Your baby’s immune system starts its development before it’s even born. Immunity is transferred to your baby while they are inside the womb and later supplied through substances in breast milk. This gives your baby a high protection during the early stages of life.
The passive immunity your baby received while developing in the womb progressively declines from birth. Immunoglobulin G (an antibody) passes through the placenta – at birth reaching a level equal to that of the baby’s mother and then gradually disappearing in the weeks and months after birth.
The highest concentration of antibodies is found in their very first breastfeed, the liquid known as colostrum. A number of growth factors are also present in colostrum. Colostrum helps your baby fight infections by supplying major components of adaptive immunity and by supplying growth factors, known to stimulate the development of the gut. The development of the micro-bacterial gut flora aids the overall development of your baby’s immune system.
Your baby’s immune system is immature at birth and continues to develop as it responds to challenges from its environment. It continues to develop throughout early childhood. Good nutrition, outdoor activity and adequate sleep are good ways to help keep your baby’s immune system strong. This being said, no amount of healthy living and eating will be enough to fight the deadliest diseases still around in Australia and other countries today – this is why we need to immunise.
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