These are the 3 Things My Toddler Takes Everyday to Stay Healthy - fish oil, probiotics and elderberry syrup. Over the years, I have found these 3 supplements are life savers for helping my toddler have overall optional health as well as keeping them from getting the common cold and flu during the winter months.
Does your toddler eat all of their meals including a second helping of their green veggies?
Does your toddler pick at everything and anything you put in front of them?
Does your toddler eat nothing one day and then everything in sight the next day?
Or maybe your kiddo falls somewhere in between.
My toddler is notorious for skipping meals, sometimes only eating a bite of an apple for an entire day (not even sure how this is possible) and then pigging out the next day on literally everything and anything I put in front of her.
Toddlers are a tricky bunch.
I swear, if you keep feeding them healthy and colorful food, then when they enter the kid years, they will start to get somewhat more normal and eat like a regular person, including their fruits and veggies. But my advise on that is probably meant for another post.
No matter what type of toddler eater you have, I am sure they can use a little extra support to stay healthy and reach optimum health.
While I don't like to fill my toddler up on a standard multi-vitamin, this is mostly because I want to focus my efforts on getting the real vitamins and minerals from whole foods into their systems instead of the processed variety. Sometimes when my toddler is on a stubborn food strike and will only eat cheese, I briefly think about adding a multi-vitamin to her diet. But this phase usually passes fast and then she is once again eating wholesome foods, sometimes;). If you want to add in a good multi-vitamin to your toddler's diet, this is one of my favorite gummy brands.
What I do strongly recommend is 3 simple supplements (that my toddler actually likes) - fish oil, probiotics and elderberry syrup.
I find the benefits of these supplements so great that I will immediately notice a difference in my toddlers behavior when I stop serving them. Plus, these 3 supplements are hard to find in food forms (elderberry syrup) or are in foods that my kids just don't eat enough of (fish, yogurt and fermented foods).
Below you will find a very lengthy review on why I love each of these supplements and links to some of my favorite brands. I have tried numerous brands of these supplements and the ones I recommend are ones that fit into my budget and I feel work great. If you have a favorite brand, I would love to hear what it is, I am always looking for new products to try out:)
Children's DHA Omega-3 Fish Oil
DHA (or fish oil) is my number one supplement to give my toddler, so if you have to pick one supplement, go with fish oil. The reason is simple, most toddlers are not getting the required 2-3 servings of healthy fish in during the week and because DHA is so vital for their nutrition, I would rather supplement here and play it safe.
The benefits of fish oil for your toddler -
- Helps support brain and eye development, cognitive function, learning and memory
- Supports positive behavior. I swear by this for helping ease tantrums and behavior problems associated with the toddler years. Whenever my kids are acting out, I usually realize that I have stopped giving them fish oil and when I start it back up, these behavior issues usually go away within days. I literally swear by this stuff for this reason alone!
- Improves skin
- Helps build toddlers immune system
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps prevent infections
So what is fish oil? Fish oil is a form of Omega-3 fatty acids made up by DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). DHA is found in the fatty parts of fish and is easily converted in the body. If you do not want to serve your toddler fish, you can find use a flax based oil omega-3 supplement that is filled with ALA. While ALA not as efficient as fish based DHA, but it is better then nothing.
Here are the fish oils I buy and recommend -
Fish Oil for Babies
Nordic Natural Baby DHA - I used this in my babies bottles for both my breast milk and formula that wasn't fortified with DHA at least twice a week.
Flax Based Omega-3 Oil
Barlean's Organic Oils Omega Swirl Flax Oil, has several different flavors. Recommend age is 4 and up, but ask your doctor for a dosage based on your kiddos age.
As someone who is now dealing with severe leaky gut, the importance of healthy gut flora for my kids is extremely important to me.
Over 80% of your toddlers immune system and overall health resides in their gut, so the importance of healthy gut flora plays a large role in their overall health and immune functions. This is why the gut is often referred to as the 'second brain'.
