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Detailed instructions on how to supplement calcium for infants and children

watch 15/02/2023

Calcium supplements for infants and young children play an important role in the formation of strong bones. So how to recognize signs of calcium deficiency in children? What kind of calcium should be given to children? What foods are rich in calcium for babies? Join Huggies and doctor Nguyen Phuoc My Linh to learn the symptoms of calcium deficiency in children and how to supplement calcium for babies and young children safely and effectively in the following article!

What is calcium? The role of calcium for infants and children:

Calcium is a nutrient that plays an extremely important role in the development of the child's body. The most prominent role of calcium is to help build strong bones, in addition, calcium also helps the body in many different ways:

Participating in the structure of bones and teeth, creating a solid framework to support the body. We only have one chance to build strong bones when we are children and teenagers. Children who get enough calcium will start adult life with the strongest bones possible. That protects us against rickets in childhood and osteoporosis in old age.

Calcium keeps nerves active: Calcium is involved in nerve conduction as a transmitter that mediates nerve signals. If calcium deficiency, nerves are easily inhibited and reduced ability to regulate.

Calcium participates in controlling muscle activity: calcium ions play an important role in muscle contraction, including cardiac muscle and visceral smooth muscle. It also plays an important role in keeping the heart healthy.

Involved in immune activity: calcium activates immune cells to move, surround and destroy harmful agents in the body. Therefore, calcium also contributes to increasing the body's resistance.

Signs of calcium deficiency in children:

Overall, the role of calcium in the body is undeniable. When the body does not get enough calcium, it will disrupt normal physiological activities. Symptoms of calcium deficiency in children include:

  • Children have trouble sleeping, do not sleep well and often wake up startled. Each time, the baby has cries, body spasticity, red and purple face, crying that lasts and can last for hours or all night. The more you coax, the more you lull, the more you breastfeed, the more babies cry, and they may stop breathing in their crying.
  • Children with delayed teething, tooth decay, uneven teeth.
  • Children who are slow to walk, have abnormal bones and joints such as fragile bones, bow legs, and stunted growth.
  • Children with severe rickets due to calcium deficiency will have a slow fontanelle, flat head, bulging chest, bow legs or bowl letters.
  • Fingernails are weak, break easily, or complain of leg or arm pain, muscle pain or weakness.
  • Fatigue, anorexia, growth retardation, dizziness, or laryngospasms causing difficulty breathing, hiccups, vomiting milk.
  • Poor response to surroundings.
  • Severe cases can stop breathing and rapid breathing, have episodes of increased heart rate and can cause heart failure

When seeing the baby has abnormal signs, mothers should immediately think that the child is deficient in calcium or some necessary nutrients. Early detection to supplement calcium for babies is one thing parents need to pay attention to to protect their children's health.

Causes of calcium deficiency in children:

Calcium deficiency in young children can be caused by many causes:

  • The mother was deficient in calcium or vitamin D during pregnancy. When a mother has a very severe calcium or vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, her baby may show signs of rickets at birth or during the first three months of life. In addition, some diseases of pregnancy such as placental calcification, placental calcification also affect calcium absorption of children.
  • Children asphyxiated during childbirth: many studies show that these birth incidents can affect the absorption and metabolism of substances in the baby's body, which can cause dangerous diseases, especially heart.
  • Breastfeeding: very low vitamin D content in breast milk does not provide enough vitamin D needs for infants, if breastfed babies are breastfed for a long time, and at the same time avoid exposure to the sun, they will be deficient. vitamin D. Vitamin D is a bridge to help absorb calcium in milk into the child's body, if vitamin D deficiency will lead to children drinking a lot of milk but not absorbing calcium, causing calcium deficiency.
  • Diseases causing calcium malabsorption such as: 1-alpha-hydroxylase deficiency, the enzyme that converts 25OHD to its active metabolite, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D), 25 deficiency -hydroxylase, hereditary resistance to vitamin D, due to dysfunction of the vitamin D receptor, chronic renal failure can also alter vitamin D metabolism. Other causes of vitamin D deficiency are malabsorption cystic fibrosis or other disorders of pancreatic function, gastrectomy or long bowel surgery, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and other malabsorption conditions. Some anticonvulsant and antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV infection may cause vitamin D deficiency by enhancing the catabolism of 25OHD and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D).

