Aside from building up our strong bones, calcium helps our body in many other ways such as keeping our heart healthy and keeping our nerves and muscles working. Calcium for a toddler is essential because it is when he or she starts to improve bones, making them stronger. Additionally, calcium intake should be increased to prevent a disease called rickets which softens the bones. Babies and kids needed calcium and vitamin D.
Where Can I Find Calcium?
Well, the good news is that calcium can be found in the nearest supermarket. Calcium can be found in food such as dairy products that are among the best natural sources of calcium:
- Hard cheeses, like cheddar
If your child can't eat dairy, he or she can get calcium from these foods:
- Oranges, figs, and prunes
- Edamame (soybeans)
- Calcium-set tofu
- Sweet potatoes
- Broccoli, collard greens, kale, chard, Chinese cabbage, and other leafy greens
- White beans, red beans, and chickpeas
- Almonds and sesame seeds
How Much Calcium Does My Child Need?
Calcium is measured in milligrams (mg) and in different stages of life, a different amount is needed.
Babies acquire the calcium they need from breast milk or formula milk:
- Babies younger than 6 months old – 200 mg of calcium a day
- Babies 6 to 11 months old – 260 mg of calcium a day
Babies younger than 1 year old should be given only breast milk or formula, not cow's milk or any other kind of milk.
Kids and Teens
To support their growing bones, kids need more calcium as they age:
- Kids 1 to 3 years old – 700 mg of calcium a day (23 servings)
- Kids 4 to 8 years old – 1,000 mg of calcium a day (23 servings)
- Kids and teens 9 to 18 years old – 1,300 mg of calcium a day (4 servings)
What Can I Do To Help My Child Get Enough Calcium?
To ensure that your child gets enough calcium, you can try the following:
- Make smoothies with fresh fruit and low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy or almond milk
- Make parfaits with layers of plain yogurt, fruit, and whole-grain cereal
- Add fresh fruit or unsweetened apple butter to cottage cheese or yogurt
- Sprinkle low-fat cheese on top of snacks and meals
- Add a drop of strawberry or chocolate syrup to regular milk
- Add white beans to favorite soups
- Top salads or cereals with chickpeas and slivered almonds
- Serve hummus with cut-up vegetables
- Add sesame seeds to baked goods or sprinkle on vegetables
- Serve edamame as a snack
- Add tofu to a stir-fry
- Use almond butter instead of peanut butter
- Serve more dark green, leafy vegetables with meals
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
We need Vitamin D because it helps our body absorbs calcium. Calcium for a toddler may not go where it needs to go to build up strong bones without Vitamin D.
Unfortunately, Vitamin D is not available in many foods, so your doctor may recommend Vitamin D supplements and morning sunshine exposure.