When the body undergoes a stressful situation, the stress hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol helps the body prepare for stressful and dangerous situation. It gives a quick burst of energy, heightened memory and lower sensitivity to pain, among other things.  When cortisol is present in the body at high levels and for extended periods of time, however, the body’s immune response may be suppressed.  This leaves the developing bodies of children extremely vulnerable to damage and illness. Cortisol is usually bound to proteins in adults. The protein is called the corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG).  In newborn babies, CBGs remain low and increase during the first six months after birth.  Therefore, as the amount of CBGs increase, more cortisol becomes bound to the CBGs. Due to this occurrence, plasma and total cortisol levels increase.  Although there are low levels of cortisol at birth, the levels are sufficient to have serious physiological effects.