March 2017
This Month's Newsletter

Happy Spring! We wish everyone a new sense of energy and revitalization as the new season emerges. 


In this month's newsletter, we discuss how much iron is required for your child at different stages in their life.  We also offer information on children's changing appetites and what are normal amounts to eat. In addition, with March as National Nutrition Month, we provide information on the importance of vitamin D and the recommended daily dosages. Finally, we are happy to announce our new patient portal is now available to patients! Please see the information below on how to enroll.  

Our goal is to further develop our relationship with our patients and create an open forum. We welcome your comments and ideas. If you would like to see something included in this newsletter, please email us at  with ideas only, please no medical requests.

As always, we welcome you to share your experience with our practitioners with an online review. 

The Pediatric Center Staff
How Much Iron Does Your Child Need?
Iron is an important mineral and a vital nutrient our bodies need to transport oxygen from our blood cells to tissues in our bodies. Everyone needs enough iron from food to feel good and stay healthy. 

Especially for children, sufficient iron is necessary to support rapid growth, replace iron the body naturally uses and have enough energy to learn and play. Iron deficiency is a common nutrition problem for young children, particularly toddlers and teens (especially when girls start their menstrual cycle) when their body doesn't have enough iron to function properly. 
Iron deficiency can affect growth and may lead to learning and behavioral problems. If iron deficiency isn't corrected, it can lead to  iron-deficiency anemia (a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body).  Checking for anemia should be part of your child's regular health exam. 

How much iron do kids need?
The amount of iron a child needs depends on their age. Following is a basic guide on how much iron is needed throughout childhood:
  • Infants tend to get enough iron if they are breastfed or formula fed until they are 4-6 months old. At that point, introducing iron rich cereals and pureed meats are important to keep their iron supply high. 
  • Babies 7-12 months need 11 mg of iron/day.
After 12 months of age, toddlers are at risk for iron deficiency because they no longer drink iron-fortified formula -  and, they may not be eating enough iron-containing foods to make up the difference.
  • Toddlers aged 1-3 years need 7 mg of iron/day.
  • Children 4-8 years, 10 mg/day
  • Children 9-13 years, 8 mg/day
  • Adolescent girls, 15 mg / day; Adolescent boys, 11 mg/day. Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and teen girls need additional iron to replace when menstruation begins.
  • Young athletes who engage in regular, intense exercise may need extra iron in their diet as they deplete it through exercise
  • Vegetarians may also need extra iron if they are not getting enough through food.

Good sources iron fortified foods include:
  • Lean meat
  • Iron-enriched and whole-grain breads and cereals 
  • Cooked dried beans (black, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, soy beans)
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, spinach, turnip) 
  • Chicken
  • Egg yolks
  • Dried fruit (raisins, apricots) have iron, too, but not as much
The body uses iron from meat and chicken better than iron from beans, grain products, vegetables, dried fruit, and egg yolks. Vitamin C helps the body use iron from plant-based foods more efficiently. 

Try pairing:
  • Iron-fortified breakfast cereal with berries or juice Peanut butter sandwich with a tangerine 
  • Kidney beans in chili with tomato sauce 
  • Hard-cooked egg with orange juice
  • Pasta salad with bell peppers

For extra iron sources, you can pair iron fortified foods together.


Caution: Iron poisoning can occur from iron pills or supplements and can be harmful to your child. If taking iron supplements, doses should be measured carefully. Keep pills with iron in a child-safe container where your child cannot reach. If your child accidentally swallows iron pills, call your health care provider or the poison control center right away. Your child cannot get iron poisoning from food.

Is Your Child's Appetite Normal?
According to a recent article in the USDA's Nibbles For Health newsletter, your child's appetite changes over the years.

In the preschool years, children do not grow as fast and will have a smaller appetite. If he or she is not hungry or does not finish a meal, it is ok to take the food away. If your child is full of energy, growing and seems healthy, they are probably eating enough. If your child is losing weight or has special food needs, it is a good idea to follow up with your pediatrician or health professional rather than trying to figure out the problem yourself.

Most young children do best when fed four to six mini-meals a day.

Your child naturally knows how much to eat
and typically will eat when they are hungry and stop when they feel full.

As a parent, you decide what foods to offer and plan regular times to eat. It is helpful if you provide options (ie. 2 different fruits) for snacks and let your child choose from the ones you offer.  Giving your child the independence and respect to choose is important, even if he or she is overweight.

Learning hunger cues is important. Keep eating times relaxed so your child learns body signals for being hungry and feeling full. That is how your child can learn to eat in a normal way and not overeat. That is a good habit for lifelong health. 

Overfeeding can be a different problem. Overfeeding and withholding food may result in weight gain. Your child might overeat later when there is another chance to eat or they skip breakfast, leading them to overeat at lunch. It is okay for you to leave food on the plate, too, or to start with a smaller portion. More overweight kids are developing type 2 diabetes at an early age. Helping your child learn to eat normally to keep a healthy weight as he or she grows is an important life lesson.

You can help your child eat the right amount
Following are a few tips:
  • Offer small portions. Let your child ask for more.
  • Allow enough time. This may give your child a chance to feel full.
  • Take food away when your child stops eating.
  • Avoid extremes of withholding food when your child is hungry. Offer a small snack. 
  • Your child is watching you. If you overeat, your child may, too.  Keep your own portions sensible by starting with a small portion and only eating more if you are hungry not just bored or stressed. Slow down to eat the right amounts. When you take care of yourself, you take care of your child.
Learning these tools at an early age with help create healthy approaches to food that will last a lifetime. 
The Importance of Vitamin D
Recent studies show most children are not getting enough of the essential vitamin D. 

