1. Why would I give my child vitamins?
Of course, we are aware that a child can get the nutrients they require from a healthy and well balanced diet. However, we are also aware that ensuring our children do follow a healthy and well balanced diet can be difficult. Natures Aid discovered in their research that mealtimes can be stressful in some households, with picky eaters causing problems for their parents by refusing certain foods. Natures Aid are also aware, thanks to their #nofilterfeeding campaign that mealtimes can get messy, particularly with babies and toddlers.
It is important that our children do not feel stressed around food, and to understand that they are discovering tastes and textures as they explore their environment. So those messy moments when food ends up on the floor, walls and basically everywhere other than their mouth are an important part of their development.
However, all this does mean that there will be times where you may be concerned that your children are not getting all the valuable nutrients they need. This is where vitamins can help. They provide a simple, fuss free, bridge between what they should eat and what they actually do eat and provide parents with the reassurance that the main nutritional basis are being covered.
2. At what age should children start to take vitamins?
Children need nutrients to grow and develop, vitamin D is required for the development of the immune system and healthy bones. However, breast milk is low in this nutrient, so children who are exclusively breast fed may be at risk of low vitamin D as a result. Breastfed children could therefore take a vitamin D supplement from birth. This is not required for bottle fed children, simply because formula milks are often enriched with vitamin D.
In terms of other vitamins, as we start weaning, often around 6 months, it can be hard to know whether our children are getting all the vitamins they need. For this reason, The UK Department of health suggests that children from 6 months old should take a vitamin providing vitamins A, C and D daily.
3. What is the best way to give young children vitamins?
In my opinion, it is best to use liquids, especially for young children. They are simple and easy to add to food and drink. Chewable tablets and gummies represent a choking hazard in young children, and will often contain additional ingredients such as sugars, sweeteners, and gelatine. A young child does not have the same palate as an adult and does not need their products to be particularly sweet or strongly flavoured, so the product should not need to contain anything other than the nutrients provided and possibly a natural favouring.