Detailed instructions on how to supplement calcium for infants and children:

Should calcium supplements for babies?

Whether to supplement calcium for babies or not, it is one of the concerns of parents when raising children. To answer the question Do babies need calcium supplements for babies? Here are a few things you need to know:
Newborns don't need calcium supplements if they get the recommended amount of breast milk or infant formula. However, infants may need vitamin D supplements to help them absorb calcium in their diet.
Infants nine months of age and older can start eating calcium-rich foods like soft cheeses and yogurt.
Children over the age of two can get the recommended amount of calcium by drinking two cups of milk or a fortified soy beverage a day.
If your baby has lactose intolerance, he or she can get calcium from lactose-reduced or lactose-free products like soy drinks, yogurt, and cheese. Other food sources include tofu, sesame seeds, etc.

Types of calcium for infants from 0-6 months:

Currently, there are quite a few popular calcium supplement product lines with diverse packaging such as syrup, tablets, convenient small packages, etc. When choosing calcium supplements for babies, it is necessary to find out the origin. , carefully read the list of ingredients, calcium content and need to ask your doctor carefully before deciding to give your baby to use. There are infant calcium grades that will not be suitable for older babies. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully study and get advice from professionals!

Ways to supplement calcium for infants and young children:

Are you wondering what type of calcium should be given to infants? Newborns get enough calcium from breast milk or formula, with almost no need for additional calcium pills. Young children and school-age children with a healthy diet rich in milk about 400-500ml/day are enough to provide the body's daily calcium needs.

Supplementing calcium through food is one of the most effective and safe measures. So, what are foods rich in calcium for babies? Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, whey.. are one of the best natural sources of calcium. However, rarely, some children who cannot eat milk will have to get calcium from other foods, such as seafood such as shrimp, crab, fish, oysters ... or vegetables such as lettuce, corn cabbage, kale, celery…, beans, almonds, sesame and eggs… or take calcium pills as prescribed by your doctor.

Reference: Nosebleeds in infants and children

Do not ignore the provision of vitamin D, a nutrient with the task of bridging the transmission for the body to absorb calcium. However, the absorption of vitamin D through food is not effective, so the best way is for mothers to let their children participate in outdoor activities in the morning to be able to synthesize vitamin D in the skin or take vitamin D supplements every day.

Recommendations for vitamin D supplementation for healthy individuals as endorsed by the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics are as follows:

  • Full-term infants need: 400 international units (IU) or 10 micrograms per day. Exclusively breastfed infants need vitamin D supplementation to achieve this goal, as do some formula-fed infants under 1000ml/day.
  • Children 1 monthsto 18 months years:  600 IU (15 micrograms) per day.

Reference:  Is the baby sleeping or startled?

For children with rickets, higher doses of vitamin D deficiency are as follows:

  • Infants <1 month of age need:  1000 IU (25 mcg) daily until three months years of age, followed by a maintenance dose of 400 IU (10 mcg) daily.
  • Infants 1 to 12 months of age requiring: 1000 – 2000 IU (25 – 50 mcg) daily until three months  of age, followed by a maintenance dose of 400 IU  (10 mcg) daily.
  • Children 1 to 12 years of age requiring: 2000 – 6000 IU (50 – 150 mcg) daily for three months, followed by a maintenance dose of 600 IU  (15 mcg) daily.
  • Children ≥12 years of age requiring:  6000 IU (150 mcg) daily for three months, followed by a maintenance dose of 600 IU (15 mcg) daily.

