How are Supplements for the Kids (Iron, Calcium and Vitamin) Significant?

What Makes Parents Go for Supplements for Kids?

Let’s discuss the role of supplements for kids and how they make lives better. Children are the beautiful gift and blessing of God. Thus, It is true that nurturing them is no less than worshipping the almighty. Seeing them growing well every day is like a sweet dream coming true. However, this dream requires a lot of efforts, devotion, observation and sensibility.

Parents having precious moments with the newborn

Supplements stimulate a child’s overall development

For nurturing a child, food and his food habits must be a priority above all other household chores. The reason is the child’s overall development (both physical and mental) and immunity largely depends on what the child is consuming. His daily meals should have all the necessary ingredients like vitamins, proteins and other essential minerals.

Bottle of Vitamin D3 supplement for kids

Thus, to provide children with all these nutrients which they do not get sufficiently from their regular meals, supplements are given. Iron, calcium and vitamin supplements for kids are available in the pharmacy stores and are of great importance in respect to a child’s overall physical and mental expansion.

Should supplements be given to the toddlers?

For toddlers below two years of age, iron and vitamin supplements for kids are available in the form of sweet syrup. A baby enjoys the taste of the liquid given with the help of a dropper. It enhances the child’s internal strength and makes his bones and muscles stronger.

Girl involved in skilful activity due to the intake of nutrition

So, as discussed above, supplements for kids are beneficial for their uninterrupted growth. However, parents have to be regular in giving it to the child as prescribed by the paediatrician. Usually, supplements are given to the kid until he is 7-8 years of age.

However, they are highly recommended to the kids until the process of teething goes on. Iron, calcium and vitamin supplements for kids have their separate significance.

Why do we Need Supplements for Kids? 

When a child arrives into the world, his body is not yet ready to take the effects of the external environment. He has to make his body eligible for sustenance and growth on this planet. In this procedure, supplements are no less than a rescuer for them.

If we see a bigger picture, the deficiency of the above nutrients can be deadly if not taken care of at the right time. Considering this fact, mothers try their best to fulfil their baby’s daily meals with these nutrients.

Problems associated with Deficiency of Iron, Vitamin and Calcium

However, daily homemade food might lack some of the nutrients in the baby’s food. As a result of which, the child might face negative consequences. For instance,

  • A toddler deficient in iron suffers from anaemia and gets tired sooner than other kids of his age.
  • A kid deficient in calcium can face outcomes like slow or stunted growth, diseases like rickets and sometimes sore or weak muscles. 
  • Lack of vitamin D causes inhibition of calcium absorption in the child’s body. Children deficient in vitamin D can also suffer from rickets.

 

A girl showing disinterest in the food

Problems Faced by Parents

Some children who have improper eating habits or are choosy in their meals do become deficient in nutrients like iron or vitamins. Apart from this, many children prone to infections or allergies have a restricted diet. Therefore, in these cases, parents prefer to take the support of the supplements for better development and obstacle-free growth of their children. 

Another problem that can be embarked upon by supplements for kids is obesity in children. Even these children are restricted to many types of freshly prepared food that are rich in iron, calcium or vitamins.

Hence, supplements are essential for obese babies to overcome the deficiencies of the above nutrients in their meals.

Food plays a vital role in every living organism on this planet. Therefore, consuming a balanced diet is essential for the kid right from the day he is eligible for consuming solid or semisolid food.

Since children are involved in numerous playful activities, they require all the nutrients which support running, walking and other energy-consuming activities.

Iron

Iron plays a significant role in the transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Although infants already have iron stored in their body when they are born, they need additional iron to maintain the required level in the body. Iron helps in enhancing the growth and overall development of a child’s body.

Every kid needs a different amount of iron according to his age. It is important to note that even excess of iron supplements can cause enlarged spleen or joint pain in children.

Elements iron supplement for kids

So make sure that a child should not be given iron without the recommendation of a paediatrician. Iron supplements should be given to the children as prescribed by the doctor. No more! No less!

