It is well known that children need useful elements for full development, the only questions are what exactly, in what quantity. Usually, when parents hear about vitamins, it doesn’t mean they need to go to the pharmacy to buy them. Most of the essential elements a baby gets from food. It is not necessary to buy exotic fruits or food additives. There is everything needed in our usual natural vegetables, fruits, and greens for being healthy and develop well.
For example, before birth, a child gets everything essential from a mother. Breastfed infants receive the nutrients from breast milk which serves as the main and the only source of food and water. Unlike the common opinion, bottle-fed kids will get the same nutrients from the formula. Of course, the process of selecting a formula is a bit harder and causes some discomfort, but once you find one, your little one will develop just the same as if it was breastfed.
For comparison, human milk has vitamins A, D, and E, minerals, and essential fatty acids (DHA and ARA) which can also be found in the content of all organic formulas made in Europe. A unique combination of substances in breast milk, which significantly strengthens the kid’s immune system can be met in all organic baby food like Holle formula or others. Once you start to include complementary food into the baby’s menu, it will receive the essential ingredients from solid food. So, except for specific cases, there is no need to include extra nutrients in the kid’s diet. Let’s find out together, what exactly elements your little one needs for growth and development.
What Vitamins are Essential for Kids?
There are various situations when a baby may require an additional amount of useful elements in the diet:
- if a baby gets sick frequently, vitamin C and A are required to fight infections. Add orange vegetables, liver, butter, hippophae, dog-rose, pumpkin, tomatoes, and parsley to the child’s diet
- constant fatigue and impaired concentration indicate a lack of vitamin B1. It is found in large quantities in peas, nuts, oatmeal, and whole grain bread
- in case, a baby has bleeding gums, its body needs vitamin C. It is found in citrus fruits, dog-rose, sorrel, gooseberries, parsley, radishes, and currants
- when a child is irritable and drowsy, it means there is a lack of vitamin B. Specialists recommend adding B6 to the diet which is found in nuts, cereals, tomatoes, red peppers, whole grain bread, etc. B12 can be additionally added for vitality and appetite. It’s contained in the liver, meat, dairy products, sea fish, eggs, and cheese
- if an infant has to peel the skin and weathered lips it requires vitamin B2. Add more meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and fish to the menu
- paleness, weakness, anemia, and problems with nails and hair indicate a lack of folic acid. Supplement the child’s diet with nuts, various types of cabbage, cereals, green onions, citrus fruits, and apples
- more vitamin D is needed in case of slow growth, muscle weakness, sweating, and stooping. For it to enter the body in sufficient quantities, encouraging a kid to spend more time outside
- dermatitis and indigestion are a sign of vitamin B deficiency. To return the baby’s body to normal, add nuts and natural yogurts
Of course, until a kid starts to receive solid food, it’s difficult to regulate the income of nutrients. You need to consult a pediatrician to pick up the formula that will suit the peculiarities of your little one development. However, even if you follow all the rules of the right formula selection, there could be cases when a child needs extra useful elements in the menu.
When Does a Baby Need Nutritional Supplements?
Children who regularly consume natural foods do not need to have food supplements on the menu. However, newborns may need some nutrients that they cannot get from breast milk or baby formula e.g. vitamin D. There are other cases when the inclusion of additional food supplements in the diet is necessary:
- adherence to a vegetarian diet
- the presence of inflammatory bowel disease or any other disease associated with impaired absorption of nutrients
- underwent surgery on the stomach or intestines
- exclusion from the diet of certain foods
Lots of kids who do not have animal products in their diets have a higher need for elements such as iron, calcium, vitamin D and B12, and zinc. It is important to note that such an element as B12, which is found exclusively in animal products, cannot be replaced by food supplements. Moreover, its deficiency can lead to serious consequences, such as developmental delay or abnormal growth.
If a kid suffers from celiac or inflammatory bowel disease, some parts of the gastrointestinal tract that are responsible for the absorption of micronutrients are damaged, which can significantly reduce the absorption of nutrients. Most often, such diseases are accompanied by a deficiency of zinc, iron, and vitamin D. Those with such diseases as cystic fibrosis can face trouble absorbing fat and fat-soluble vitamins. In such cases, many experts recommend taking supplements of vitamins A, D, E, and K. Sometimes, babies may refuse certain foods which is quite a common phenomenon. Many experts say it can lead to the risk of deficiency in zinc and iron.
If you correctly set up the balanced menu for your little one, there is no need to worry if a kid receives enough nutrients or not. A healthy newborn without any issues in development won’t also require any additional supplementation because breast milk, as well as baby formula, is adapted to the baby’s needs at any stage of its development.
However, taking nutrient supplements may be necessary in some cases like some diseases that impair the absorption of nutrients thus requiring an increase in nutrients. When selecting these elements preference should be given to those that have passed the control of independent organizations but the very first step is obviously to consult a doctor.