Many parents are concerned about their baby’s bone development and growth. The process of skeletal maturation is faster in newborns compared to older children and adults. Newborns have almost fully developed skeletons by the time they reach 4-6 weeks old. By age 2, most of the bones throughout the body should be fully formed and the baby’s skeleton will begin to mature.
Babies that do not get enough physical activity, or any physical activity at all, may not be getting enough calcium in their diet. They might not be getting enough vitamin D either.
This can lead to weak bones as well as other health problems like delayed tooth development, soft bones (epiphyses), or a condition called osteochondrodysplasia (OCD). Below we will discuss how to build strong bones for your baby using only safe and natural methods.
What happens to baby’s bones during growth?
Skeletal growth starts after birth. Bones grow in length and thickness, or mineral content. Bone mineral is made up of a protein called osteoid. New osteoid is also produced as the bones grow. Healthy bones have a balance of new and old osteoid. If the balance is off, the bones can become misshapen or even broke. If a baby has less than adequate amounts of nutrients for bone growth or if the baby is not getting enough physical activity, the bones will not have enough minerals to strengthen properly.
Not only does this make the baby more prone to fractures, but also, the bones become soft and weak. When the baby reaches around 6 months old, the bones will start to increase in length. This is also the time when the bones start to produce milk.
Get your baby moving for strong bones
Babies spend less time in the womb than babies age 1-2 years. Because the bones are so new, they are more prone to fractures and breaks. Therefore, it is very important to get your baby moving immediately after birth. Breastfeeding is the best way to get your baby moving.
Many mothers worry that they will hurt the baby by putting them in a stroller or car seat, but that is not the case at all. In fact, you will feel a lot better knowing you are getting some moving in. Pushing a stroller or riding in a car does not count as physically activity.
Exercising does not mean chasing your baby around, but rather, walking or jogging with your baby in the stroller or car seat. You can also do activities like swimming, cycling, dancing, or playing catch with your baby. You can even lie on the floor with your baby and read a book! If your baby seems uncomfortable or is making odd sounds, stop and try another activity.
Eat a balanced diet with plenty of calcium
Calcium is an important mineral that is important for strong bones. It is found in many foods, like: Milk – Cow’s milk is the best source of calcium, with milk also containing other vitamins and minerals. Yogurt – Low in milk, yogurt still has calcium and other vitamins. Almonds – A great snack with calcium and protein. Broccoli – A great source of calcium.
Take a daily vitamin D supplement
Vitamin D is a hormone, like estrogen or testosterone, that helps the body use and store calcium. It is important for strong bones, muscles and teeth. Vitamin D is a natural substance found in sunlight. It is not made by your body and must be added to your diet.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb and use calcium by unlocking the calcium in the gut and making it easy for the body to absorb. Vitamin D is important for many functions within the body. These include bone health, muscle health, immunity, and mental health.
Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones and teeth, which is why it is added to many multivitamin supplements and some calcium supplements. If your baby does not get any sun on their skin, then they cannot make vitamin D. Therefore, it is important to expose your baby to sunlight on their skin (without sunscreen) 2-3 times a week. Your baby might also want to wear a hat that blocks the sun when they are not outside.
Safest way to strengthen bone development: Exercising
Physical activity is the best way to strengthen the bones and build strength. This can be done in many ways:
Walking – Try to walk around the block or around your house. You can also walk in a stroller or in a harness while your baby rides in a sling.
Swimming – Swimming is one of the best exercises for infants because they don’t have to use very much force. Riding a bike – A child who uses a bike seat is not only getting a great cardiovascular workout, but is also developing strength.
Safe way to strengthen bone development: Weight-bearing exercises
Weight-bearing exercises are the best way to strengthen the bones. These exercises gradually increase your baby’s weight bearing capacity so they are using their bones and muscles. Weight-bearing exercises are very important for baby’s bones.
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You can do these exercises at home with your baby’s favourite toy. You can also use a baby gym or a walker. You can find many baby-safe exercise equipment at baby stores. Some examples of weight-bearing exercises are:
Push-ups – Lie on the floor with your baby’s head on your chest, knees bent, and arms back at your sides. Your baby should be able to push up on the tummy. Crawling – Crawling is important for developing shoulder and hip muscles. Dancing – Dancing is a great way to help with developing co-ordination.
The most important thing to remember while building strong bones for your baby is that they need to be active. They should be getting some sort of physical activity, whether it is through crawling, walking, riding a bike, playing with toys, or playing with other children.
Bones are living tissues, so they need to be treated gently. Do not allow your child to do any sort of rough play, such as falling or hitting with a hard object. Instead, they should be getting some sort of gentle physical activity. In addition to getting your baby moving and getting some physical activity, they should also be eating a balanced diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D.
If your baby is not eating enough calcium and vitamin D, their bones may not be strong enough to withstand any physical activity. Keep in mind that even though your baby may not be fully developed yet, you can still help them build strong bones by getting them moving and eating a balanced diet.