• The Vital Plant

Infant Immunity

This new Coronavirus is not the first pandemic our humanity has come face to face with. We have faced pandemics before and the immune system has adapted to survive. Since this virus is a new zoonotic pathogen, there is no pre-existing immunity and the whole of humanity is susceptible to infection and developing COVID-19. 

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30135-8/fulltext


Adults are being infected with a variety of outcomes, from asymptomatic, severe disease, and even death. Children can also be infected, but most cases reported have been mild. The key to understanding how this virus works might come from studying children’s immune systems. Research is being done on this topic currently. 


The other thing to take into consideration are the things that diminish our immune systems ability to deal with novel viruses. Aging, malnutrition and immunosuppression negatively affect the vitality of our immune systems. By focusing our efforts into healthy living and supplementing with natural and dietary supplements, we can keep our immune systems from deteriorating. 


Even though the research is showing that children and infants are not as severely affected by this new virus, let’s explore a sure fire way to protect our infants from the get go. 

It is known that infants that are breastfed contract fewer infections than do those who are given formula. Initially, it was believed that the main reason for this was because milk from the breast was cleaner than formula, which needed to be from bottles that were washed and potentially contaminated. Studies have shown over and over again that this is not the only reason. Infants who have sterilized bottles can still suffer from more infections than do breast-fed infants. Extra protection is gained from antibodies, proteins and other immune cells in human milk. Once these molecules are ingested they help prevent microbes from penetrating the body’s tissues that line the digestive tract and other body cavities. Other than preventative molecules, there are also immune cells in human milk that attack microbes directly. https://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bfprep/how_breastmilk_protects_newborns/. These combining factors make breastmilk the powerhouse against viruses, novel or not. 


What is the most interesting is that molecules passed from mother to infant, are highly targeted against pathogens in that child’s immediate surroundings. When the mother comes into contact with a disease-causing agent she synthesizes specific antibodies which are then passed onto the infant. Given the current state of affairs, this makes breast milk perfect for infants during this pandemic. Doctor’s agree that continuing breastfeeding during this time is in the child’s best interest. Even if the mother were to contract COVID, breastmilk would still be best for the child. Of course there are many circumstances where breastfeeding is not possible, and this is more than ok. Formula fed babies still strive and are developing immunity towards novel viruses daily. We simply wanted to shed light on one of the simple, free, immune boosting treasures available to us for our little ones! 

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