Vitamins for Your Child
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Breastfed babies
- Children with vegetarian, vegan or other alternative diets
- Children with erratic eating patterns
- Children with restricted diets or medical conditions
All parents want their children to be as healthy as possible. The most commonly asked question is, “Should my child take vitamin supplements?” as they think that it will make their children healthier or help them to eat better.
Right Nutrition for Your Child
As nutrients are naturally found in food and is digested, and absorbed more effectively by the body, consuming a well-balanced diet is always the ideal goal. From fruits, vegetable and whole grains to meat, seafood and daily substitutes, children can get all the nutrients they need.
Does Your Child Need Vitamins?
For children with highly selective diets, such as vegetarianism or a dairy-free diet, and for children with erratic eating patterns, a daily dose of vitamins may be recommended.
For children who have difficulty absorbing certain nutrients may require vitamin supplementation to supplement their diet with the lacking nutrient(s). Here are some groups of children that may require vitamin supplementation as they might not be able to get all the essential vitamins they need from their diet.
- Breastfed babies - Formula is fortified with Vitamin D, which is important for bone growth and other body processes. Breast milk is not. Now, breast milk is truly the perfect food for babies and mothers should breastfeed whenever possible. Vitamin D is a sunshine vitamin, and if all babies were out in the sun regularly, there would be no need for supplementation. But the reality is that we don’t get babies out in the sun regularly. If your baby’s diet is mostly breast milk, talk to your doctor about which vitamin to give, and for how long it should be consumed for.
- Children with vegetarian, vegan or other alternative diets - This isn’t to say that you can’t get all your nutrients from diets that does not contain animal products or are different from the average diet. But it’s not always easy to get kids to eat all the foods in the quantities they might need for growth and development during these formative years — and it could take quite a large quantity to get certain nutrients, like iron. Iron is particularly important for growing bodies and developing brains.
- Children with erratic eating patterns - Examples of this are the children who flat out refuse to eat a fruit or vegetable, the ones who could live on the “white diet” of pasta, rice, potatoes, bread and milk, the ones who refuse everything but chicken nuggets and French fries. Now a vitamin is not the answer here, obviously. You should be working with your doctor to find ways to expand your child’s diet into something healthier. But in the meantime, a multivitamin with minerals may help prevent nutritional deficiencies.
- Children with restricted diets or medical conditions. For some children, however, medical conditions may mandate altering the diet to manage the condition. Examples include children with celiac disease for whom gluten is restricted; children with food allergies in whom specific foods related to the allergy are eliminated.
Knowing the diet of a child is critical to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of that child. Apart from knowing what constitutes a healthy diet for their child, parents also need to know the potential adverse effects of special diets on their children as vitamin deficiencies may not be obvious.
Despite parents’ best efforts, kids may not always get all the vitamins and minerals they need. In view of the potential of vitamin deficiencies among children in this modern lifestyle, a multivitamin is such an important supplement because it gently supplements the deficiency of any of the most essential vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it is always recommended that most children over the age of two take a daily multivitamin to enhance their nutritional intake.
The most important aspect of a multivitamin for children is its purity. Multivitamins that are free of unwanted artificial ingredients, contain age-appropriate doses, and come in a liquid or chewable form for optimal digestion and absorption are recommended. Over-the-counter vitamin supplements may come in fun colours and shapes. They are typically safe and come in chewable forms in case your child has difficulty swallowing and may come in fun colours and shapes.
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