So, I spent last night sucking the snot from my 4-month-old daughter’s nose with the Nosefrida, which is a nasal aspirator (given to me by my cousin) and instead of being disgusted I was thinking how cool it was that it worked! And worked enough to get two hours of sleep. 

My oldest child started kindergarten this year and within the first month she got a cold. Like clockwork, 10 days later my 2-year-old and 4-month-old got the same cold. With them all sneezing in my face, I have my fingers and toes crossed that I don’t get sick. Now that school has started, along with the cold and flu season, we have many months to endure until the warm weather returns, and the kids have built some immunity to the viruses.

You may have heard about vitamin C, vitamin D and echinacea to fight the common cold, and there is a lot of research about probiotics strengthening the immune system to keep infections at bay. But what isn’t known is that probiotics can’t do the job of building your immune system if they aren’t fed properly.

Probiotics are the good guys in your gut that make for a strong immune army, but probiotics need to be fed or fueled by prebiotics. Unfortunately, the foods that are high in prebiotics most children won’t eat (cooked onions, garlic, raw asparagus, chicory root, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes). Thankfully, we give our kids ages two years old and up prebiotics from the prebiotic fiber found in Regular Girl, which contains 5 grams of prebiotic fiber and 8 billion good Bifidobacterium lactis, without having to fight with them to eat onions and garlic. I love Regular Girl because one of my children always had constipation before we introduced it. The best part is that it has no taste and goes clear in water so your child won’t know they are getting a dose of prebiotics and probiotics. Bananas are another source of prebiotics. For children under the age of one I use BioGaia, an infant probiotic a human strain found in the gut.

I also put a baby wipe in a baggie in my child’s school lunch box so that she can wipe her hands. We know that hand washing is a great way to reduce the number of infections we get. We don’t want to use chemical hand sanitizers either because they can kill the good bacteria that protect us and cause bacterial resistance in our environment.  

And if your child does get sick with an infection, just remember each cold or flu they get is teaching their developing immune system to recognize and destroy that identical virus the next time they are exposed. It is called building immunity.