Foods rich in calcium for children:

As noted above, milk and dairy products are still the best sources of calcium for infants and young children. However, dairy products are not the only way to supplement this important nutrient. Is your baby allergic to milk? Lactose intolerance? Or the baby doesn't like milk? Here are a few natural non-dairy sources of calcium that you can give your baby:
Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
Orange juice fortified with calcium
Calcium-fortified rice milk, soy milk and tofu
Oranges, figs, plums
Dark green vegetables like broccoli, kale, peas and collard greens..
Almonds, sesame seeds
Green beans, white beans…

Mistakes when supplementing calcium for children:

Calcium plays an important role, but the body cannot synthesize it on its own. Calcium needs to be supplemented from outside according to the needs of the child. However, if too much calcium is added, it will cause many dangerous complications for children. Some complications from excess calcium can be:

  • Calcium deposits in the kidneys cause kidney calcification and kidney stones.
  • Calcium deposition in joints causes joint calcification and joint pain.
  • Calcium deposits in the heart cause cardiovascular disease.
  • Children often suffer from constipation due to excess calcium.

Dosage of calcium suitable for infants and children:

Need to provide the necessary amount of calcium in accordance with the needs of the child. Calcium supplements for children will vary by age. Mothers should learn about calcium needs according to the age of the child to have an appropriate nutrition.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the amount of calcium needed for all ages is as follows:

  • Under 6 months: 300 mg/day
  • From 7 to 12 months old: 400 mg/day
  • From 1 to 3 years old: 500 mg/day
  • From 4-6 years old: 600 mg/day
  • From 7 to 9 years old: 700 mg/day
  • From 10 years old: 1000 mg/day
  • 11-24 years old: 1200 mg/day
  • From 24 to 50 years old: 800mg - 1000mg/day
  • Pregnant women, the elderly: need 1200mg - 1500mg / day.

Note when supplementing calcium for infants and young children.

Children need vitamin D to help their bodies absorb calcium. Calcium is a mineral that helps build strong bones, but without vitamin D, calcium won't be able to go where it's needed to build strong bones. Vitamin D is not found in many foods that children eat. Therefore, health experts often recommend that we take vitamin D supplements daily.
Breastfed babies need vitamin D supplements, starting soon after birth. If using infant formula, choose one with added vitamin D. Seek advice from your doctor whether your baby needs a vitamin D supplement.

In addition, mothers can get more information in the Baby Care section or send a question to the Expert Corner.

Calcium is an indispensable element in the development of children

1. Newborn calcium deficiency causes what disease?

Although calcium in the body only accounts for about 2% of weight, it plays an important and indispensable role for humans, especially children.

Because calcium is the main component of bones, infants with calcium deficiency will be at risk of rickets, small bones, deformities, short, short ... if not supplemented in time.

In addition, calcium also plays many other roles such as participating in nerve conduction, blood clotting, and muscle contraction regulation.

Therefore, when children lack calcium, they will often cry at night, startle when sleeping, slow to crawl, stand, sit...

The majority of infants with calcium deficiency is caused by the fact that during pregnancy, the pregnant mother does not provide enough calcium, leading to the baby being born with calcium deficiency causing many health risks.

Signs of calcium deficiency in children

2. Is too much calcium in babies dangerous?

In addition to the harmful effects of calcium deficiency in infants, if parents are anxious to supplement calcium for their children without carefully understanding it, it can cause an excess of calcium in children.

Children with calcium excess, although uncommon, can still cause many serious consequences for health such as: kidney calcification, kidney stones, impaired kidney function, excess calcium causing reduced absorption of other nutrients (iron). , magnesium, phosphorus, etc.).

More dangerously, calcium supplements for children in the wrong way cause calcium excess that can cause ossification complications, limit bone growth, children are at risk of stunting and stop growing in height early.

