Do you know calcium deficiency can severely disrupt your child’s development and overall growth? Calcium is one of the most important nutrients every newborn need for good health and a strong physique. Lack of calcium can occur in many conditions and it is a concerning health issue.
You should not worry if the child is diagnosed as calcium deficient. Proper care and treatment can replenish your baby’s calcium supplies easily. This post will reveal what should babies eat for calcium supplementation. Besides, you will also learn how to diagnose and prevent calcium deficiency in babies!
What are the Symptoms of Lack of Calcium in Babies?
Hyperhidrosis, poor sleep, irritability, and late teething are a few signs of calcium deficiencies in infants. These signs do not manifest in that specific manner. A single symptom never confirms the health problem. Assess the following symptoms to diagnose calcium deficiency:
- Irritable behavior indicates the baby is uncomfortable. The baby will cry and won’t fall asleep, even if his tummy is full. It indicates calcium deficiency and requires proper medical attention.
- Excess sweating also indicates the baby lacks calcium. It will happen regardless of weather and climate condition in your region!
- Occipital hair loss is another reliable sign to look for if you doubt the baby is calcium deficient. He will have yellow and shares hair and the child will lose hairs from the back of his head.
- Teething is delayed in calcium-deficient babies. They get their teeth much later than other babies of their age.
- Weak muscles and bones also indicate the child is calcium deficiency.
- Sluggishness and weakness reveal that your baby is lacking a vital mineral. He won’t look as active as other babies of his age are.
These signs are important to notice. Contact the doctor if you observe more than one signs of calcium deficiency in your baby.
What to Feed the Baby to Prevent Calcium Deficiency?
Infants grow pretty rapidly. It rapidly increases their demands for nutrients, especially calcium. This mineral is required for stronger bones, muscles, and overall development. Babies can get this mineral from their food.
Milk and soy products are considered perfect to meet the baby’s daily calcium needs. Feed the following foods to prevent calcium deficiency in your child:
Milk is the best food a newborn or infant gets to meet his regular calcium needs. Breast milk is the best source of calcium and it also supplies lactic acid, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The baby needs all those nutrients to develop strong bones and flexible muscles.
Mothers should continue breastfeeding at least for two years. It is enough to ensure the child never lacks calcium and other vital nutrients.
2. Shrimp skin and kelp
Dried shrimps and kelp are rich in calcium. Each day the baby can gain 25 grams of calcium by consuming this seafood. It can be the best food for 6 months old calcium-deficient infants. This food also helps in preventing arteriosclerosis and reducing blood lipids.
Your baby will also enjoy the taste of seaweed with meat. Feed these foods a few times a week. The baby will recover faster if he is calcium deficient.
3. Soy products
Soybean-based foods are rich in protein. These foods also supply a rich quantity of calcium. There are up to 120 milligrams of calcium in 500ml soy milk! Tofu and other soybean-based recipes also provide sufficient calcium to prevent a lack of calcium in babies.
There are many calcium-rich vegetables. Some contain up to 230 mg of calcium. These vegetables should be a part of your infant’s daily complementary meals. These vegetables will also offer other nutrients to improve the overall health of the child.
How Much Calcium Your Child Needs Per Day?
A baby’s calcium demands change with his growing age. Your infant’s weight, height, teeth, and body structure grows when he gains sufficient calcium from his food. The baby won’t grow normally if he does not get a sufficient amount of calcium per day. So, how much calcium your baby needs per day?
- A 0-6 months old baby needs 225-300 mg of calcium per day
- A 6-12 months old baby needs up to 40 mg of calcium per day
- A 1-3 years old baby needs 600 mg of calcium per day
- A 4-10 years old baby needs up to 800 mg of calcium per day
As the list depicts, every child needs a different amount of calcium according to his age. However, these demands can alter depending on your child’s physique and health. Therefore, you should consult with the doctor to know the right amount of calcium for your child. Use this chart to know how much calcium-rich food you should feed your baby!
Is It Dangerous to Feed Calcium Supplement Blindly?
Every nutrient aids in the baby’s smooth growth until its levels are normal. The child starts experiencing health problems if you feed supplements blindly. You have to ensure your baby is calcium deficient before feeding a supplement.
Babies suffer from hypercalcemia when calcium levels in their body are above normal. It is dangerous because it can cause the following health risks:
Calcium crystals can get formed in your child’s kidneys due to excess calcium. These crystals continue to develop until they take a shape of the stone. That’s when the child suffers from a kidney stone problem. It is an extremely painful health condition! Therefore, you should keep your child’s calcium intake in check!
Bones start releasing calcium into the blood when calcium levels get above normal in the body. It eventually leads to bone-thinning disease, which is also known as osteoporosis. Parents believe an excess of calcium will make their child’s bones stronger. In reality, it makes bones weaker and prone to fracture.
Nervous system problems
Babies suffering from severe hypercalcemia can experience dementia, confusion, and coma. It can get quite serious and dangerous. Therefore, parents should avoid blindly supplementing the child.
Severe hypercalcemia can also severely damage your child’s kidneys. He won’t be able to eliminate waste fluid and cleanse the blood. It happens mainly due to careless supplementation. The baby shows a few signs of calcium deficiency and parents start supplementing calcium. They do not consult with the doctor and it eventually causes health issues like kidney failure!
Arrhythmia is a health condition in which babies have abnormal heart rhythm. Excess of calcium is considered responsible for these health issues. It badly affects electrical impulses which are responsible for heartbeat regulation. Therefore, the heart beats irregularly!
What Should You Do to Maintain Normal Calcium Levels in Your Baby?
Follow the below-given tips to prevent lack or excess of calcium in your child:
You should strictly follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines regarding feeding newborns and infants. Breastfeed until your child is old enough to process external foods. Feed a well-balanced diet when your child can consume complementary meals.
Continue breastfeeding until your baby is 2 years old. You can reduce breastfeeding frequency, but do not wean off too early. It can cause calcium deficiency in your child.
Consult with the doctor before feeding any supplement
We have shared symptoms of calcium deficiency in this post. Over-the-counter supplements are easily available nowadays. So, some parents might start feeding OTC supplements after assessing calcium deficiency signs. It can be quite harmful to your child’s health!
We have shared calcium deficiency symptoms so that you can take your child to the doctor in time. See a doctor as soon as your child shows the signs of being calcium deficient. The doctor will thoroughly screen his physique to recognize the root cause of the issue. Thus, you can provide the best treatment to your child.
Improve vitamin D levels in your child
Vitamin D is responsible for improving calcium absorption in our body. Your baby also needs VD to absorb calcium from his food. Breast milk does not offer enough vitamin D to meet the baby’s daily VD needs.
Therefore, you should take your child in the sunlight for a few minutes. Morning and evening time are perfect to provide vitamin D without exposing your child to intense sunlight.
Do not feed more than the recommended amount of a calcium supplement!
We have revealed how hypercalcemia can affect a person’s health. Babies are prone to such health problems. Carefully learn how much calcium supplement you should feed to the child from his doctor. Do not overfeed it because it can quickly increase calcium levels.
Calcium is essential for a strong physique and its importance isn’t just limited to strong bones and teeth! Now you know what should babies eat for calcium supplementation. Your child will stay happy and calm as long as he receives vital nutrients in the right quantity.
You should not worry too much until the child is breastfeeding exclusively. Switch to calcium or vitamin D-fortified formula milk and other calcium-rich foods after 6 months. Do not overfeed calcium-rich foods and supplements because it can also cause health issues!