Your baby’s tiny hands and feet are an absolute delight, especially when they grab your little finger tight! As a parent, have you noticed how flexible your lil one is? They could go into the most gymnastic poses effortlessly. The key to their flexibility as babies lies in their bones! Babies have 300 bones to begin with, imagine like moving parts of a machine. But as they grow, these bones ‘fuse’ or stick together.
The process of growth involves this fusion and also lengthening. So when you see you baby getting taller, you know the bones are working hard to become stronger! This process continues until your baby reaches 25 years of age!1 That may seem like plenty of time but the foundations of strong bones and even teeth lies in infancy and childhood.
Bones and teeth need the same building blocks!
Your toothless charmer’s smile might be adorable now but wait till those pearly whites to pop-out! Both bones and teeth require the same building material namely Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. While as parents we could provide the best of the best foods to the children, the key to healthy bones and teeth lies in how well their body is able to use it.2
For babies, breast milk is a great source of these nutrients. The best part is that almost 100% of these bone & teeth building nutrition from breast milk is utilized or absorbed. This is why most doctors suggest exclusive breastfeeding for your baby.3
How does fibre help with strong bones and teeth?
We all know milk being a good source of calcium, but fibre? How can that help? The answer to this question lies in improving the absorption or utilization of nutrients. But not just any fibre, we are talking about FOS or fructooligosaccharides (fruc-toh-oli-go-sack-a-rides). FOS is present naturally in foods such as tomatoes, , bananas, and apples.4
FOS, being a good fibre, doesn’t get digested and reaches your baby’s tummy as it is. In the gut, good bacteria start fermenting them. Just think about what happens when you keep batters or even curd for setting? The bacteria makes them slightly sour or acidic.
The same concept happens in your baby’s tummy. Fermentation of FOS in your baby’s gut makes the utilization or absorption of calcium and other nutrients much easier. Higher calcium means stronger bones and teeth for your baby.3, 5
There’s more health benefits of FOS
A good fibre like FOS helps in increasing the numbers of good bacteria in your baby’s tummy thus preventing sickness.. Your baby will fall sick less often and hence grow well. You can read how good FOS is for your baby in this this blog!6
Always remember exercise is also equally important for your baby’s bone development! Don’t skip them!
Here’s wishing that your baby grows to be stronger and happier.!
- KidsHealth. Your Bones. Available from: https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/bones.html#:~:text=A%20baby’s%20body%20has%20about,are%20partly%20made%20of%20cartilage. Accessed on: 01 January 2023
- Price CT, Langford JR, Liporace FA. Essential Nutrients for Bone Health and a Review of their Availability in the Average North American Diet. Open Orthop J. 2012;6:143-9.
- Hicks PD, Hawthorne KM, Berseth CL, Marunycz JD, Heubi JE, Abrams SA. Total calcium absorption is similar from infant formulas with and without prebiotics and exceeds that in human milk-fed infants. BMC Pediatr. 2012 Aug 7;12:118. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-12-118. PMID: 22871243; PMCID: PMC3439330.
- Sabater-Molina M, Larqué E, Torrella F, Zamora S. Dietary fructooligosaccharides and potential benefits on health. J Physiol Biochem. 2009;65(3):315-28.
- van den Heuvel EG, Muijs T, Brouns F, Hendriks HF. Short-chain fructo-oligosaccharides improve magnesium absorption in adolescent girls with a low calcium intake. Nutr Res. 2009 Apr;29(4):229-37. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2009.03.005. PMID: 19410973.
- Oku T and Nakamura S. Fructooligosaccharide: Metabolism through Gut Microbiota and Prebiotic Effect. Food Nutr J. 2017;2:128.