Consequences of improper calcium supplementation

3. Should calcium supplements for babies or not?

Should calcium supplements for infants from 0-6 months old is not one of the concerns of parents when having children in this age group.

Because every parent always wants their child to be healthy, to be provided with the best conditions for development, but worrying about supplementing in the wrong way can even harm the child.

Nutrition experts recommend that for children without a diagnosis of calcium deficiency or without signs of calcium deficiency in children, parents do not need to supplement calcium for their children.

In the neonatal period from 0-6 months, the main source of calcium for babies is from breast milk or infant formula, so it is only necessary to give the baby enough milk during this period.

However, parents also need to pay attention to supplementing vitamin D for children to help absorb calcium from milk into the body better.

For premature babies, the risk of calcium deficiency is very high, parents need to pay attention to monitor their health and consult a doctor about calcium supplements for premature babies.

The main source of calcium for infants is breast milk

4. Instructions on how to supplement calcium for babies safely and effectively:

How to supplement calcium for babies both effectively and safely is what any parent wants. When needing to supplement calcium for children, parents need to pay attention to the following points:

4.1. Types of calcium supplements for babies:

Newborns are a group that needs to be very careful before giving them any products, including calcium. Because the baby's organs are still not fully developed, the functions of absorption, metabolism and elimination of substances are still incomplete.

Therefore, when choosing calcium supplements for babies, parents need to learn about products of clear origin, ingredients, and calcium content in the product.

Most importantly, parents should consult carefully with their doctor before deciding to supplement calcium for their children.

4.2. Dose of calcium supplements for a 1-month-old infant:

Dosage of calcium supplements for children  varies by month of age, specifically as follows:

  • For premature babies: Babies born prematurely, with low birth weight or with health problems diagnosed at risk of rickets, calcium deficiency, parents need to actively discuss with their doctor about supplementation and dosage. most appropriate for each child.
  • Full-term babies need to supplement about   200mg of calcium/day (children under 6 months old), 260mg of calcium/day (children from 6 to 11 months old), children from 1-3 years old need 700mg of calcium/day to grow.

Note, in addition to breast milk and calcium-fortified formula, parents should not give children under 1 year of age any other milk because the child may face health risks such as diarrhea, allergies.

4.3. How to properly supplement calcium for babies?

Normally, babies will get enough calcium from breast milk and formula, so there is almost no need to take extra calcium pills for babies.

Therefore, the best way to supplement calcium for babies is that mothers need to have enough calcium to secrete into milk and provide for their babies.

In addition, parents should not ignore vitamin D supplementation for children, this is an essential micronutrient to help children absorb calcium better. However, in the period from 0 to 6 months of age, children cannot supplement vitamin D through food, so mothers need to regularly let children go out in the morning so that the body can synthesize vitamin D on its own.

Supplement vitamin D for children by letting them go out in the morning so that the body can synthesize vitamin D on its own

5. What mothers need to do to provide enough calcium for babies:

In order for the baby to be born without calcium deficiency, from the time of pregnancy, mothers should actively supplement calcium until the lactation period.

Because, during pregnancy, the baby can only receive nutrients from the mother's body, in the newborn period from 0-6 months old, breast milk is the best source of nutrients for the development of the baby.

Therefore, to keep the baby healthy, mothers need to supplement with adequate nutrients during pregnancy including vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, folic acid ... and calcium is also an indispensable element.

To fully supplement calcium for both mother and baby during pregnancy and lactation, mothers can supplement calcium through the following sources:

  • Foods rich in calcium such as milk, eggs, cheese, dark green vegetables, etc.
  • Calcium supplements for pregnant women should be prioritized to choose organic calcium for high tolerability, easy absorption, and easy elimination to limit the possibility of sediment causing kidney stones such as inorganic calcium.

Above is all the necessary information about how to supplement calcium for babies and young children. Hopefully through the article, parents have better understand how to supplement calcium for their children effectively and safely.

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