Is your child drinking enough milk? Are his limbs twitching unusually? This could be a sign of calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency is common in infants and can be addressed by a slight change in their diet. When it comes to babies, there are not many options for their diet. Therefore, it is essential to keep track of what you are feeding your baby and what nutrients they are consuming. Calcium is one such nutrient that is very important.
Why is Calcium Important for a Baby?
Calcium is one of the nutrients that are vital for the proper growth and development of bones. As babies grow rapidly, their bones are constantly developing. Calcium plays a vital role in bone strength and structure. The bone mass of adults is determined by the amount of calcium intake they had in the period of infancy to adolescence. Additionally, calcium is also important for the proper functioning of muscles, good heart function, and nerve impulse transmission.
What are the Causes of Calcium Deficiency in Infants?
Some of the common causes of calcium deficiency are as follows:
- Inadequate exposure to sunlight leads to Vitamin D deficiency, which in turn can reduce calcium levels.
- Lack of oxygen during baby delivery.
- Infants with congenital hyperthyroidism suffer from lower calcium levels.
- Some medicines used to fight bacterial infection can affect calcium levels. It is best always to use medicine prescribed by a doctor.
- Some genetic defects can also contribute to calcium deficiency.
- Premature babies are likely to be calcium deficient.
What are the Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency in Babies?
When babies are calcium-deficient, they are prone to poor sleep, hyperhidrosis, occipital baldness, late teething, etc. However, these manifestations are not specific. We cannot say that the baby is calcium-deficient based on only these signs. Some common symptoms include:
1. Being irritable and often crying for unknown reasons. It is not easy to fall asleep, and even if they do, they wake up easily.
2. Excessive sweating, even if the weather is not very hot.
3. Hair is yellow and sparse, and occipital hair loss circles. Hair loss often occurs on the back of the head.
4. Teething later than children of the same age.
5. The fontanel is closed late and muscle weakness.
6. Sluggish look and lack of expressions.
7. Their movements and language are delayed, as compared to other kids of the same age.
8. The forehead is high, forming a square skull. Some children may have rows of beading at the rib junction, where the cartilage proliferation of each rib is like a bead. It often compresses the lungs, making the baby poorly ventilated and prone to tracheitis and pneumonia. Severe calcium deficiency can lead to bone mineralization disorders and clinical manifestations of rickets.
What to Do if a Baby is Calcium Deficient?
When babies lack calcium, on the one hand, it is necessary to find out the cause of the baby’s calcium deficiency and take effective intervention measures. On the other hand, the baby’s food diet is the primary source of calcium intake. Calcium supplements are an option, but they should be taken only when sufficient calcium cannot be taken from food.
1. Make good use of dairy products for cooking: replacing flour with low-fat milk powder and replacing water with milk are all changes that chefs can make. The cooked milk can also alleviate the discomfort of lactose in people with allergies.
2. Make more use of acetic acid: when boiling bone soup, add some vinegar or lemon to accelerate calcium excretion.
3. Eat more small fish and seaweed foods: eat the whole sardines in larvae, golden prawns, larvae, dried small fish, or canned fish, so nutrition and calcium are all in it.
4. Snacks can also supplement calcium: use almonds and dried fish instead of potato chips, use konjac, sesame seaweed, or pistachios instead of chocolate or cola, and snacks can also supplement calcium.
5. Do not forget vitamin D: Calcium needs vitamin D to be absorbed by the small intestine and transported to the bones through the blood. A more practical way for babies to get vitamin D is to get more exposure to the sun. The best food sources of vitamin D are fatty fish, like eel and salmon, followed by egg yolk and milk. In terms of fruits and vegetables, it is shiitake mushrooms. You can expose shiitake mushrooms in the sun for 1-2 hours before cooking to gain maximum benefits of Vitamin D.
What Calcium Supplements Do Babies Eat?
The primary source of calcium is milk. As they get older, babies can intake calcium through other food sources such as:
Milk is rich in nutrients. It is the best source of calcium for the body, with a good ratio of calcium to phosphorus, which is good for calcium absorption. Therefore, milk is referred to as the “closest to perfect food”, the ideal natural food.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium. Drinking a cup of 150 grams of yogurt can meet 1/3 of the large calcium requirement for children under 10 and 1/5 of the calcium requirement for adults.
Dairy products are the best choice for calcium supplementation in foods. Cheese is another good source. Calcium content of cheese is 250 ml of milk = 200 ml of yogurt = 40 grams of cheese.
4. Calcium-containing orange juice
Oranges are considered good for curing diseases. They are rich in vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, etc. 8 ounces (approximately 226 grams) of orange juice contains the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk.
The nutritional value of beans is very high, and most beans contain a considerable amount of calcium. But please keep in mind that children after one year of age can drink soy milk to prevent drinking too much at one time to avoid protein allergies.
Kelp is a vegetable with high nutritional value. It is not only rich in calcium and iodine but also helps in the synthesis of thyroxine. In addition, kelp also contains high-quality protein and unsaturated fatty acids.
7. Shrimp skin
Shrimp skin is rich in protein and minerals, especially the calcium content is extremely rich. It is called a calcium storehouse. It is a better way to supplement calcium for those with calcium deficiency. It is a good way to supplement calcium with more shrimp skins to make supplementary food for babies.
What Precautions Should I Take While Giving Calcium Supplementation to My Baby?
Too much of one thing is always bad. Make sure your child has a good calcium intake but also monitor how much is required. There are some precautions you need to take and keep in mind:
Do not let calcium meet oxalic acid
Spinach, pickled cabbage, amaranth, water spinach, bamboo shoots, onions, wild rice, green soybeans, etc. All contain oxalic acids. Oxalic acid is easily combined with calcium and affects absorption. Therefore, it is best to boil vegetables in hot water during calcium supplementation or take calcium products 2 hours before meals or 3-4 hours after meals.
Do not mix calcium with the main meal
Even if there is not too much oxalic acid, if you take calcium products with meals, it will affect the absorption of calcium. The calcium mixed in food can only absorb 20%. If the stomach is filled with too much food, calcium absorption will be negligible. Calcium supplementation should be separated from breakfast, lunch, and dinner by more than half an hour. Do not mix with milk either.
Excessive calcium supplementation is not good for health
Calcium supplementation should be taken in appropriate quantities. Do not follow the notion of “as much as possible “calcium intake. The daily intake of calcium in infants and young children is about 400 mg. If the intake of calcium greatly exceeds the above standard, it may cause constipation and even interfere with the absorption and utilization of other trace elements such as zinc, iron, magnesium, etc., and may also cause kidney disease. Calcium deposits in organs and tissues such as the cardiovascular system. This increases the risk of developing harmful effects in the body, such as kidney stones.
Vitamin D and baby calcium tablets are eaten separately
Some children are calcium deficient, while others suffer from vitamin D deficiency. The presence of Vitamin D ensures that calcium is fully absorbed from the intestines and lost in the form of urine. The daily intake of vitamin D for infants and young children should reach 400 international units. So, the body needs to have sufficient vitamin D as it will ensure calcium absorption and, thus, prevent calcium deficiency.
Calcium is a very important nutrient for the development of bones and the body. Adequate intake of calcium in infancy and adolescence ensures a stronger body in adulthood. Do not give excessive amounts of calcium to your child as that can lead to many other problems. Give it in moderation and monitor the intake.