Pediatric NutritionalsIf your child isn't getting enough calories or nutrients — or suffers from "failure to thrive" — the pediatrician may recommend supplementation with pediatric nutritionals. They specially formulate these products to provide the calories and nutrients children need and may otherwise miss.
If you're shopping for pediatric nutrition supplements, pay attention to these factors to help you make your selection.
Product TypePediatric nutritional include electrolyte solutions, which can help boost hydration for short-term illnesses or to help balance electrolytes for a longer duration if needed. There also are shake-like drinks that may come ready-to-consumer or as powdered mixes.
The best pediatric nutritional product for your child may also depend on how you manage feedings. Products are available for oral consumption or to use with enteral feeding, in which formula goes through a tube that goes straight to the stomach. Your child's health care provider or a dietitian can help you understand what type of product you should shop for based on your child's situation.
Nutritional ValueSome children may need different balances of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, fiber, or other nutrients. Or they may just need a boost of certain nutrients rather than a full-meal replacement.
Children also have varying calorie needs or digestive issues. Again, your healthcare provider or dietitian is your best source for information on your child's specific needs.
Dietary RestrictionsIf your child has food allergies or sensitivities, or if certain types of ingredients are an issue for any reason, be sure to read labels and product descriptions carefully. Some children can't tolerate gluten, lactose, soy, or sugar. and these products may contain these ingredients.
PalatabilityNutrition for a child, if it's to be taken orally, needs to be something they will consume. Children are notoriously picky about taste and texture. Some children may have sensory processing issues that go beyond pickiness.
Fortunately, pediatric nutritionals are available in kid-friendly flavors, such as vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. Taste can be an issue even for tube feeding since children may notice a taste if they burp or experience reflux after a feeding.