Amount of iron required as per the age

Sno. Age Quantity Required Per day
1. Pregnant mothers   27 mg
2. Feeding Mothers 10 mg
3. Newborn (0-6 months)   1 mg
4. 6-12 months   11 mg
5. 1-2 years 7 mg
Pregnant Mothers

A  healthy mother with a baby bump - Iron and calcium supplements makes her feel energetic

Undoubtedly, carrying a baby in your belly is a tough job. It becomes even difficult when your little one starts acquiring more space in your uterus. At this stage, pregnant mothers must compulsorily increase the intake of nutrients, especially iron. An expecting mother must consume at least 27 milligrams (mg) of iron every day.

Feeding mothers

Breastmilk - The best nutrition source for that reduthe need of supplements for kids

The role of iron supplements does not get over when your gestation period is over. Now you are in stage two of baby care as you’ve now become a feeding mother from a pregnant mother. Since your little joy is still dependent on you for his nutrition, don’t stop your iron supplement as recommended by your gynaecologist. A feeding mother needs at least 10 (milligram) mg of iron every day. 

Newborn (0-6 months)

Newborns are exclusively dependent on breast milk for their nutrition. Paediatricians recommend keeping children up to 6 months completely on breast milk.

It is a package of nutrients necessary for the child’s overall growth and mental development.

 However, breast milk does not contain a sufficient amount of iron. Therefore, 1 milligram of iron supplement is required by the toddler from 4 months of age.

Also, newborns who also receive formula milk apart from their mother’s milk get sufficient iron from the formula.

6-12 months

A healthy toddler involved in playing - supplements like iron, calcium and vitamin make a child stronger

Now your toddler has started sitting, rolling over and even standing up with support. Doesn’t he need more energy? Since he is a grown-up infant, his body needs more nutrients as compared to what he was taking earlier.

Child specialists recommend 11 milligrams of iron a day for babies aged 7 – 12 months.

1-2 years

With the growing age, your toddler begins to take iron naturally through sources like fruits (apple and pomegranate), vegetables like spinach, fenugreek etc. These resources accomplish most of his iron requirement.

However, many children at this age are reluctant to eat many essential ingredients. They become selective and picky in eating.

Thus, to overcome their iron deficiency due to improper food intake, iron supplements play a crucial role. Children of 1-2 years of age need 7 milligrams of iron every day.

Vitamin  

  • Vitamin A – Builds healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissues. It also produces pigment in the retina of the eye resulting in good eyesight. 
  • Vitamin B – Maintains energy level stimulates healthy functioning of brain, repair and maintain body cells and prevent infections.
  • Vitamin B12 – Helps in the repair of DNA strands, keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy.
  • Vitamin D – Keep bones strong and healthy. It is for this reason that sunshine exposure is highly recommended to infants.
  • Vitamin E – Protect cells from being damaged. Acts as antioxidants.
Pregnant mothers

Lack of even a single micronutrient can generate health risk to pregnant mothers as well as to their fetus. The essential micronutrients are interrelated to each other.

For instance, vitamin K stimulates the absorption of calcium in the body.

Similarly, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C also help in the absorption of foliate. Although expecting mother can have vitamin from the regular diet, in some cases, it becomes necessary for them to take mineral and vitamin supplements to avoid deficiencies and uninterrupted development of the fetus. 

Vitamin A        800 mg / day
Vitamin D       1300 mg /day
Vitamin C        85 mg /day
Vitamin E    30 mg/day
Newborn (0-6 months)

Vitamins play a significant role in the growth and well- being of a newborn. As per the guidelines of the Department of health, it is necessary to give vitamin supplements to the child right from birth to one year of age.

  • Vitamin D – Besides preventing chronic diseases, Vitamin D helps in maintaining strength in bones and muscles.
  • Vitamin B12 – It stimulates healthy neurological function and prevents anaemia.
6-12 months

A healthy toddler kicking and playing

The day your baby is six months old or above till he attains the age of 5 years, vitamins should be given regularly. Vitamin A, C and D supplements must be given especially to those children who are not dependent on formula milk.

