Calcium, iron, zinc, DHA and other nutrients should be supplemented in this way.

Parents all know that the healthy growth of babies cannot be separated from balanced nutrition.

At ordinary times, Ding Ma often receives the question that parents ask if so-and-so nutrients should be supplemented and whether their babies are short of a certain nutrient.

To tell the truth, with so many nutrients, it is really not convenient to collect them and check them at any time without systematically explaining them.

Ding Ma specially invited Dr. Shi from the Children’s Health Department today to systematically talk about whether parents are most concerned about several nutrients or not. How?


Many parents know that iron deficiency is easy to cause iron deficiency anemia and hematopoietic decline, but more importantly, iron is also one of the key nutrients for brain development and also plays an important role in baby’s behavior and cognitive development.

1. Does the baby need iron supplements?

Generally speaking, full-term babies reserve a large amount of iron at birth, which can usually meet their growth needs for 4-6 months.

Therefore, for full-term babies, after starting to add supplementary foods, add iron-rich foods as soon as possible.

For premature infants or babies with low birth weight, they often cannot reserve sufficient iron. In addition, they develop rapidly after birth and need to [catch up with growth]. The iron they reserve in their mother’s belly may be exhausted within 2-3 months after birth.

Therefore, for premature infants, it is necessary to consult a doctor and supplement iron in time.

In addition, because iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in children. In order to find it early and treat it in time, it is recommended to check whether the baby is iron deficient by blood routine at the age of 6 months and monitor it every six months thereafter.

2. How to supplement iron for the baby?

For breast-fed babies, although the utilization rate of iron in breast milk is high, the iron content is low, so:

Oral iron supplementation is recommended for 4 ~ 6 months. It is recommended that full-term infants who are exclusively breast-fed should start to supplement iron at 1 mg/kg per day from 4 months old until a considerable amount of high-speed iron food is introduced.

Iron is added to the general formula milk powder. For the artificially fed baby, if the baby can be fed correctly according to the instructions, the iron content of the formula milk powder can meet the needs of the baby in the first year after birth, and there is no need to worry about the baby’s iron deficiency.

For partially breastfed babies, the ratio of breast milk to formula milk is uncertain. Therefore, starting from the age of 4 months, infants who breastfeed more than half of the day and do not receive iron-containing supplements should also receive iron supplements of 1mg/kg per day.

Breastfed premature infants (gestation < 37 weeks) should be supplemented with 2mg/kg of elemental iron every day from the age of 1 month to the age of 12 months.

Babies need to start adding supplementary foods with high iron content as soon as possible when they are 6 months old. Infants aged 7-12 months need about 11 milligrams of iron per day, while infants aged 1-3 years need 7 milligrams of iron per day.

For babies under 1 year old, the iron contained in two portions of iron-containing fortified baby rice flour (about 15g each) can meet the needs of the baby for one day.

Foods rich in iron include red animal meat and animal viscera. Mothers can try to mix ground beef with boiled porridge as supplementary food.

Other foods rich in iron include poultry and fish, broccoli, soybeans, eggs, avocados, plums, etc.

Pay attention to eating iron-rich foods in daily meals, and generally do not need additional supplements.


Mothers all know that sufficient calcium can help the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. For the sake of your baby’s future height, you must not let your baby lack calcium. If your baby is slightly abnormal, you are worried that your baby is short of calcium.

1. Does the baby need calcium supplement?

Generally speaking, for babies under 1 year old, whether breast milk or formula milk, as long as the baby drinks enough milk every day and supplements vitamin D in time, there is no need to worry about calcium deficiency.

After the age of 1, pay attention to supplement calcium-rich foods in your diet at ordinary times. As long as you can ensure that you can get enough calcium from the food, you don’t need extra calcium. For babies aged 1-3, the daily calcium requirement is 600 mg, while for babies aged 4-6, 800 mg of calcium is required every day.

2. How to supplement calcium for the baby?

Generally, about 250 milligrams of elemental calcium can be provided for every 250 grams of whole milk or 170 grams of yogurt. If sufficient milk quantity can be guaranteed and matched with other calcium-rich foods, babies can obtain sufficient calcium from foods without additional calcium supplement.

Babies under 1 year old are not recommended to drink milk, but yogurt can be chosen as a supplementary food. However, when feeding yogurt to babies at this stage, care should be taken not to feed too much to babies, and the daily diet should still be based on breast milk or formula milk.

Other better calcium-containing foods include cheese, tofu, various dark green leafy vegetables, shrimps, etc.

Milk and dairy products are the best sources of calcium, rich in content and high in absorption rate, making children like dairy products and contributing to bone health throughout their lives.

For babies who are overweight, obese or have a family history of early onset cardiovascular diseases, it is recommended to drink low-fat milk that reduces 2% fat at the age of 12-24 months.


There were a lot of advertisements for zinc supplement, which made parents realize the importance of zinc to the development of their babies, but also made parents suffer from [zinc deficiency anxiety disorder], always feeling that their children lack zinc and need to supplement some zinc.

