Hey, mommy. I know you have been worried about my health ever since I was born. From then till now, when I am 2 years old your concerns have only grown regarding my growth and development. Now as I am physically more active, spending my time playing all day, your concerns have escalated even further. You have been thinking a lot about my physical and mental growth lately.
We even visited doctor uncle last week. And he recommended more healthy drinks with healthy foods like milk, pulses, dairy products, veggies and fruits for my diet.
Adding to troubles, I go all fussy about drinking milk. Here’s when nutritional health drinks like – Bournvita, Complan, and Horlicks come to rescue.

Bournvita, Complan and Horlicks – Facts About Baby Health drinks

Baby having milk

I have seen you having intense conversations with your friends about – 

  • What are the different health drinks and what do they contain?
  • Are these health drinks safe for my baby?
  • What’s the right age to start Bournvita, Complan or Horlicks?
  • What are the benefits of these health drinks?
  • Which is the best health drink among Bournvita, Complan or Horlicks

What are the different health drink options and what do they contain?

The most popular health drinks in the market that we all know are –

  1. Bournvita Lil champs
  2. Complan
  3. Junior Horlicks
  4. Pediasure (for babies under 1 year)

In between my favorite cartoon shows, I often come across ads
–  Tann ki Shakti, mann ki Shakti – Bournvita
–  ‘I am a Complan boy’ – Claims that tall boy in the ad
–  Taller, Stronger and Sharper – Junior Horlicks

All these ultimately tell one thing i.e. they enhance growth and contribute to the overall development of the body and mind. Baby’s body requires protein and calcium in high amounts. Sugars, saturated fats, and cholesterol in minimal amount. With increased sugar and chocolate, the danger of cavities and tooth decay increases.

Let’s see what nutrients these brands contain –

Bournvita Complan Junior Horlicks
DHA 40mg 20mg
Iron 46mg 13.5mg 19.3mg
Protein 9g
(1.4g whey protein)
16g 13.0g
Vitamin A 440μg 318μg 333μg
Vitamin B1 1.4mg 0.45mg 0.42mg
Calcium 80mg 800mg 833.3mg
Carbo-hydrates 81g
(71.8g Sugars)
68g 75.2g
(30.6g Sugar)
Sugar 71.8g 27g 30.6g
Trans-fatty acid 0g 0g
Saturatedfatty acid 1g 2.5g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg

As baby graduates from infant to toddler, she needs the right nutrients to grow. As per the nutritional recommendations of WHO for children, for healthy growth a baby needs a variety of proteins and micronutrients including Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Riboflavin(Vit. B2), Vit. B12 etc. Milk along with Bournvita, Complan or Horlicks can act as a great source of these while also making milk flavourful.

True, these are flavor boosters but can they have any adverse effects?

Are these health drinks safe for my baby? What do doctors say?

Doctor advice on nutritionl health drinks

Dr Gagan Malhotra, Senior Pediatrician

I recall, doctor uncle answering this question by saying –

Health supplements are advised to kids these days rampantly. More damage than benefit is done by inadvertent usage by ignorant parents.
Let’s analyse the benefits – They give us protein, which is required for growth in kids in a higher amount than adults. If more than required proteins are given, it causes obesity and related disorders like Insulin resistance syndrome.
Analyse the amount of sugar in the formula. Too high will cause obesity and other lifestyle disorders. Too much of anything is not good. Yes, these drinks are good but please take your paediatrician’s advice. If your child really needs it as too much of milk can devoid your child of iron and zinc and other food stuff.
And remember these drinks are not allowed before 2 years of age as they have potential for allergies and kidney damage. These drinks are recommended only if it seems necessary for baby’s health by your doctor. Homemade foods, and diet charts made as per calorie and protein requirements are best options for babies under one year of age.

Benefits of Nutritional Health Drinks for kids

  1. Kids take milk easily when given along with Bournvita, Complan or Horlicks chocolate as they make milk taste better.
  2. The malt in them tends to enhance the flavor and nutrients boost the calorie intake without you having to force solid foods.
  3. As rich sources of Vitamin C and calcium, these health drinks support healthy formation of your toddler’s teeth and also help in keeping diseases at bay by helping the immune system.
  4. The presence of prebiotic fiber helps to build a good digestive system and regulates bowel movements, making it easier to digest newly introduced foods.
  5. They comprise essential vitamins like Vit A, Vit. B2, B9, B12, Vit. D and minerals like Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Calcium that are required to assist kids’ growth.

What’s the right age to start Bournvita, Complan or Horlicks?

I heard a group of mothers in my creche the other day. Their topics of concern seemed similar as yours –

1. Can Bournvita be given for babies?
2. Right age for Junior Horlicks, can it be given for 9-month-old baby?
– The answer to these questions is no. The minimum age to have Complan, Horlicks or Bournvita is two years

Minimum age for Bournvita/Complan/Horlicks

  1. The minimum age to have Bournvita/Complan/Horlicks is 2 years.
  2. Before 2 years, your little one’s kidneys are not ready to take the heavy load of these foods.
  3. As babies surpass the weaning stage, their digestive system starts to accept new foods.
  4. In 2 years your breastmilk helps them grow a strong enough digestive system to take on these complex foods.
    Read here what doctors tell about giving Bournvita to 1-year-old baby. For a 1-year-old baby, you may go for drinks specifically made for them like Pediasure.

While your little one is ready to take additional supplements, if you are still confused whether to start with a homemade nuts powder or with these health drinks, this might help.

Which is the best among Bournvita, Complan, and Horlicks for children?

Talking about ‘the best’, it varies from kid to kid let alone you big adults! I and my friends have different sportspersons whom we consider the best. You know how I am crazy about Sachin uncle and my friend, Chinky always fights with me over Dhoni bhaiya being the best.

As we saw till now, all these health supplements contain more or less similar nutritional value. Bournvita is famous for its chocolaty taste, Complan and Junior Horlicks also come in additional flavors like Chocolate, Kesar Badam, Pista Badam, Strawberry, and Mango. You can choose anyone of these as the best one according to your baby’s taste preferences. But remember what our doctor said, while the health drinks are good, babies still need a variety of nutritious homemade foods. So along with these, give your baby lot of other healthy options like eggs, green vegetables, and fruits.

Write to us about your queries and views about these health drinks in the comments section below. Our experts and doctors would be more than happy to resolve your queries.

Happy Parenting! 🙂

Article originally published on Babygogo