I’m now following up with practical tips. This is the first of three posts focused on how to supplement for babies and kids.
Let’s start with infants, or babies under one year of age. You may be surprised that some young babies do need more magnesium.
When babies need more magnesium
Exclusively breastfed babies will get all the magnesium they need from your milk supply – regardless of whether you’re getting enough for your own daily needs. Apparently, even our breast milk is designed to put the family first!
Babies fed with formula will need 30 mg/day – what a breastfed baby is estimated to ingest.
From 7 – 12 months, when babies typically begin to eat solids, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 75 mg. Some babies may get enough from diet, if they frequently eat legumes, spinach, nuts, seeds and unrefined whole grains. Others may not. Don’t rely on a diet of fruit, sweet veggies and rice-based foods to supply enough magnesium. It won’t!
How to supplement babies with magnesium
To boost your baby’s intake, I recommend topical magnesium chloride. Transdermal magnesium is very safe and with babies, it’s easy – no struggling to get them to drink or chew a supplement.
The main consideration is finding a mild solution – dilute enough that it won’t tingle or dry your baby’s skin.
Our Magnesium Spray is a good choice. It is diluted to half-strength with distilled water, and it mists on in a very fine layer, for a dose you can easily control. 10 sprays is equivalent to 60 mg of magnesium.
Magnesium Gel is also 50% strength, but it goes on in a thicker layer, so use it conservatively. Just 1 tsp delivers about 300 mg of magnesium. Now, in some opinions, your skin regulates the intake of magnesium, but to be on the safe side, use only a pea-sized drop of gel on babies.
We also offer full-strength Magnesium Liquid. Because it’s concentrated, you must dilute!
Baby Magnesium Massage
Try mixing the full-strength liquid with a natural oil for direct application to the skin. Start with 1 teaspoon (tsp) of liquid magnesium diluted with 10 tsp of oil. Keep the solution in a glass jar and shake before use. You’ll want to make that amount last for about 10 baby massages.
Here’s the math: 1 tsp of liquid magnesium is equivalent to 600 mg of magnesium taken orally. Diluted to 10% strength, your baby will absorb about 60 mg of magnesium with each massage.
If you’re less into measurement simply dilute the liquid magnesium in oil and test the mixture on a sensitive area of your own skin – try your face or inner wrist. If there’s any tingle, add more oil. Test a bit on the baby’s skin too before you slather her whole body.
Babies love massage, so this is great for bonding.
Baby Magnesium Bath
You can also add liquid magnesium to a baby bath. Keep in mind that 1 tsp has 600 mg of magnesium, but this amount will be substantially diluted, depending on how much water you use.
We don’t know the rate at which magnesium in a bath is absorbed into the skin. You can think of it like seawater though, which is the source of our magnesium chloride. If the bathwater doesn’t taste or smell like brine, it’s probably quite dilute. Still, start with a small amount.
Magnesium safety and babies
Transdermal magnesium is safe for babies, as it is for adults. Any excess magnesium – above what your baby requires – is excreted through urine.
However, if your baby has any issues with kidney health, is diagnosed with any health condition or on medication, speak to your health professional before using magnesium.
Stay tuned for the next post if you have children aged 1 – 13. I’ll talk about some toddler and kid-friendly strategies for increasing magnesium.
In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions or success stories of your own. We love to hear from you.
Is magnesium safe for babies?
Yes. Magnesium is safe for babies if used topically or ingested through dietary means.
Care must be taken with full-strength magnesium chloride, as it can cause skin irritation leading to redness and itching.
75 mg/day of magnesium is typically recommended by doctors for infants who are breastfed or formula-fed, but this may vary depending on the individual baby’s needs.
How much magnesium should a baby take?
The Magnesium Supplementation in Pregnancy, Labor and the Newborn Study provides that 30 mg/kg/day of elemental magnesium is a safe dose for adults that can be extrapolated to infants.
Liquid forms of magnesium chloride are considered most appropriate as they provide the highest bioavailability. Transdermal application of magnesium oil or lotion should also be considered as it offers an easy way to ensure the baby gets enough.
What causes magnesium deficiency in babies?
Babies are typically born with magnesium stores that are dependent on the mother’s magnesium levels. Some of these stores are used during pregnancy, labour and at birth, which means babies may have low magnesium stores if their mothers weren’t getting enough magnesium prior to becoming pregnant.
Magnesium deficiency in babies has been associated with breathing issues, seizures, immune system defects and kidney problems. There is also some evidence that suggests an association between preterm births and magnesium deficiency.
Can magnesium cause birth defects?
There is no evidence that magnesium supplementation will cause a birth defect.