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Heather Hanks
Written by Heather Hanks

Reviewed by Physician Lim Sock Ling and Dr Angelica L Dumapit on January 11, 2023

These Tips Can Keep Your Newborn Baby Healthy in the Winter

Keeping your newborn baby healthy this winter starts before they are born, but there are plenty of things you can do to support their immune health after your bundle of joy arrives.

Winter baby min scaled

Did you give birth to your newborn baby in the winter? If so, this can be a scary time to have a baby as so many viruses and infections tend to be worse in the winter.

Not to mention, everyone wants to hold and kiss your baby when they visit, making new parents worried for their child’s well-being.

In this guide, our health experts weigh in on tips for keeping your newborn baby healthy this winter when respiratory viruses are at their peak.

Should You Worry If Your Newborn Baby Was Born In Winter?

A young mother holding her newborn baby and talking to a friend
Ask friends and family to wash their hands before holding your newborn baby.

It’s natural to want to keep your newborn baby protected from illnesses, even if they aren’t born in the winter. However, cold weather may increase the risk of a newborn baby getting sick.

“Baby’s immune systems are immature and they can’t fight off infections, colds, or illnesses. Viral infections are more prevalent during the fall and winter. Hence, there is a higher tendency to be infected.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Physician Lim Sock Ling.

According to the US National Institute of Health (NIH), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is more common during winter.

This may be due to overdressing the infant, using a blanket, and placing the baby on the tummy instead of the back when sleeping.

How Does A Newborn Baby Get Sick?

“Babies get infected as adults tend to kiss them or touch them without washing their hands first. There is no need to limit visitors to the house but you should observe personal hygiene. Be considerate to not visit a baby when you are under the weather,” advises Physician Lim.

Winter babies may also be at risk of mental health issues if their mothers are stressed during pregnancy. Research done in 2019 by Cardiff University showed that winter babies are at higher risk of developing mental health disorders.

Researchers associated this with the higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women who give birth in the autumn and winter than those who give birth in the spring or summer.

Higher levels of cortisol in pregnant women have previously been associated with a higher risk of children developing mental health disorders. However, the research did not investigate the reason for the higher levels of cortisol.

Tips To Help Keep Your Newborn Baby Healthy This Winter

Breastmilk contains a specific antibody that helps a newborn’s immune system. Research shows breastfeeding your baby helps protect them against diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, otitis media, influenza type b infections, and wheezing illnesses long after you stop breastfeeding them.

There are several TCM remedies you can also use to keep your baby healthy.

According to Physician Lim, “Pediatric tuina is suitable for children younger than 7 years old. It is especially useful for infants who have not started solids and whom we discourage from using medicine.”

Image of Zu San Li (ST36) acupoint on a child's legs
Use the tips of your thumb to massage the pressure point 50 times. It’s located three inches below the patella and one inch beside the tibia.

Performing acupressure on the acupoint Zu San Li (ST36) can help boost immunity. It is also known as “the point of longevity” and “the point of one hundred diseases” as it can help many different ailments.

Image of Nie Ji, performed by pinching the two sides of a child's spine to strength their immunity
Pink the two sides of your child’s spine together to Nie Ji and strengthen their immunity.

You can also “Nie jiby pinching the two sides of the spine to strengthen the immunity of children, including infants,” stated Physician Lim. 

“Once the child starts solids, you can consider giving them Si Shen soup or Si Shen brown rice cereal to improve their digestive system and immunity.”

Physician Lim.

For infants with gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas or fussiness, consider giving them an infant herbal tea to help them sleep better. This is imperative for good immunity. You can also keep them warm on cold winter nights by giving them an infant herbal bath.

According to TCM, this helps dispel Heat and Wind that newborns are susceptible to. An herbal bath also helps reduce crying, insomnia, and rashes.

Boost Their Immunity During Pregnancy

To ensure your little one has a healthy start to life, consider taking steps to boost their immune health while you are pregnant.

“Enjoy and maintain a good mood during pregnancy regardless of the season. Have a balanced diet as it benefits both you and your baby’s immunity. Consider getting vaccinated against the flu virus and whooping cough during pregnancy so that some immunity is conferred to the fetus to protect them in their first few months of life.”

Physician Lim

“Once your newborn baby arrives, dress the baby appropriately and bring the baby outdoors for fresh air. Avoid going to indoor malls as there is a higher tendency for infection due to the crowd. More people tend to stay indoors during winter as it is cold,” Physician Lim cautions.

Seek professional advice for TCM prescriptions during pregnancy to strengthen immunity or as required. 

How do you keep your baby healthy during the winter? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

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