We receive calcium from foods like dairy products, leafy greens, fortified bread, soybeans, etc. Newborn babies can’t consume these foods. Therefore, breast milk meets their calcium demands.
Do newborns need calcium? Yes, they do! Calcium is quite essential for the rapid development of the child. Our bones and teeth are made of calcium. Our body extracts calcium from our bones when there is a lack of calcium supply.
The same thing applies to newborn babies. It can make a baby’s bones weaker and disrupt his growth. Therefore, parents should ensure that the newborn child is not suffering from hypocalcaemia (lack of calcium).
Can You Feed Calcium Supplement to A Newborn Child?
Some babies are born with congenital heredity. Calcium deficiency is one of several causes of such health issues in babies. It plays quite a crucial role in a baby’s development. Minerals account for 5% of body weight and 2% of them is calcium.
This mineral plays an important role in strengthening bones and teeth. About 99% of the absorbed calcium goes to teeth and bones. Only 1% blends in the bloodstream, soft tissues, and intercellular fluid.
How much calcium infants need per day?
Health experts believe a newborn baby needs 300 mg of calcium per day. The child’s calcium demands increase to 400 mg per day when he is 6 months old. The baby grows quite rapidly between 6-12 months. Therefore, he needs a steady supply of nutrients, including calcium.
It will affect your baby’s growth if the child is experiencing calcium deficiency. The baby will get uneven teeth, curved legs, and he can suffer from bone-related diseases.
Calcium deficiency in newborns
Can a newborn baby suffer from calcium deficiency? It can happen due to malnutrition during pregnancy. If a pregnant woman does not take care of her nutritional needs, the baby can suffer from calcium deficiency.
Breastfeeding is the best way to provide the necessary nutrients to the newborn child. A baby can absorb 55-60% of calcium from breast milk. This calcium absorption rate reduces when you feed formula milk or cow’s milk to the child.
It can cause calcium deficiency in the baby if a mother chooses to mixed feed the child too early. It can also cause several other health problems in a newborn baby. Therefore, mixed feeding is not good for a newborn child’s health and development.
What Are the Signs of Calcium Deficiency in Newborns?
It can be pretty tough for parents to recognize calcium deficiency in newborns. A 2-3 months old baby is quite small, but his physique and behavior give some signs of hypocalcaemia. Recognize these signs and you can prevent the bad effects of lack of calcium on your child.
Babies with calcium deficiency become quite grouchy. They rarely sleep and wake up quite early due to restlessness. You should take your child to the doctor if he behaves in this way.
Newborns can experience muscle twitches due to a lack of calcium. It is not a serious health problem, but it’s an important sign. You should not ignore this sign because it can get worse with time.
Lack of sleep
Newborn babies do not have any sleeping schedule. They sleep in short intervals. Babies suffering from calcium deficiency hardly sleep for an hour. They wake up and cry a lot. It sometimes seems irritating, but parents should worry about the child’s health. Newborns experience this problem due to a lack of calcium and other underlying health problems.
Lack of calcium can cause occipital baldness in infants. Your child will lose hair from the back of his head.
Calcium deficiency can cause excessive sweating in infants. Your child’s palms and feet will always look sweaty. He will lose more vital minerals due to this issue.
Newborns do not feed properly when they are suffering from calcium deficiency. Mothers can observe that the child does not consume enough milk. It can be due to several health issues and also due to hypocalcaemia.
Lack of calcium makes babies lethargic. They do not proactive like other children of their age. It’s a concerning problem for many parents because they want to see their child happy. The baby will get active and happy again if you can diagnose and treat the lack of calcium problem.
Parents should never ignore the above-listed signs of calcium deficiency. The baby can suffer from rickets and structural deformity due to a lack of calcium. Babies with hypocalcaemia have low muscle tone, abnormal function of the cerebral cortex, and other health problems.
How And When to Feed Calcium Supplement to Infants?
Feeding supplements to newborn babies can be risky if you do not follow a proper procedure. You need to know the right method and time to treat calcium deficiency quickly.
Babies younger than 5 months need 300 mg calcium per day. 5-12 months old babies need 400 mg calcium and 1-4 years old babies need 600 mg of calcium per day. Your child will need up to 800 mg calcium per day if he is 4-11 years old. Your baby may experience calcium deficiency if he doesn’t get the daily calcium supply according to his age.
Is breastfeeding enough to meet the child’s calcium needs?
Breast milk provides 225-250 mg of calcium every day. It is enough to meet the child’s calcium needs if he is younger than 6 months. Parents should start feeding calcium-rich complementary foods to the child after 6 months.
You can’t meet a child’s daily calcium needs after 6 months if you breastfeed exclusively. Doctors also suggest feeding calcium supplements after 4 months if the child shows signs of calcium deficiency.
Do not feed calcium supplement to the baby if he doesn’t show any signs of lack of calcium. Excess calcium can also affect his health. Always consult with your doctor before feeding any supplement to the child. Thus, you can pick the best product and learn how to feed properly.
Does your baby really need calcium?
Babies also suffer from calcium deficiency due to poor absorption of calcium. Do newborns need calcium in such a situation? No, your baby needs vitamin D supplements to absorb calcium. Vitamin D is responsible for calcium absorption.
You should let the baby rest in sunlight for a while to provide vitamin D. It will increase the calcium absorption rate and your child will get healthier much faster.
What type of calcium supplements is available for newborns?
Calcium supplements are available in different forms. Calcium carbonate is the key ingredient in these supplements. You can get these supplements in tablet form, powdered form, and also in liquid form.
Consult with a pediatric surgeon before you choose a supplement for the child. The doctor will provide some recommendations and a guide on how to feed the supplement to the child. You can blend liquid or powdered supplement in the milk and then feed it to the child.
Calcium tablets are not ideal for newborns and infants. They can’t chew or swallow these tablets. Therefore, you should choose liquid or powdered form calcium supplement for the child.
How to Prevent Calcium Deficiency in Newborns And Infants?
Pregnant women should take a proper diet to prevent calcium deficiency in the newborn child. Follow the below-given tips to prevent hypocalcaemia in infants:
Stay prepared for hot summer days
Babies can sweat a lot during the summer days. They lose vital minerals when they sweat. Mothers should stay prepared for this phase and keep the child’s room cool. Breastfeed on demand if the child is not 6 months old.
Feed nutrient-rich complementary foods if you are trying mixed feeding. Thus, your baby will get ample nutrition to avoid calcium deficiency and other health problems.
Increase the calcium absorption rate
The baby can get a proper diet daily. It won’t be enough to meet his calcium needs if he can’t absorb calcium from the consumed food. Oxalic acid, alkaline food, and phytic acid reduce a child’s calcium absorption capacity. Never feed foods containing these ingredients. Provide more vitamin D to increase your baby’s calcium absorption rate. Thus, his bones will get stronger and the child will grow normally.
Pick a top-rated calcium supplement
You should only trust the best product when it comes to improving the baby’s health. Do some online research to shortlist a few top-rated calcium supplements. You can also consult with the doctor to choose the best supplement for your child. Get the feeding instructions and feed it daily. It will protect your child against hypocalcaemia and ensure the proper growth of the child.
Newborn babies get the necessary amount of calcium from breast milk. Do newborns need calcium, even if you breastfeed daily? They may need vitamin D if they can’t absorb calcium from the consumed food. The same thing is true for infants and toddlers.
Parents should not blindly feed a supplement without diagnosing the root cause of the problem. Take your child to the doctor when you spot the signs of calcium deficiency in your child. Feed the supplements only when there is a risk of severe calcium deficiency!