In October 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) responded by increasing the amount of vitamin D it recommends for children and adolescents.

According the AAP clinical report, Optimizing Bone Health in Children and Adolescents, infants under 12 months require 400 International Units (IU) per day and older children and adolescents require 600 IU per day.

Why Vitamin D?
Common wisdom says that if you're child drinks milk and plays outside, he's getting enough vitamin D, right? Surprisingly, not necessarily.

We know more about vitamin D than we did even five years ago. Because of lifestyle changes and sunscreen usage, the majority of the population shows signs of vitamin D deficiency. 

Vitamin D helps ensure the body absorbs and retains calcium and phosphorus, both critical for building bone. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a bone-softening disease that continues to be reported in the United States mostly in children in the first two years of life. Vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of bone fractures in older children, teens, and adults.

The increase in the recommended amount of vitamin D children need each day is a result of new evidence showing its life-long health benefits. Supplementation is important, because most children will not get enough vitamin D through diet alone.

Vitamin D Supplements
  • Breastfed infants receive an adequate supply of vitamin D through a supplement of 400 IU per day. 
  • Formula-fed babies, the requirements are the same. Unless the child is drinking 32 ounces of infant formula per day, a vitamin D supplement is required.
  • If a child or a teenager is not consuming enough vitamin D in his or her diet, a supplement may be needed.
Any chewable multivitamin supplement for kids that contains 400 IU of vitamin D is acceptable. There are also several liquid vitamin preparations for infants that contain 400 IU vitamin D per dose.

For breast or bottle-fed babies: Liquid supplements are the best option. There are liquid preparations that give the recommended intake of 400 IU in ½ or 1 mL. There are also liquid drop solutions available that provide one drop that equals 400 IU per day.

As with all medications and supplements, vitamin D supplements should be kept out of a child's reach.

Finding Vitamin D Naturally
In addition to vitamin supplements, enriched foods are another way to increase the vitamin D in your child's diet. Look for foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, cereal, orange juice, yogurt, and margarine. Vitamin D is found naturally in only a few foods. See natural sources listed in the chart below.

Quick Tips: The ABCs of Vitamin D
How to make sure your child is getting enough vitamin D:
  • Breastfed and partially breastfed infants should be supplemented with 400 IU a day of vitamin D beginning in the first few days of life.
  • All non-breastfed infants, as well as older children, who are consuming less than 32 ounces per day of vitamin D-fortified formula or milk, should receive a vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU a day.
  • Adolescents who do not get at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day through foods should receive a supplement containing that amount.
  • Children with an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as those taking certain medications and with chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, may need higher doses of vitamin D. Consult your pediatrician.
If your child has been screened by a blood test to check for Vitamin D levels, your pediatrician may increase the daily supplementation of Vitamin D.
New Patient Portal
The Pediatric Center's new patient portal provides personal access  to your family's  medical records. You can access information such as immunization records, visit summaries, request appointments, view dates for upcoming appointments and pay your bill.

Sign up is quick from our website. Click here.
Do You Need A Pediatric Specialist?
If you are in search of a pediatric specialist, please know we are here to guide you.

We have a wide network of doctors we can refer to ensure you are in good hands.

We specialize in developmental & behavioral health and focus on positive parenting practices. We can offer guidance on depression, eating disorders, developmental concerns and many other issues.

You are not alone. 
Please call to make an appointment to meet with one of our physicians:  
The Pediatric Center Online Bill Pay
Online Bill Payment
The Pediatric Center offers the ease and convenience of online bill baby_laptopbuying.jpg payment.   

Simply visit our " Bill Payment & Insurance" page on our website. 

Payments Over The Phone
If you prefer, you can still make a payment over the phone by calling The Pediatric Center's billing department, HealthCare Billing, Inc:  
Toll Free:  877-852-9092  or
Local:  908-237-9092
On-Site Lactation Support Center

Reminder, T he Pediatric Center offers an on-site Lactation Support Center.

Our modern and private on-site lactation suite provides a warm and relaxed environment for the mother and infant to enjoy a positive breastfeeding experience. 

We also offer a free prenatal class every month, open to the public. 

To schedule your lactation consultation, attend our free prenatal class or make an appointment please call us at 908-508-0400.

Vaccine Education Center

Did you know our website includes a Vaccine Education Center where you can find the immunization schedule for your child?


Reminder - we are offering the new meningitis vaccine Trumenba in our office. Insurance companies have started to cover this vaccine. It is recommended it be administered to all students starting college as part of their pre-college physical.


View all the details here.

We Love Your Feedback!

Your feedback is very important to us! We would love to hear about your positive experience with our doctors and nurse practitioners.  


Did you know you can write and post a review right on our website? Click here.


You can use this page to provide feedback, kudos, or just share thoughts. 


Thank you for your kind words!

Free Prenatal Class
We offer a free prenatal class on the 3rd Thursday of every month with our own
Dr. McKegney!
Click here to learn more.
It's A Partnership
Resources for breastfeeding, immunization schedules, what to do if your child is sick, online references & much more! Click here.
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The Pediatric Center

556 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974


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