It is easy to get caught up by protecting your baby from everything, wrapping them in cotton wool and keeping them away from any mess. However, babies need exposure to nature and real-world germs to build their immune system and their sensory awareness.
When playing outside with your baby or introducing nature inside, be careful to make sure that they don’t pop anything in their mouth and ingest it. Be sure to follow any directions from your family doctor in the case of asthma and allergies.
Activities that are good for your baby include:
– Sitting or lying them on grass (without a rug underneath)
– Letting them crunch and explore piles of dried up leaves
– Touching the trunk of trees with their hands to feel the bark
– Letting them play with freshly cut herbs, crushing them and having an experience of texture and smell
– Enjoying the sunshine, even for only short periods or with sun protection (but only if bub is over six months of age – sunscreen for younger bubs isn’t recommended)
– Feeling the breeze and fresh air
– Being held with their feet on the shore where the water reaches the sand (please supervise and hold tightly whenever bub is near water)
– Spend some time having a picnic near flowers and trees, let your bub lay in the shade, watch the movement and colours of nature around them
– Enjoy putting your toes and feet in some mud together
– Find a local pond and feed the ducks together, introducing your baby to nature and animals with respect and enjoyment
By letting your baby have exposure to nature in lots of different places and forms, you are allowing your baby build their natural immune system (that is pre-built into their body and designed just for that). Giving them exposure to germs in natural environments will strengthen their body and help them.
Always remember, that any mess that is brought home after exploring nature can be washed away (both on your clothes and on your bub).