Iodine Requirement in Babies: All you Need to Know
Babies need iodine for their healthy growth. By giving them food rich in iodine, you can safeguard your baby from health problems arising out of iodine deficiency.
Iodine is one the most important minerals necessary for a baby’s development, especially for a healthy thyroid. The thyroid gland controls the release of hormones essential for metabolism, regulating growth, body temperature, blood cell production, as well as nerve and muscle function. Iodine deficiency in babies can lead to many health hazards; hence it should be an important part of their diet.
Iodine deficient babies can have an enlarged thyroid gland or goitre which can further lead to following health risks:
- Insufficient hormone production
- Breathing and swallowing difficulties
- Hypothyroidism which is the major cause for weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, intolerance to cold and depression
- Lower intelligence levels, stunted growth and other impairments due to improper brain development
Other Facts about Iodine
- Infants up to 6 months need an iodine intake of 90 micrograms per day, and from 7 month till 12 months, they need around 110 micrograms
- Breast milk is the only and best source of iodine for babies. Breastfeeding also helps in development of their brain and nervous system.
- Iodine deficiency can be diagnosed by urine or thyroid function test.
- Iodine deficiency once detected needs to be monitored and corrected. Consult your doctor in such cases to know about ways to increase your iodine content. Breastfeeding mothers might be recommended iodine supplements to ensure that the baby is getting enough iodine.
- Iodised salt needs to be preserved in glass or plastic airtight containers to preserve the iodine content as excessive exposure to sunlight and moisture can destroy the same. It is advisable to consume iodised salt within 12 months of packaging.
Sources of Iodine
Iodine does not get stored in the body, so babies need some iodine on a daily basis from external sources. While mother’s milk is the best source of iodine for babies, you can include other foods that are rich in iodine in your baby’s diet as he grows.
Eggs, Meat and Dairy products
All these products contain iodine and should constitute the diet of your child. Soya milk is also a good option.
Organic, salt-free bread or bread mixes have good iodine content in them. So start using these kinds of breads for your baby during breakfast or snack times.
Seafood is rich in iodine contents, such as tuna or salmon fish. However, many people especially kids get allergy from seafood, hence it should be properly chosen.
Cereals, pulses or fresh foods that grow in soil are the best sources of iodine, which can be introduced to babies gradually.
This is the easiest source of iodine that can be included in day to day food. Use iodised salt for making any food for your child as well as your family. Sometimes we cut down on the intake of salt due to blood pressure issues, but the right amount of iodised salt is good for health.
Certain iodine supplements are also available in the market which can be given to your babies after consulting with your pediatrician.
The body requirement of iodine changes with age, and also it is different for pregnant women. As per your baby’s age, right proportions of iodine need to be included in his/her diet. Excess of iodine intake is equally harmful for babies. Most of the iodine we consume is passed out of your body with urine.
Regular intake of iodine in any form is important for your baby’s thyroid gland, and his/her overall development.