Daycare, or day hospital?

‘Daycare disease’ needs no explaining – every parent with a little one in crèche can relate!

It’s a well-known fact that when a baby or toddler is cared for in a crèche or similar group facility, she is more prone to becoming ill often.

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When bugs abound

There are a number of reasons for this. Babies and toddlers, whose immune systems may not be completely mature yet, often pick up whatever germs are doing the rounds in the daycare facility. In a group situation, with a variety of children’s illnesses concentrated in one small area, your little one will almost inevitably be exposed to some ‘nasties’.

Not all little ones will become ill as a result; exposure to germs is one way the body builds immunity. However, the younger your child, the more at risk she is. The same is true of babies and toddlers who have a record of coming down with those common childhood conditions: a blocked nose, congested airways, colds and flu, sore throat, ear infections, and gastro-enteritis. These three tips will help:

  1. Select a daycare facility which maintains good hygiene standards.
  2. If you hear of a wave of illness at your child’s crèche, give a homeopathic immunity remedy.
  3. Give your child a general multivitamin, a mineral supplement, and a probiotic.

When hugs are few and far between

Everyone knows that stress weakens resistance; but do we take that seriously with babies and children? Being separated from you causes many little ones stress, and there is far less one-on-one emotional attention in a group care situation. Make sure you:

  1. Choose a loving daycare option with the least number of children to caregivers.
  2. Spend quality time with your child after work each day.
  3. Co-sleep; this can really comfort and restore emotional security.

When food is the weak link

There’s no getting away from it, the healthier the food choices, the less likely your little one will become seriously ill. Daycare is not renowned for the freshest, most seasonal or unprocessed menus, so choose your facility carefully. You can also take the following precautions on your end:

  1. Continue to breastfeed once you have gone back to work – it is possible!
  2. Don’t introduce solids to babies before six months; when you do, start with fruit and veggies, and delay cereals, bread, yoghurt, and cheese.
  3. Ensure that the food you give at home contains as few mucus producing products as possible – that’s dairy and grain products, as well as sweet and savoury treats.

It might not be possible to ever control all daycare disease risks factors, but every small, conscious step that you take in the right direction will be well worth the trouble!