Germs? Ain’t No Momma Got Time for That!


Hi, my name is Renata and I am a germaphobe on the slow road to recovery; I blame it on college microbiology (Ugh!). Have you taken that class? All the yucks in the world could not describe the way I felt once that semester was over. The concept of germophobia is completely foreign to my family. I am certain they think I’m crazy. Growing up, the motto in our household was, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” My brother and I walked around barefoot, splashed around in rain puddles, climbed trees, and spent 95% of our time outside with the neighborhood kids. I quote my mother, “And you all lived to tell your tale.” Yet, despite all of that, I was somehow wired to be a germ freak; another victory for team nature.

Fast forward a few years, two kids in daycare, the worst flu season we’ve seen in quite some time, and my anxiety regarding germs shot up exponentially. Has the thought of living in a bubble crossed your mind? No, just me? Even though I am aware that the news sensationalizes certain stories, every time I read about the flu these last few weeks, I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack. Could somebody pass me the wine? Clearly, I cannot hover over my children with a bottle of hand sanitizer all-day-every-day. I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind (Again, blame it on microbiology). So, since I am unable to shield them from the massive amounts of germs they are bombarded with on a daily basis, I make sure to provide them with as much immune support as humanly possible. Curious as to how I do this? Well, hang on young grasshopper, this momma has got you covered.

It is obvious to me that one of the most natural ways to prevent sickness is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, consisting of a variety of fruits and vegetables. It is also obvious to me that if you think you can get a toddler to eat said diet on a consistent basis, well, you are not the parent of a toddler. I pride myself in offering both my children a wide selection of healthy foods. Do they always eat those healthy foods? Nope. Does this make me want to scream into a pillow? Yes, yes it does. For the sake of what is left of my sanity, I decided to focus on those things I can control and show myself grace for those things I can’t.

Instead of entering my usual state of panic during cold & flu season, I decided to do some work. I spent hours scouring the web, talking to mothers, and comparing various products. My goal was to find something that both my children would willingly take. I mean, bribery only goes so far, and there are only so many chocolate chips you can bargain with. So, here comes the list of goodies I’ve armed myself with to aide in promoting a strong and healthy immune system for my kids. If you are thinking, “Oh, here comes the crunchy momma” then you are absolutely right, here I come. Drum roll, please. The following are items I have purchased, have given my kids, and have seen results:

  • Zarbee’s Mighty Bee Elderberry Gummy Immune Support: Originally I wanted to give my daughter the elderberry syrup. However, when I started this she was barely two years old. In my heart I knew there was no chance that she would swallow the syrup. Was I ready to chase her around the house at the point of tears? No. So, the gummy it was. I give her one every-single-day.
  • Zarbee’s Toddler Multivitamins Gummy: Toddlers, one day they love green beans and the next day it is the worst thing you could ever have placed on their plate. On Wednesday my daughter was proudly shouting for all to hear that she LOVED spinach. On Thursday she looked at her plate, held a piece of spinach with her Paw Patrol fork and said, in disgust I might add, “YUCK, I hate spinach.” True story, my friends. I’m not one to gamble, so, this bad boy ensures that she is getting the essential vitamins she needs. You know, if on a whim she decides that vegetables just aren’t her jam. 
  • Zarbee’s Baby Multivitamin with Iron: This one is for my son. He is a little too young for the supplements above. However, I cannot stress this enough, children are unpredictable. My little foodie will try everything at least once (I am probably jinxing this). Yet, even he has had days where those honey drizzled apples just weren’t his thing. Sure, he loves beans, but tomorrow is a new day. Do I want to risk his vitamin intake? Not for a second. 
  • Culturelle Kids Packets Daily Probiotics: Probiotics allow for the proper balance of good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract; it supports the immune system and digestive health. Win. Win. Afraid your child won’t take this? Add it to their yogurt or to their cup of water (That is what I do). While you’re at it, pick some up for yourself (They have an adult version).
  • Child Life First Defense: One night while nursing my son to sleep, I came across an Instagram mom that was boasting her son had not gotten sick in one-full-year. Crazy, I know. I immediately sent her a direct message, pleading for her to share the secret; what was she doing? Her response? Child Life First Defense. Before our conversation was over, I had looked it up, read the reviews, and purchased it. Thank you, Amazon Prime. Disclaimer, the taste to this isn’t the greatest. My daughter will take it just fine. My son on the other hand? Well, let’s just say I chase him around with a syringe. Sure, it may take a whole hour for him to drink one teaspoon, but after learning about its benefits, I’ll risk the tears.

You must be thinking, “Have your children gotten sick since incorporating this crazy regimen?” I’d be lying if I said they didn’t. However, both the frequency and the longevity of their colds decreased dramatically. Do they get the sniffles here and there? Yes. Does it last for long? No. Is it because I wash their hands, clean their faces, take their shoes off, and give them their daily immune support supplements as soon as we come home from school? Why, yes, yes it is. Call me crazy, but all I have to say is, “Bye, germs!” Hop on this train and thank me later.



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Renata Santos
Renata and her family reside in West Boynton Beach. She met her husband of eight years at Quiet Waters Park when they were nine-years-old (Yes, you read that right!). You could say that every now and again fairy tales do happen. On the weekdays you can find her working as a Prospect Researcher for an international relief organization in Coconut Creek; she likes to think this is setting her up for good karma. She only came to know true exhaustion in July of 2014 when she began her journey into motherhood. Speaking of motherhood, Renata is known as mommy to her spit-fire, sassy daughter who is three and her rambunctious, but oh-so-sweet momma's boy who is one. Her favorite things include: copious amounts of coffee, books & planners, good food, clean sheets, and gangster rap, not necessarily in that order. Even though she may seem to have it somewhat together, do not be fooled. Renata is still trying to figure out the perfect life balance and she would love for you to take this ride with her. If you are looking for zero judgements and endless laughter, Renata is the gal for you.