Working in Paedaitric A&E for over 20 years and as a Mum of two I cover what you really need to know!

Baby steps  child and baby first aid courses at the studio with Katherine Whitby

Join me for at the Baby Steps Studio in the woods for a Baby Massage & Relaxation course starting on 31st October - relaxation helps boost immunity and we cover strokes to help with colds too! Babies welcome :)

Baby steps  child and baby first aid courses in your home with Katherine Whitby

I would be so happy to help you with my incredibly popular First Aid course in your home for friends, family or just for you.

Baby steps child and baby first aid courses online in your own time with Katherine Whitby

There are loads of invaluable tips included in my online Ultimate Baby and Child First Aid and Home Safety course It covers not only what to do in emergencies but the day to day stuff - the toolkit you need.

I look forward to supporting you,

Katherine x

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