Also, it is necessary to ensure the age, expiry date and quantity that is given to a child before buying the supplement.

1-2 years

multivitamin supplement for kids

Many children are habitual of breastfeeding over other sources of milk. At this stage, breast milk is not that beneficial as earlier.

Also, it lacks certain nutrients, especially vitamins that are beneficial for a child’s growth and physical progress.

Thus, there should be an intake of 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D by children of this age to prevent vitamin deficiency.  The supplements for kids become imperative for those preschoolers, who are picky eaters or have improper eating habits.  

Calcium

Sno. Age Quantity Required Per day
1. Pregnant mothers 1000 mg
2. Newborn (0-6 months)   200 mg
3. 6-12 months   260 mg
4. 1-2 years 700 mg
Pregnant mothers
Calcium tablets for expecting mothers

Calcium intake from external sources becomes necessary because an adult human body cannot make calcium naturally. While a woman is pregnant, she requires at least 1000 mg of calcium every day.

If an expecting mother is eighteen or younger, then the intake of calcium should at least be 1300 mg per day.

In addition to the above, many people suffer from lactose intolerance or allergic to milk. Then, how would you fulfil your calcium requirement during the pregnancy? The simple answer to the question is calcium supplements. 

The natural calcium sources become even lesser if a person is a vegan. However, a pregnant woman cannot afford to have less intake of calcium.

In such cases, again supplements recommended by the doctor supports the gestation. It helps in the development of nerves, bones and muscles of your fetus.  

Newborn (0-6 months)

Calcium is an easily available nutrient for the newborn as he is primarily dependent on breast milk for his nutrition. In some cases, formula milk is another source of calcium, if the child is not getting a sufficient amount of breast milk. A baby lesser than six months of age needs 200 mg of calcium a day.

When the red blood cells do not receive a sufficient amount of calcium, then your newborn suffers from the condition called neonatal hypocalcaemia.

    • Early hypocalcaemia –lasts for 2-3 days of the life of a newborn.
    • Late hypocalcaemia – It usually starts in the first week of the baby’s life and is less likely to get over.
6-12 months

calcium supplement for babiesNow is the time, when your toddler is majorly dependent on external sources of milk (formula or cow milk) other than the mother’s milk.

Children of this age need calcium enhancing strength in bones and muscles to carry on more physical activities.

At least 260 mg of calcium is recommended to these kids for a healthy life and strength for carrying out physical activities.

Sources of calcium

Products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, soy products, canned salmons, fortified cereal and green vegetables are good sources of calcium for toddlers of this age.

However, teething and physical development require calcium in optimum quantity. The deficiency of calcium can lead to many problems in future like

  • Uneven alignment or loosening of teeth
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Weak immunity and high susceptibility to diseases
  • Loss of appetite
  • Improper growth and development along with the deformities in bones and joints
  • Restlessness and difficulty in having control over the body.

Children are often reluctant to various nutritious milk products. Many children keep cheese, curd, yoghurt, milk and related products on the top of their dislike list. Thus, to cope up with the deficiency of calcium, supplements for kids play a significant role.

1-2 year

With the growing age, the calcium requirement of a toddler enhances to support their physical activities. Kids 1-3 years old require 700 mg of calcium a day.

Sometimes, children don’t get enough calcium through natural resources. Thus, parents might have to fulfil that deficiency through supplements.

Giving calcium to the toddler is not only advantageous to him for gaining strength in the present life but protects them from bone loss in future. Calcium and Vitamin D are dependent on each other and work in coordination with each other. Vitamin D stimulates calcium absorption in the body. Deficiency of any of these nutrients leads to rickets that softens the bones and causes

  • Bowlegs
  • Sore muscles
  • Stunted growth in children 

Therefore, the intake of calcium supplements help kids in

  • Uninterrupted growth
  • Building Strong teeth, bones and muscles

Formula milk ( One of the imperative supplements for kids)

Formula Milk - A close substitute of mothers milk

Many parents are sceptical about giving formula milk to their babies. A question comes to their mind whether the formula milk is satisfying the nutritional needs of their child or not?

