What’s Happening – Growth and Development
The foundation for skeletal health is established early in life. Birth weight and postnatal weight are predictors of adult bone mass and skeletal size. Early nutrition and environmental influences may also program your child’s skeletal growth through interactions with their genes. Your efforts to lay a h3 foundation for your children will likely pay off in their adulthood. Prevention of osteoporosis begins by building the h3est bones possible throughout childhood and adolescence.
Growth and development of the skeleton is a 30-year adventure. Growth is not in a straight line. Your child’s rate of growth varies at different ages and is punctuated with some rapid accrual periods. The first year is one of the rapid growth periods.
Infants triple their birth weight by one year. In the first year of life, an infant’s height increases an average of 8-1/2 inches. The height gain during your baby’s first year is as great as it will be during the entire surge of puberty. Corresponding changes in bone size and geometry occur with linear growth.
Bone Health Tips for New Mothers
Now that you are used to paying attention to your bone health, keep following the same regimen recommended during pregnancy.
Breastfeeding creates a tremendous calcium demand. In contrast to pregnancy when intestinal absorption of calcium increases, your bones are the main source of calcium. Therefore, a loss of bone occurs but is transient. Bone density is usually restored within six months after weaning your baby. The good news is breastfeeding does not appear to be associated with increased risk of fractures in later life.
Calcium intake during breastfeeding follows the recommendation for your age. For women 19 and older, the daily recommended intake is 1000 milligrams. More than this is not needed. Also be sure you are taking sufficient vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for absorption of calcium from your intestines.
Bone Health Tips For Your Baby
If you are breastfeeding:
Your baby is getting calcium from your breast milk but not enough vitamin D. To ensure an adequate amount of vitamin D the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Most vitamin D drops for babies contain 400 IU/drop. A drop a day is all that is needed.
If you are using formula:
The formulas available in the US are fortified with vitamin D. No separate supplementation of vitamin D is necessary.
If you are using a combination of breastfeeding and formula:
Supplement with vitamin D 400 IU each day.
If you are supplementing vitamin D set up a system to help you remember to give your baby vitamin D each day. While you are at it, take your own vitamin D supplement, too. Surveys of new mothers found mothers are more likely to take their own supplement each day than give vitamin D to their infant.
New research suggests an even greater role of vitamin D beyond bone and muscle for healthy development and decreasing risk of illnesses and future chronic diseases.