Post-Baby Immune System

A few of you noticed from my instagram feed yesterday that I got hit with another horrible stomach bug over the weekend that carried into yesterday.

 

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I used to NEVER get sick.  I mean never.  I got seasonal allergies and the occasional cold, but it was never anything I missed work or school for.  I was one of those “perfect attendance” kids in school, and it continued into my working years…until now.

As I laid on the couch yesterday resting and trying to clean out my DVR (one of the only perks of a sick day), I couldn’t help but wonder why I keep getting sick all the time.  And not to blame it all on my daughter, but…

  • I battled sinus congestion throughout my pregnancy that didn’t end when Abbie was born.
  • I’m now on Flonase to keep the swelling down in my nose so I don’t get sinus infections as often.
  • Speaking of those sinus infections?  I’ve had 5 in the last 16 months.
  • I’ve caught two of these awful stomach bugs that empty you out and completely dehydrate you (the only upside is the crazy weight loss it gives you!)
  • I get headaches more easily
  • I’m much more sensitive to seasonal pollen, dust, etc.  There’s lots of sneezing in my household.

I know I can’t be the only one.  Pregnancy and birth definitely seems to have changed my body and my immune system, so I’ve come to the conclusion I’ve got to attack it back.  Going forward, I’m going to do everything I can to strengthen my immune system.  Not earning any PTO because I’m sick all the time is getting old really fast.

With that in mind, I did some research on how to strengthen my immune system.  A lot of it is common sense and things I’m already doing, but I compiled a list for myself that I’m going to try to work on each day.  {source: Harvard}

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetable, and whole grains
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.  Don’t smoke.
  • Get enough sleep.  Adults need 7-8 hours each night.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Make sure to cook food thoroughly, especially meat.  Ensure raw meat doesn’t contaminate cooked meat (or anything else, for that matter!)
  • See your doctor regularly for checkups.
  • Take a multivitamin.
  • Research any supplements you choose to take before adding them.  Talk to your doctor to make sure they are a good choice.

The above are tips people usually agree on.  Then you start getting into supplements and vitamins…and I get confused.  Anyone have experience with this and any tips they can share?  Am I the only crazy mom who gets sick all the time??

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Jess Beer is a full-time working mom of two girls who writes about motherhood, wellness, easy meals and style.

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10 Responses

  1. I felt like I was sick all the time post baby. The first year was the worst and then it started to get better. I take a multi vitamin, emergent C in the winter and try to get as much sunlight as I can all year. Of course sleep helps a lot and eating well. Beyond that I haven’t tried any drastic measures. If you find some good tips please share!

  2. You poor thing! You have been sick a lot =\ I’m so terrible at remembering to take a multivitamin, I really need to get on that though!

  3. There is no such thing as “strengthening your immune system” above which you’re already doing (eat healthy, exercise, consider a multivitamin, stay up to date on your vaccinations, get enough sleep, wash your hands regularly, use a >70% alcohol based hand sanitizer when it’s not possible to wash your hands, etc).

    You are getting sick more because kids are germ factories and you’re exposed to a lot more than you otherwise would be. It’s a right of passage of parenthood, unfortunately.

    The stomach bug is typically norovirus, which has been rather nasty this winter and is perhaps one of the easiest things one transmit (alcohol doesn’t inactivate it, only high levels of bleach do and it takes but a handful of virons to infect a person). Unfortunately there’s no treatment or vaccine for noroviruses. Although if you regularly get them, you may wish to consider asking your doctor for a prescription of the anti-nausea drug ondansetron (Zofran). It’s regularly given out at the ER for patients who present with severe vomiting and can control nausea in noroviral gastroenteritis:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22815462
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24416847

    Once you venture into supplement land it gets iffy. Fish Oil is probably one of a handful of supplements that may do something, although it’s not really “boosting” your immune system, it’s more of modulating inflammation (one could argue it’s the opposite of “boosting”).

    This is a good overview of boosting the immune system:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/boost-your-immune-system/

    Winter illnesses suck and I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling so well. I do hope you feel better! 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for all the resources! Good to know that this year’s norovirus has been worse than normal…makes me not feel so bad about getting it twice!

    1. I actually bought OJ for the first time in months after this…maybe my vitamin C is a bit too low!

  4. Aaaaaand I’m laughing at that 7-8 hours of sleep every night condition 😉 You know what’s so weird? I’m the opposite of you here. I’ve always had a super weak immune system and used to get sick all the time. Now that I have a baby? I’ve been sick once (maybe twice? I can’t remember) — and my seasonal allergies haven’t hit me at all! (Though I am still taking zyrtec.) Though now I’m probably jinxing myself — especially as the baby currently has a fever…

    1. I know…how do people always get that? I’m getting close to averaging 7 a night and I’m pretty proud…but that’s only because Abbie sleeps through the night, thank goodness.

      That’s so weird that you had the opposite experience though – I’d gladly trade you! Hopefully babes feels better soon!

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I’m Jess! I’m a working mama of two sweet sisters living in the DC area. This is my space to share inspiration, real stories of working motherhood, recipes, style, and more! I can’t start my day without coffee and always try to show the real side of motherhood – the good and the challenging. I’m so glad you’re here – thanks for following along on my journey!

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