Tips To Raising A Healthy Baby

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy and becoming a parent. And what do all new parents want? A healthy baby…and maybe a night of undisturbed sleep. When we think about caring for a baby, we usually tend to think about their feeds and sleep schedule. Another area where you babies health can benefit from are through supplements. Read this blog by our health specialist, Dr. Jordan Robertson ND,  as she discusses nutritional supplements for your baby!


Ask any parent what they want for their infant or toddler and the answer is unanimous: parents want their children to be healthy. In addition to setting routines around nutrition and sleep, parents have an opportunity to care for their young family with the addition of nutritional supplements. Supplements in the early years should strive to prevent common nutritional deficiencies, support healthy growth and development, and prevent common symptoms or illnesses that can arise during this phase of a child’s life. Supplements including probiotics and Vitamin D can support the health of growing children and help parents accomplish their goals of raising healthy kids.

Probiotics have been studied in babies and toddlers to help improve digestive symptoms such as colic as well as reduce symptoms such as diarrhea. Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB12 is the most studied probiotic (Jungersen et al., 2014) and has been shown to be supportive in infant health by reducing crying time in colicky babies. The success of a treatment for colic is usually measured in the number of crying episodes and the length of time babies cry because of their digestion. Probiotics such as Bifiidobacteium strains have been shown to reduce crying time by over 50% in babies treated for colic (Nocerino et al., 2020). Bifidobacterium animalis has also been shown to reduce the incidence of respiratory tract infections in young babies and toddlers (Taipale et al., 2016). As children develop, the use of various probiotics for digestive symptoms is well supported by research such as the use of Bacillus coagulans for reducing symptoms of digestive pain and gas (Sudha et al., 2018).

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in human health and supports multiple body systems in the growing baby and toddler. Vitamin D supplement suggestions have come from Health Canada, Canadian Pediatric Society & Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (Government of Canada,2015). The highest vitamin D deficiency rates in children and babies are babies who are born preterm, who are exclusively breastfed and babies and toddlers who have darker skin tone (Warner et al., 2021). Supplementing vitamin D improves vitamin D levels in babies and may benefit from a breastfeeding parent  supplementing as well (Zhong et al., 2020). Although we need more long term studies on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in the early years on future bone health, supplementation with 400 IU of vitamin d per day in babies and toddlers prevents true vitamin D deficiency, which is a risk factor for rickets, a bone development condition (Tan et al., 2020; Zittermann et al., 2020).

Lastly, parents are often be laser focused on the support and health habits that they implement for their children, and can often forget to take care of themselves. New parenthood brings new challenges to sleep, nutrition, and additional stress, all of which can be supported with simple supplementation to ensure the health needs of parents are also being met. The postpartum and new parenthood phase can make it difficult to get in regular meals, highlighting the importance of a multivitamin and iron to ensure that deficiencies are not created during this period of time (Gila-Díaz et al., 2021). Parents who are nursing also have additional nutrition needs that can be satisfied in part by using a prenatal multivitamin with iron (Sedlander et al., 2021). Parents who supplement can reduce their risk of low mood postpartum and improve other symptoms such as fatigue (Guideline, 2016; Zhao & Zhang, 2020). Parents are equally as likely to have vitamin D deficiency as their babies and can benefit from being tested and treated by their practitioner.

A new and growing family has needs that include nutrition, sleep and supplementation to keep family members healthy and resilient. Parents and young children alike can benefit from simple supplementation to prevent deficiency and enhance overall health and wellbeing. Nutrients such as probiotics, vitamin D, and multivitamins including iron can keep a family as healthy as possible.

Wondering what to get? Here are some recommendations:

References:

  1. Gila-Díaz, A., Díaz-Rullo Alcántara, N., Herranz Carrillo, G., Singh, P., Arribas, S. M., & Ramiro-Cortijo, D. (2021). Multidimensional Approach to Assess Nutrition and Lifestyle in Breastfeeding Women during the First Month of Lactation. Nutrients, 13(6), 1766. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13061766
  2. Guideline: Iron Supplementation in Postpartum Women. (2016). World Health Organization. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK379990/
  3. Jungersen, M., Wind, A., Johansen, E., Christensen, J. E., Stuer-Lauridsen, B., & Eskesen, D. (2014). The Science behind the Probiotic Strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis BB-12®. Microorganisms, 2(2), 92–110. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms2020092
  4. Nocerino, R., De Filippis, F., Cecere, G., Marino, A., Micillo, M., Di Scala, C., de Caro, C., Calignano, A., Bruno, C., Paparo, L., Iannicelli, A. M., Cosenza, L., Maddalena, Y., della Gatta, G., Coppola, S., Carucci, L., Ercolini, D., & Berni Canani, R. (2020). The therapeutic efficacy of Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB‐12® in infant colic: A randomised, double blind, placebo‐controlled trial. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 51(1), 110–120. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.15561
  5. Sedlander, E., Long, M. W., Bingenheimer, J. B., & Rimal, R. N. (2021). Examining intentions to take iron supplements to inform a behavioral intervention: The Reduction in Anemia through Normative Innovations (RANI) project. PloS One, 16(5), e0249646. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0249646
  6. Sudha, M. R., Jayanthi, N., Aasin, M., Dhanashri, R. D., & Anirudh, T. (2018). Efficacy of Bacillus coagulans Unique IS2 in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome in children: A double blind, randomised placebo controlled study. Beneficial Microbes, 9(4), 563–572. https://doi.org/10.3920/BM2017.0129
  7. Taipale, T. J., Pienihäkkinen, K., Isolauri, E., Jokela, J. T., & Söderling, E. M. (2016). Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. Lactis BB-12 in reducing the risk of infections in early childhood. Pediatric Research, 79(1–1), 65–69. https://doi.org/10.1038/pr.2015.174
  8. Tan, M. L., Abrams, S. A., & Osborn, D. A. (2020). Vitamin D supplementation for term breastfed infants to prevent vitamin D deficiency and improve bone health. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12, CD013046. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD013046.pub2
  9. Canada, H. (2015, August 18). Nutrition for healthy term infants: Recommendations from birth to six months. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months - Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guide/resources/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months.html.
  10. Warner, L. A., Sewell, R. L., & Ma, N. S. (2021). Vitamin D Update in the Pediatric Population. Advances in Pediatrics, 68, 171–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yapd.2021.05.008
  11. Zhao, X.-H., & Zhang, Z.-H. (2020). Risk factors for postpartum depression: An evidence-based systematic review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 53, 102353. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102353
  12. Zhong, X., Xiong, Y., Wei, D., Wang, S., Xiao, Z., Liu, M., Tan, S. C., Low, T. Y., Khani, V., & Wang, J. (2020). The influence of maternal vitamin D supplementation on infant vitamin D status: A systematic review and meta-analyses. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 52, 102491. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102491
  13. Zittermann, A., Pilz, S., & Berthold, H. K. (2020). Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D response to vitamin D supplementation in infants: A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical intervention trials. European Journal of Nutrition, 59(1), 359–369. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-019-01912-x