We immediately think of brands when we talk about multivitamins for babies and toddlers. Knowing good brands does matter. But it’s also very important to know what they actually contain. Raise this question: what are the vitamins and minerals that my kid actually need?
Are supplements really necessary for kids?
Taking vitamins is not necessary for young kids. Ideally, having a complete set of a healthy and balanced diet should provide the vitamins and minerals that a kid needs. Included in the diet are:
- Brown rice or whole grains
- Protein food sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
- Green and leafy vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Dairy products and milk
Cases such as not having a healthy home cooked meal, picky eaters, and vegetarian children are what pushes most pediatrician to recommend daily mineral or multivitamins for babies and toddlers.
The Department of Health recommends children, aging from 6 months to 5 years, to take daily supplements containing vitamins, especially vitamins A, C, and D. Even infants are suggested to be given vitamin D from birth whether the mother is taking vitamin D herself or not. However, babies who are taking above 500ml of infant formula per day should no longer be given vitamins. Infant formula is already packed with vitamin D and other nutrients.
But be careful in giving huge doses of vitamins to your kids. Too much intake of vitamins A, E, D, and K (or fat-soluble vitamins) can be harmful to them. It is the same with iron.
Recommended Vitamins and Minerals for Kids
A variety of fresh food can supply the best vitamins for your babies. This place fruits and vegetables as your number one source. Serving a variety of it might solve your problem regarding picky eaters, but at the same time, you will also serve a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Also, remember to serve food in a small amount. There is a statistic of kids being overweight twice than 20 years ago.
These are the best multivitamins for your babies and toddlers:
Vitamin A is responsible for growth and development as well as for having sharp eyes and healthy skin. It also strengthens the immune function and repairs bone and tissue. Food rich in vitamin A are:
- Dairy products such as cheese and butter
- Milk and eggs
- Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and spinach; and
- Yellow and orange root crops such as squash, carrots, and yams
The family of vitamin B (B2, B3, B6, and B12)
The vitamins Bs assist in energy production, metabolism, as well as nervous and circulatory systems. Some of its good sources are the protein food source such as:
- Meat (e.g. beef and pork)
- Poultry (e.g. chicken and turkey)
- Legumes (e.g. beans, black peas, and green peas)
- Seafood (e.g. fish)
- Dairy products (e.g. cheese)
The importance of vitamin C revolves around in general health of a human, but it mostly involves in strengthening the immune system. It can also aid the body in absorbing iron. Its food sources include, but not limited to:
The presence of vitamin D is not so much found in food. It can be found in eggs, milk, and oily fish like mackerel and salmon, but its best source is the sunlight. Nevertheless, children should not be basked under the sunlight too long especially in hot weathers. Cover your kids up and bring them under a shade before they sunburned or before their skin turns red.
Young children, particularly infants, should still get vitamin drop even after getting off the sunlight. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. This can lead to having healthy bones and teeth.
In fact, the Department of Health made some recommendation about children consumption of vitamin D. They are as follows:
- Babies, who are being breastfed and whether the mother is taking vitamin D herself or not, should be provided with a daily supplement of vitamin D from their birth to age 1. It should range from 8.5 to 10 micrograms (µg).
- Infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients. Therefore, babies who are taking more 500ml (about a pint) of it should not be given a vitamin D supplement.
- Children ages 1 to 4 should not be cut off vitamin D. They should be continuously given 10 µg of the vitamin.
Iron is necessary for having healthy red blood cells and for building muscles. Adolescence period seems to have an increased rate of iron deficiency, most especially among girls once they begin their menstruation. So, giving your toddler the multivitamins containing iron might decrease his or her chance to have iron deficiency.
Turkey, pork, beef as well as other red meats, beans, prunes, and spinach are some of the food sources of iron.
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, but what does calcium do for the body? Calcium is essential for a growing child in building strong bones. Your child can have calcium by eating yogurt, cheese, tofu, milk, and calcium-fortified orange juices.
Vitamins versus Kids
Here are five simple tips to follow when giving vitamins to your kids:
- Children might think vitamins to be some sort of candy, so better keep it away from them. Place it in somewhere that they cannot reach.
- Perhaps battling with a toddler over a food is the most difficult war you will ever fight, bribing him or her with some sweet in exchange for finishing his or her food. Well, try not to do this. After a meal, give your kid chewable vitamins instead.
- If your child is required to take some medications, make sure to ask the child’s doctor about the possible result/s when if the medication is combined with certain multivitamins. By this, the supplements shouldn’t have a negative interaction with the medication.
- Chewable vitamin might be better than the liquid or pill form for your child if ever he or she doesn’t want the latter.
- Four is the appropriate age to give a child a multivitamin supplement. But this may depend on the suggestion of the child’s doctor.
Babies and toddlers are precious. They are cute, adorable, sometimes naughty, but mostly charming little humans. In their own way, they brighten up someone’s day. But as adorable as they are, babies do not have the capabilities to take care of themselves. They need adults’ care in everything including taking the right vitamins and minerals. As you are the adult, you should know the basics so you can give your little tot what he or she really needs.