1. Does the baby need zinc supplement?

Breastfed babies have a lower probability of zinc deficiency within 6 months. However, as the zinc content in breast milk will decrease with the passage of time, the zinc content in breast milk has been relatively small within 6 months after delivery. Therefore, when the baby starts to add supplementary foods, attention should be paid to increasing supplementary foods rich in zinc to help the baby obtain enough zinc.

Artificially fed babies, because zinc has been added to the formula milk powder, can meet the needs of babies under 1 year old, so no additional zinc is needed within 1 year old. After 1 year old, the demand for zinc can also be met through a balanced diet.

For infants aged 7-12 months and children aged 1-3 years, the recommended amount of zinc is 3 milligrams per day.

2. How to supplement zinc for the baby?

In daily diet, shellfish, red meat and animal viscera have high zinc content and high absorption and utilization rate. Zinc can be supplemented by more intake of such foods.

Other foods with high zinc content include fish, eggs, mushrooms, whole milk, cheese, etc.

Moreover, zinc-rich foods are usually not low in iron content. Giving your baby enough lean meat, poultry and fish can meet your baby’s demand for iron and zinc at the same time.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D can increase calcium absorption and help bone growth, but because the content of vitamin D in food (including breast milk) is generally relatively small, it is easy to be deficient, and if deficient, it may cause rickets and other diseases.

1. Does the baby need vitamin D supplements?

Both China and the United States recommend infants to take 400 IU vitamin D every day.

Although the synthesis of vitamin D can be stimulated by sun exposure, many factors will affect the synthesis of vitamin D, and the relationship between sunshine and vitamin D is difficult to quantify. Moreover, due to air pollution, sunburn and other problems, sun exposure is not recommended to prevent vitamin D deficiency at present.

At the same time, because it is difficult to obtain enough vitamin D from food, the American Academy of Pedaitrics (AAP) recommends that infants should be supplemented with vitamin D no matter what feeding method. It is recommended to supplement vitamin D to adults.

2. How to supplement vitamin D for your baby?

For exclusively breast-fed babies, it is recommended to start supplementing vitamin D from a few days after birth, while for babies drinking formula milk, because a certain amount of vitamin D is added to the formula milk powder, it is enough to supplement the difference to 400 IU per day.

Premature infants are quite special and need to consult a doctor for the exact supplement dose and time, usually 800 IU per day for 3 months after birth.

There are many products rich in vitamin D on the market, including vitamin D drops, vitamin AD drops, and cod liver oil. These can supplement vitamin D for babies.

The main difference is that vitamin D drops only contain vitamin D as a nutrient, vitamin AD drops contain vitamin A and vitamin D. Cod liver oil is extracted from fish liver and is rich in vitamin A and vitamin D, as well as other components.

Other vitamins

In addition to vitamin D, other kinds of vitamins are also very important to the growth and development of babies, but usually, sufficient vitamins can be obtained from food.

Vitamin A: Breast milk, formula milk powder and milk are rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A-rich foods also include fruits and vegetables rich in carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Vitamin E: Foods rich in vitamin E include vegetable oil, coarse grains and grains.

Vitamin K: Milk, green leafy vegetables, fruits and soybean oil are all rich in vitamin K.

Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupes, etc.

B vitamins: B vitamins come from a wide range of foods. For example, green vegetables, nuts and bananas are rich in folic acid. Other sources of B vitamins include brown rice, oats, beans, eggs, meat, poultry and fish.

Generally speaking, as long as the diet is balanced, the above vitamins can be obtained through food, and the vitamins in vegetables and fruits are generally rich. In the process of feeding, parents should never give up the chance to let their babies try fruits and vegetables.

Most babies will spit out the food in their mouth when they start to try a new kind of food. It often takes 8-10 attempts before they slowly begin to like it.

When the baby needs to add supplementary foods at the beginning, mothers need to be very patient. The addition of supplementary foods should follow the rule of from less to more and from single to mixed.

Moreover, we should change the cooking methods more to make the baby interested in food. For example, we should try to stimulate the baby’s interest with food of different colors, shapes and tastes.

Mothers must not be discouraged by one or two failed attempts or scold their children. Such practices often backfire and make babies resist certain foods.

If we can try our best to create a relaxed and pleasant dining environment, it will be of great help for our babies to accept fresh food and eat happily.


It is almost every parent’s wish to make the baby smarter. As DHA is closely related to the development of the baby’s brain and vision, it has attracted more attention from parents.

1. Does the baby need DHA supplement?

For breast-fed babies, DHA can be obtained through breast milk without additional supplements. Mothers can ensure the baby’s needs by taking 200 mg of DHA every day.

If you don’t eat breast milk or your breast milk is insufficient, you can feed your baby formula milk powder containing DHA and choose formula milk with DHA content accounting for 0.2% ~ 0.5% of the total fat content.

For premature infants, special attention should be paid to the baby’s demand for DHA, and it is recommended to consult a doctor to determine whether their baby needs to be supplemented with supplements.

2. How to supplement DHA to the baby?

For babies who eat breast milk and formula milk, there is generally no need to supplement DHA. When babies grow up and eat the same diet as adults, it is recommended to obtain DHA through food.

DHA-rich foods include salmon, sardines, shrimp, sea crabs, kelp, laver and egg yolk.

If there is no way to obtain enough DHA from food, it can also be supplemented with DHA supplements.