Newborn Babies don’t have their own immune system, and instead rely on their mothers’ immune system to give them immunity. This immunity is only temporary and starts to decrease after the first few weeks and months by which time they must develop their own immune system. Unfortunately, not all babies develop an entirely healthy immune system and there has been a marked increase in the prevalence of allergies among kids in recent years.
Whilst it is important to keep your child in a clean environment there is a case to be made that today’s homes are in fact too clean, and do not give sufficient exposure to bacteria that your baby needs to be confronted with in order to develop a healthy immune system. This can be illustrated by the fact that children who grow up on farms, who have older siblings or pets such as dogs are less likely to develop allergies. Generally, your child needs to develop and train his or her immune system and going to daycare or being exposed to lots of different bugs that come from eating sand in the sandpit or hugging a dog may in fact be a good idea. It is definitely not a good idea to completely shield your baby from all potential sources of dirt. Although our understanding of the exact mechanisms and the optimal exposure to bacteria is still limited, we do know that we are living today in much cleaner environments than those in which our human immune systems developed.
One common product that should generally be avoided is antibacterial soap and other antibacterial cleaning agents. Not only do they undermine and damage the development of your baby’s immune system, they are often toxic.
Current advice on allergies is somewhat counterintuitive for many parents in that early exposure to known allergens such as fish, nuts and eggs may in fact be beneficial to reducing the likelihood of relevant allergies. The guidelines, published in the January 2013 issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, are in line with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ current recommendations on the exposure of infants to high-risk foods, adding information on when to add these foods to your babies diet.
Helpful tips on how to best introduce your baby to potentially allergenic foods include:
- The initial taste of one of these foods should be given at home, rather than at day care or at a restaurant.
- Parents should note that for some foods, such as peanuts, most reactions occur in response to what is believed to be the initial ingestion.
- If there is no apparent reaction, the food can be introduced in gradually increasing amounts.
The most common symptoms of food allergies in a baby are vomiting, diarrhea, gassiness, and skin rash. Should your child exhibit any of these symptoms after being exposed to a potential allergen, consult your doctor.If your baby has been diagnosed with an allergy, it is certainly advisable to eliminate exposure to the allergens as much as possible.
Man-made Toxins and pollution
One thing that certainly should be avoided or minimized is exposure to man-made environmental toxins and pollution. For example, living close to busy roads with large amounts of Diesel trucks passing through has been conclusively linked to higher rates of Asthma.
In some cases, human intervention designed to keep us safe actually has the opposite effect. Fire retardants in mattresses, which are still a legal requirement in some jurisdictions, are linked to toxic off-gassing, which can expose you or your baby to known carcinogens. Obviously, you shouldn’t smoke anywhere near your babies mattress anyway so it is likely that such regulations cause more harm than good. Generally, many oil based foams and synthetic fabrics carry the potential risk of exposing your baby to an elevated risk of damaging their fragile bodies. As it is difficult to assess exactly how damaging the exposure to heightened levels of man-made chemical compounds and materials actually is, we suggest using all-natural products as much as possible.
BabyCrate strives to eliminate the use of chemicals and toxic materials. The BabyCrate is made of all-natural wooden pine and is lightly treated with a baby-safe water-based coating. The mattress pad is pure, firm, 100% natural Latex covered with thick organic cotton. We also provide super soft organic cotton sheets, for easy cleaning. All our textiles are organic and none of our products use any man-made plastics or foams. We believe this approach can go a long way to keeping your baby safe.