What to Know and What are the Benefits of Vitamins and Supplements for Babies and Toddlers
The right vitamins and supplements for babies and toddlers can play a vital role in your little one’s growth and development. While they’re not a replacement for healthy food, they can ensure your child’s body has the crucial nutrients it needs when growth is happening at such a rapid pace. Here’s a look at the most important vitamins and supplements for little ones and why they’re so important.
Choosing Supplements for Babies and Toddlers
Before we go into detail about which vitamins and supplements your little one may need, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.
- It’s always a good idea to consult with your child’s pediatrician before starting a supplement regimen. Nutritional needs can vary greatly for babies who are breastfed, those who receive formula, and those who are eating some solid foods. And, of course, every child is different, so it’s best to seek advice from your healthcare professional, just to be safe.
- While most doctors will agree that everyone’s basic nutrition should come from food, babies and toddlers are known to be picky eaters. Getting them to consume a wide variety of nutritious foods every day can be tough. If you’re breastfeeding, you should do your best to eat a healthy diet, but there will always be those days where you don’t eat as well as you should. Providing your baby or toddler with a high-quality multi-vitamin will prevent any nutritional deficiencies at a time when they’re especially crucial for growth and development.
- Whenever possible, choose vitamins and supplements that are made from organic, non-GMO ingredients for your baby or toddler. Avoid synthetic dyes, artificial sweeteners, and fillers. Look for products that are Clean Label Project certified to ensure that the supplement is free of contaminants, chemicals, and other undesirable additives.
- Look for natural (not synthetic) ingredients when choosing supplements for your baby. Don’t trust labels or brands. Instead, choose for products that have earned the Consumer Lab, NSF International, or US Pharmacopeial Convention seal to ensure that ingredients lists are accurate.
- If you are breastfeeding, taking a high-quality organic prenatal supplement is important for meeting your nutritional needs as well as your baby’s.
The Most Important Vitamins and Supplements for Babies and Toddlers
As your baby or toddler grows, his nutritional needs will change. Providing a wide variety of nutritious foods is critical, but providing the right vitamins and supplements is equally important. Here are the most important nutrients for proper growth and development.
Your little one needs vitamin D for strong bones and teeth. The body also needs vitamin D to absorb calcium, and it may prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma, and even cancer. The best way to get vitamin D is through sunlight, but sun exposure comes with its own dangers, so providing a high-quality vitamin D supplement is a safer alternative.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most babies and toddlers should receive 400 IU of Vitamin D daily through supplements or formula. Children who have certain illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, may need even more. Many children in the US are deficient in this crucial vitamin, so providing a supplement is very important. Choosing a supplement that also includes vitamin K2 can improve vitamin D absorption.
DHA and EPA are essential Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fatty fish, algae, and some nuts and seeds. For babies and toddlers, DHA is vital for eye and brain development. It also decreases inflammation throughout the body and supports the immune system. As your child gets older, DHA can help with ADHD and asthma symptoms and may also prevent heart disease in adulthood.
Babies and toddlers need between 50 and 70 mg of DHA daily depending on age, but most don’t even come close to that. According to a study from the University of Kansas, low DHA levels in infants can lead to anxiety and cognitive deficits. Providing a supplement will ensure that your little one is getting enough of this essential nutrient.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our digestive tract. They are crucial for a healthy gut and immune system. Ensuring that your baby or toddler gets enough probiotics can help to prevent skin issues, neurological issues, and digestive disorders.
If your child needs to take antibiotics for an infection, supplementing with probiotics can help to prevent nausea, gas, and other digestive issues. Probiotics may also help with allergy symptoms and diarrhea. To increase your baby or toddler’s intake of probiotics, you can provide them in supplement form or offer probiotic foods such as yogurt daily.
Vitamin C is a key nutrient for repairing tissue, bone, and red blood cells. It’s also crucial for keeping your baby’s gums healthy and supporting the immune system. In fact, it assists with healing in general and minimizing bruising. It’s also necessary for absorbing iron. Many babies and toddlers can get vitamin C through fruit and fruit juices, but if your child isn’t consuming them daily, you may want to consider offering it in supplement form.
Multivitamins for babies and toddlers are formulated with or without iron. Supplementing with iron is only recommended if your child is deficient or anemic, so check with your pediatrician to see which option is best. Look for a formula that tastes good so your little one will accept it readily.
A high-quality multivitamin takes all the guesswork out of choosing a supplement. For example, SmartyPants multivitamin with DHA for babies contains Vitamins C and D, Omega-3 DHA, as well as 10 other nutrients your baby needs for strong bones and teeth, cognitive development, and a healthy immune system. It’s the easiest way to ensure that your child’s nutritional needs are met, even if he’s not yet eating a wide variety of nutritious foods.
Ensuring that your child is receiving the best nutrition is crucial to the growth and development of his immune system, cardiovascular system, bones, eyes, brain, and teeth. In a perfect world, this could be achieved simply by eating the right foods, but babies and toddlers aren’t always the best eaters. Providing high-quality baby and toddler supplements can prevent deficiencies before they become a lifelong problem.