Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Babies – Sources and Benefits

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Babies

You are among the fans of omega-3 fatty acids, aren’t you? Well, these fatty acids have gained a grand reputation among the masses for their huge benefits. Now, you’re wondering, if they have so many benefits, can omega-3 fatty acids for babies be safe? And are their benefits the same as those for adults? And how can you ensure that babies get their required supply?

The most prominent sources of Omega 3 Fatty acids are fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and so forth. Thus, you should include them in your little one’s diet if they’re above 6 months. Make sure you consult your pediatrician before to know if your infant is allergic to such fish or even other foods containing omega 3s. There’s a table below which has the accurate amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the most preferred foods. So, you should refer to this table and give these foods to your baby, keeping in mind their daily requirement of Omega 3 Fatty acids.

In This Article

What Are Omega 3 Fatty Acids?

Omega 3s are simply fatty acids that serve a key role in one’s health. Their richness is beneficial to brain health, fetal development, immune system and heart. Most importantly, the body relies on food to get these essential fatty acids – our bodies cannot create these fatty acids on their own. And primarily, these are categorized into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Your baby can get ALA from several plant foods, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and also from a few vegetables. However, ALA does its activity in bodies by first changing into EPA and DHA, in tiny quantities. Salmon, tuna and mackerel produce EPA and DHA naturally in their bodies and many supplements extract these acids from them. And despite having a wide range of omega-3 supplements, it all boils down to just the 3 most preferred ones – fish oil, algae oil, and krill oil.

Amazing Top 3 Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Babies

Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Babies

A growing baby needs all the best sources of nutrition that you can provide. And the unmatched benefits of omega-3s make it necessary that you give them to your little one.

1. Improves Brain Function

There is new research that suggests these acids may be a boon to a baby’s brain functions. Aspects of the brain such as memory, and learning get a bit enhanced, and it also helps a baby to stay in a good mood. A 6-month research study was done in which 183 children were given bread spread which was high in omega-3s. By the time the study came to an end, these children’s memory and verbal learning abilities heightened to a good extent.

Moreover, further studies reveal that omega-3s are good for the functions of the prefrontal cortex – the portion of the brain in charge of planning, attention, and impulse control.

2. Helps to Get a Good Sleep

Nearly 4% of children within the age group of 18 struggle to sleep well. And your infant also might be getting improper sleep.

A study conducted on 395 children discovered a link between poor omega-3 fatty acids levels in blood and poor sleep. Its results showed that taking 600 mg of DHA supplements for 16 weeks brought down the disturbances in sleep, and the participants enjoyed an extra hour of comfortable sleep.

Aside from this, having enough omega-3 fatty acids in diet during pregnancy can largely benefit an infant’s sleep patterns. But more studies are needed in this area.

3. May Bring Down the Symptoms of ADHD

Many babies are born with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) whose symptoms are impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and problems while focusing. Over 16 studies showed a pattern that omega-3 fatty acids boost memory, learning, and attention. Not only that, it eases hyperactivity and impulsiveness.

A further study shows that these fatty acids enhance attention, be it someone with or without ADHD. Moreover, researchers saw the results of 52 studies and concluded that fish supplements played a major role in decreasing ADHD symptoms in children.

Top Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids For Babies

The best sources for giving your baby omega-3 fatty acids according to the National Institute of Health are oily fish like

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Trout

Top 10 Best Omega-3 Fatty Acids Foods For Babies

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Foods For Babies

There are other sources of omega-3s also, other than oily fish.

  1. Ghee is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids for babies.
  2. Seeds such as flaxseeds and chia seeds.
  3. Nuts such as walnuts.
  4. Legumes such as kidney beans and whole black gram.
  5. Lentils, especially moong dal.
  6. Vegetables such as cauliflower and pumpkin.
  7. Mercury-free fish and other sea foods.
  8. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
  9. Oils such as olive oil, nut and seed oils.
  10. Meat (which is derived from grass-fed animals).

It’s noteworthy that these foods need to be introduced to your baby in appropriate forms and only after crossing a certain age period. And this can vary for each of the foods mentioned, so consult your pediatrician before you start feeding them to your little one.

[Read : Lentils For Babies]

How Much Omega-3 Fatty Acid Do Babies Need?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises the daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids for infants, toddlers and children in these quantities.

  • 0-12-Month-old babies can have 0.5 grams/day.
  • 1-3-year-old toddlers can have 0.7 grams/day.
  • 4-8-year-old children can have 0.9 grams/day

Effects of Omega 3 Fatty Acid Deficiency in Babies

Omega 3 Fatty Acid Deficiency in Babies

Low levels of these vital nutrients can lead to symptoms such as

  • Skin problems (eczema and dryness)
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Vision issues
  • Poor immunity
  • Behavioral problems
  • Asthma

[Read : Newborn Eczema]

How Can You Help Your Baby Get Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acid?

Give your baby a balanced diet. Non-vegetarians can include fish and some meats in their baby’s diet to ensure that the baby gets enough of this vital nutrient. If you are a vegetarian, pulses, legumes, seeds, nuts and seeds and their oils, ghee, certain green leafy vegetables and vegetables contain omega-3 fatty acids. Giving your baby a balanced diet and including more variety of food groups can help meet their requirement for these fatty acids.

Nutritional Content of Omega 3 Fatty Acid in Various Foods

Refer to the table below which has mentioned the omega-3 content in the most popular foods taken for getting these fatty acids.
Food Serving Size in Ounce(oz) and Tablespoon Amount Per Serving
Salmon(wild) 6.0 oz 1,774 mg
Mackerel 3.5 oz 4,580 mg
Oysters 3.0 oz 585 mg
Sardines 2.0 oz 556 mg
Flaxseed per tablespoon(10.3 gms) 2,350 mg
Chia Seeds per ounce (28 grams) 5,050 mg
Soybeans 3.5 oz 1,440 mg

Omega-3 fatty acids for babies can help improve and maintain your baby’s overall health, in particular, brain development and memory. Your baby’s sleep quality will improve a lot, and if they have any symptoms of ADHD and asthma, you may see a slight improvement. Other than the food sources, parents can also give omega-3 fatty acid supplements to babies older than 2 years, but only after taking advice from a pediatrician.

FAQ’s

1. At What Age Can a Child Take Omega-3?

Wait for your baby to cross at least 6 or 7 months to give them solid foods which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. And take your baby to a pediatrician – they will give you the best advice about how to introduce foods with omega-3 to your little one.

2. Can a 6 Month Old Take Fish Oil?

In the form of supplements, your baby is too young to take fish oil. However, you can provide fish oil by introducing fish into their diet. But remember to give it in moderate quantities.

3. Does Breast Milk Contain Omega-3?

Breast milk contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. It provides great benefits to the baby, and even to their mother.

Read Also: Zinc For Babies – Sources and Benefits

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Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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