I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories about childhood malnutrition hitting the news lately. While it’s tempting to hope that some media sensationalising has gone on about the long term impact of poor child nutrition, some concern should also be exercised. Without the right fuel, the car won’t run. Without the right food, neither will the human body.
In the U.K. at least, it’s fairly common practice to fortify staple food with the B vitamins, calcium and iron. For children on restricted diets, by choice, circumstance or medical need, these fortified foods can be their only source of these essential nutrients.
But what about the children who can’t eat these and many other foods? Infants, toddlers and even some school age children with allergies and other health conditions, who have to subsist on a very limited diet. Sometimes featuring 0-4 foods and are reliant on large quantities of elemental feed. Are these children also at risk of malnutrition?
One mother spoke recently to me about the quantity of liquid her child was able to consume before the inevitable overflow vomit. Sadly, this volume of elemental feed supplemented by 2 safe foods, could not possibly have been meeting the child’s daily needs.
So what is the way forward? In her case, additional blood work and tests needed to be done to check her child’s nutritional status.
In our case, a child with a limited diet who isn’t completely reliant on elemental formula for example, the situation is a little different. With the help of our dietician, we’ve been continuously putting our thinking caps on and calculating my sons weekly nutritional needs. For every deficiency, we’ve fought to find ways to enrich his food. As a family, we’ve had to push to be heard and assisted in this area.
So if you’re concerned that your child isn’t getting all their vitamins and minerals, it’s certainly worth visiting your dietician or paediatrician with a comprehensive food diary. They will be able to ensure you have all the tools you might need to meet your child’s daily needs.
And as always, trust your parental instincts. You may need the help of a health professional to decipher what they’re trying to alert you to, but those instincts are very rarely wrong!
Xx Allergy Mama