The American Academy of Pediatrics considers breast milk as a package of nutritional values required for the overall development of a newborn.

It is not only an ideal source of nourishment for the babies, but it also creates a special bond between a mother and a newborn.

It boosts immunity, prevent allergies and give strength to fight against infections in infants. In short, it creates a defensive layer around the baby that helps in protecting him against chronic diseases.

Why Prefer Formula Over Breast Milk?

However, many times a mother is unfortunate for not breastfeeding her baby due to the following reasons

  • Low milk supply
  • Mothers who are on the medication and have a fear that it may affect the baby.
  • Those who had breast cancer in the past and may not be able to feed due to radiation or mastectomy
  • HIV infected mothers

Considering the above points, the family and the people around must support a mother’s decision.

Then, how to fulfil the nourishment needs of the baby? The simple answer to the question is Formula milk as it is a nutritious supplement for kids. The nutrition that it contains are as follows

  • Carbohydrates – it is present in the form of milk sugar that provides energy.
  • Iron – Helps in the transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  • Protein – Growth (building blocks of child’s muscles, skin, enzyme and hormones)
  • Minerals (zinc and calcium)
  • Vitamins like A, C, D, E and B.

Formula milk is a perfect substitute for a mother’s milk as it contains close to all the nutrients that a mother’s milk possesses. When a mother has to return to work after the maternity break and has no other choice than to continue with it, formula milk is the liberator. Therefore, there are the following advantages of feeding a child with formula milk.

A father bottle-feeding his son

Mothers are free to go out now
  • It gives you leverage to go out, leaving a child at home with someone who can bottle-feed him.
  • It is convenient to take the baby out and bottle-feed in the public
  • Formula milk provides nutrients to your baby, which is almost equally nutritious as mother’s milk.
  • You get to know the exact quantity of milk that a child is taking. Thus it is easy to calculate the per day calorie intake of the baby
  • One of the advantages is that the formula feed allows others(especially grandparents) to bond with your baby
  • Your baby’s stomach remains full for longer as formula takes a little more time to digest as compared to mother’s milk.

Conclusion 

Human bodies get nourishment and strength through a balanced diet. It is a diet that includes all the essential nutrients like minerals, calcium, iron and vitamins.

Supplements become more significant in the case of children and expecting mothers as the process of growth in human bodies begins as soon as a zygote forms in the mother’s belly.

Therefore, the intake of essential nutrients helps in the rapid growth of fetus and infants as well. While what we consider a balanced diet, sometimes lack some of the required nutrients. The fact is that many children are reluctant to many types of food indispensable for the growth of the body.

Don’t worry when your child says ‘no’ to food

For instance, some children may dislike milk products, fruits or green leafy vegetables. Since, they all are the sources of calcium, vitamins and iron parents cannot afford to skip them just because the child doesn’t like them.

The only solution that parents have is to give supplements to the kids. One can buy these supplements from the pharmacy stores as prescribed by doctors.

It is quite imperative to ensure that the supplement is given to the child in exactly the amount as directed by the doctor. No more! No less!

Child care holds great importance in the scenario, where we live in an environment full of pollution, junk food, lesser physical activity and adulterated food all around.

On top of this, technological comforts like television, mobiles and Air conditions are depriving children of hardships and physical labour.

Therefore, children are becoming reluctant to consuming nutritious food, and the vicious circle goes on. So, to fulfil the nutritional needs of a body, supplements for kids are needed. They are the saviour!

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311783

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Vitamin-Iron-Supplements.aspx#:~:text=The%20AAP%20clinical%20report%2C%20Diagnosis,about%20six%20months%20of%20age.

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