Iodine is quite essential for healthy metabolism and also for the growth and repair of damaged cells. It is commonly found in seafood. Every human being needs this mineral to stay healthy and live a trouble-free life.
Unfortunately, about a third of the world’s population is at risk of a lack of iodine. People, who belong to countries with little iodine in the soil, have a high risk of iodine deficiency. Pregnant women, vegan diet followers, and iodine-less salt users have high risks of this problem.
Babies can also suffer from iodine deficiency and it can severely affect their life. Continue reading to learn how to diagnose and cure baby iodine deficiency.
What are the Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency in Babies?
The following signs indicate that a newborn or infant can have iodine deficiency:
Lack of iodine in the mother
Pregnant women are at a high risk of iodine deficiency. If you do not follow a healthy diet plan, you can face this problem. Your newborn child will also inherit this health issue from you. Therefore, you should not let this issue affect you and follow a good diet plan.
Newborns and infants are at a high risk of endemic cretinism if they have an iodine deficiency. This issue directly affects the growth of a child’s brain tissues and bones. It can also cause delayed neuromotor function development if it’s not diagnosed and treated in time!
Poor thyroid function
Babies with iodine deficiency are at a high risk of suffering from goiter. It can occur due to poor performance of the thyroid due to lack of iodine.
Other common symptoms in childhood
A baby, who is iodine deficiency during the infancy period, is at a high risk of adolescent hypothyroidism, goiter, subclinical cretinism, physical development disorder, mental retardation, and other concerning health issues!
How Can Iodine Deficiency Affect the Child’s Health and Growth?
Lack of iodine can have some severe complications on the child’s health and development during the infancy period. It is the time when your child’s physical and mental growth is taking place. Lack of iodine can cause cretinism and mental retardation. A baby may also not be able to take care of himself at all if not treated quickly!
1. How does iodine deficiency affect a child’s growth
Children with mild iodine deficiency know how to take care of themselves. They cannot perform complicated tasks. It gets so difficult for them to socialize with others. Iodine deficient babies can also suffer from movement and language impairments! Many iodine-deficient kids have suffered from deaf muteness. Lack of this mineral can also cause developmental deformities!
2. Always beware of complications!
It is better to beware of iodine deficiency complications rather than putting the child’s life at risk. Yes, you can prevent iodine deficiency during the pregnancy period. Even if the newborn child is iodine deficient, the pediatrician can provide proper treatment to recover him quickly. Early treatment can save the child from all those dangerous health and growth complications.
What is the Best Way of Supplementing Iodine to Babies?
A child’s brain starts developing when he is a fetus. It continues to develop until the child is 2 years old. The baby needs about 40-70 micrograms of iodine every day during this period. The body uses this iodine to synthesize sufficient thyroid hormones for proper brain development. You can supplement iodine in the following ways:
Prevent iodine deficiency in the mother
Breastfeeding babies do not eat external food. They rely on the mother for all their nutritional needs. Therefore, breastfeeding moms should eat iodine-rich foods. It is widely found in seafood and high-quality salt. So, make sure you include these foods in your daily diet.
Your child will receive enough iodine from breast milk if you don’t lack this mineral. So, take care of what you eat to feed nutritious milk to the child.
Make sure you get 200 micrograms of iodine if you are a breastfeeding mom
Being a breastfeeding mother, you have to take care of many things. Whatever you eat and drink, can affect your child’s health. You need to take at least 200 micrograms of iodine per day to supply sufficient iodine to the child. Meet this daily iodine requirement if you want to ensure your child grows normally!
Supplementing iodine through formula milk
Many women choose the mixed-feeding method to nourish the baby in a better way. Even though it is not the most effective way of feeding newborns, it can help in preventing iodine deficiency.
Choose formula milk rich in iodine. Feed such high-quality formula milk a few times a day. Thus, your child will get a necessary dose of iodine in the simplest possible way. You should include seafood-based soups in the child’s diet if he is 6 months old. These foods provide many nutrients, including iodine.
What to Beware of before Supplementing Iodine to Newborns?
Parents get pretty worried when they learn iodine deficiency can affect the child’s mental development. They want to ensure the child gets enough iodine since his infancy period. There are a few important things to know before supplementing iodine:
A baby must get the recommended dose of iodine per day until he is 3 years old!
Baby’s early childhood period is quite important for his mental development. Lack of iodine can severely affect his intellectual development. It can cause cretinism, which will lead to short stature and mental retardation.
Lack of iodine can also disrupt the physical development of the child. Therefore, you should take the baby to the doctor for a regular health checkup to ensure he is not iodine deficient!
Do not supplement iodine until it the doctor recommends it!
The effects of iodine deficiency are quite frightening for some parents. Therefore, they start supplementing iodine through food and orally without consulting a doctor. Excess of iodine can also cause health and developmental issues in babies. it can cause thyroid diseases, memory loss, and weight loss!
Do not feed overdose of iodine supplement!
Know how much iodine the doctor recommends you to supplement the child. Do not feed iodine-rich foods and supplement more than the recommended quantity. It can cause an excess of iodine and that’s also responsible cause permanent developmental issues.
What Precautions to Take When Supplementing Iodine?
Iodine deficiency can reduce the chances of living a normal life for your child. It is dangerous for your baby’s health and quite frightening for you. So, you will certainly prefer supplementing iodine if the child shows signs of iodine deficiency.
Pay attention to the following precautions when supplementing iodine to the child:
Know how much iodine you should feed to the child:
An iodine-deficient child can recover faster if you supplement the right amount of iodine. Do not overfeed it and do not feed less than the recommended amount! Thus, you can help the baby in recovering faster.
Add iodized salt to your child’s diet:
Many people are living in iodine-deficient regions. They should choose only iodized salt because it can prevent iodine deficiency in the entire family.
Do not consume more than the required amount of iodized salt:
Iodized salt helps prevent baby iodine deficiency only if you feed it in a moderate quantity. Overeating such ingredients can also be problematic for your and the child’s health.
Store iodized salt in a dry place:
You should always store the iodized salt in a shaded and dry place. Do not place it inside a cold storage unit because it will lose its nutritional value.
Do not boil or fry your food for a long time after adding iodized salt:
Iodized salt meets your body’s iodine needs only when you put it at the ending phase of cooking. Do not boil or fry your food too long after adding the salt. It can reduce the health benefits of iodine!
Your child cannot consume most dishes which include iodized salt. Infants only consume milk and a few complementary foods. So, mothers should consume foods that include a moderate quantity of iodized salt. Thus, the baby will also get sufficient iodine to stay fit and healthy.
Is It Necessary to Feed Iodine Supplement to a Baby?
Iodine deficient babies may not need an oral supplement. It is recommended only if the baby has a severe iodine deficiency. Iodine-rich foods and iodized recipes can easily meet a baby’s iodine needs if he is mildly iodine deficient. So, it is not compulsory to feed iodine supplement to every child who lacks iodine in his body!
Newborns and infants rely on a variety of nutrients to stay fit, healthy and grow normally. Many minerals play a vital role in a baby’s physical and intellectual growth. If calcium is essential for strong bones, iodine is required for the proper development of the brain.
Doctors do a complete physical checkup after the child’s birth. They can find it if the child is iodine deficient. You should not worry about it because the doctor will provide the best available treatment to cure this issue quickly.