The Supplements Babies and Kids Actually Need
The growth and development of little ones is vital for long term health as adults. Babies and kids require important nutrients to support their immune system, brain function and energy levels.
Let’s keep in mind, nutrition should always be the primary source of vitamins & minerals in a child’s diet, but not all nutrients can be easily obtained (every parent knows the struggle to get their child to eat more veggies). Plus, not everything can be found in food in adequate amounts (like vitamin D and omega 3s). In this post we will discuss the important supplements to consider adding to your little one’s daily routine.
Supplements for Baby (0-3yrs)
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D3 is integral for developing a healthy immune system, bones, and brain health. Keep in mind that breast milk contains less vitamin D than formula, so it is important that either baby or mom (ideally both) are getting enough on a regular basis. The recommended intake for infants is 400IU per day, or 1 drop of a liquid formula each day.
From colic to cradle cap, friendly bacteria made specifically for an infant can help improve digestive function and skin health. To make things easy, a liquid probiotic dropped on parent’s finger and placed in baby’s mouth, or a powder mixed into their milk bottle are great options. Please note, a baby’s microbiome (fancy way of saying the collection of all bacteria in their digestive tract), changes rapidly. Always read the product label to see the appropriate age range indicated on the bottle.
Supplements for Kids (3 yrs+)
Many people are now familiar with omega 3 fatty acids, an essential fat for brain, heart, and skin health. Most omega-3 formulas contain two types of fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Both are needed, but DHA is strongly associated with better cognitive development in children. EPA focused formulas are excellent for children with atopic concerns such as asthma, allergies, or eczema.
If you’re worried about your child not loving the omega-3 oil consistency, choose a chewable formula or mix in a liquid formula into their smoothie, apple sauce, or a small amount of juice. Most child-specific formulas have passed the ‘kid approved taste test’.
If your child isn’t a picky eater, congratulations! For the rest of us, making sure their basic nutrient levels are met is easier with a good quality multivitamin. When looking for a product, be sure that the formula does not contain artificial colours and flavours, and ideally free of gluten. Some all-in-one products make it easy for your child to get in a full daily dose of all vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3s! Talk about making our lives easier and our children healthier!
What are your child’s must-have supplements?
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.