The benefits of probiotics and a healthy gut in your toddler -
- Helps them be able to digest their food and retain important nutrients
- Leads to a healthy metabolism that helps the gut be able to balance your kids weight throughout their life
- Reduces the experience of gas, colic, reflux and constipation in babies and toddlers
- Supports brain growth and development
- Supports urinary tract and vaginal health
- Helps relieve some food intolerances caused by poor gut health
With the increase of processed foods, prescribed antibiotics, antibacterial hand sanitizers and pesticides, your toddlers gut flora is constantly taking hits. But don't worry, it can easily be built back up.
You can kind natural probiotics in foods such as yogurt (plain is best), kefir, fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and beet kvass, kombocha and apple cider vinegar. Besides yogurt and kefir, most toddlers are skeptical of the other foods that are loaded with probiotics. If you can get them into kambocha or other fermented foods, then great!
But, I also like to supplement with a powder probiotic as well. Since my kids love yogurt and I can add kefir to their smoothies, I don't give them probiotics on a daily basis. I do give it them either a couple times a week or for a week on and then a week off. You should see an improvement in their bowel movements once they start taking them <-------- and yes, I am totally grossed out checking my toddlers bowel movements;)
It is also super important to load them up on probiotic supplements and foods for a couple weeks straight when they have to take antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all good and bacteria in the body, so it is extremely important to load up their guts with the good bacteria before the bad bacteria takes over again.
Here are the brands of probiotics that I love -
For Baby and Toddlers (Powder form)
Garden Of Life Raw Probiotics - has a ton of probiotics and 5 strands of probiotics in each dose.
For Toddlers and Kids (Chewable form - most recommend 4 years and up, but check with your doctor first, mine approved it for my 2 year old)
Garden of Life Organic Probiotics in Chewable
Elderberry syrup is a must-have supplement to give your toddler around the cold and flu season! I will literally swear by this product and because we go through so much of it, I will even make my own syrup, which definitely puts me into the crunchy granola mom category;)
We all know that young kids are like petri dishes filled with germs, especially when they are in daycare or preschool, and a week never goes by in the fall where some sort of sickness isn't making the rounds. While Elderberry won't necessarily stop you and your toddler from getting sick (I find we get 1 in 4 of the sicknesses that pass through our schools when we take the syrup on a daily basis) but when you do get sick, this syrup will shorten your sick time by 2 or 3 days. Seriously, after a day of being sick my toddler will always feel better after taking the elderberry syrup.
While you can take Elderberry syrup just when your toddler gets sick, it's best to pre-load them up with the syrup to help build their immune systems. So starting in September, I regularly give my kiddos the syrup and then when they get sick I will give them the maximize dosage to kick whatever bug they have to the curb.
The benefits of Elderberry Syrup for your toddler -
- Boosts the immune system
- Treats upper respiratory infections
- Improves major Flu and Cold symptoms
- Eases allergies
- Encourages healthy skin
- Aids sinus infections
Here are the brands of Elderberry Syrup that I love -
Gaia Herbs Kids Black Elderberry Syrup (has 950mg of elderberry, so it is very intense. I would start with the Nature's Way brand and then move to this once your kids are used to the taste of the syrup).
Or get crazy and make your own! Here is the recipe I used.
How I serve these supplements to my toddler -
I usually measure all 3 supplements out into a little plastic cup (this one came from a used tylenol bottle). Because the probiotics I use is in powder form, I have to mix it together with the other two supplements, which can get a little messy on a spoon. The mixture will become a little gloppy, but it tastes just like a liquid gummy treat, so I haven't heard any complaints from my toddler about it. I usually serve this along with their breakfast in the morning.
Other ways to serve these supplements -
- You can mix them into a glass of juice or water
- You can add them to a smoothie to totally hide them from your toddler
- You can give your toddler the DHA and Elderberry syrup on a spoon and mix in the probiotics into their water bottle
- In gummy forms, I have listed above and below our favorite gummy brands. I tend to stay away from them because I find that they are super expiensive and don't go as far as the liquid or powder form of the supplements, but toddlers that refuse those varieties then the gummies are completely worth it.
Products I recommend -
Fish Oil (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
Disclaimer - I am not a doctor or medical professional, these are just my recommendations as a mom that hates sick kids. As with any supplements, consult your pediatrician beforehand.
Note - this post is not a sponsored post, I truly love and buy all of the products mentioned. The links, however, are affiliated links. Thank you for supporting Baby FoodE!