Baby vitamins

The Truth About Baby Vitamins

You’ve heard about baby vitamins, but should every child take them? Keep reading for answers.

Are baby vitamins necessary for every child?

For the average, healthy, full-term baby, multi-vitamins aren’t necessary for the first year. However, vitamin D is recommended as a supplement for breastfed babies, as well as babies who drink less than 32 ounces of formula a day.

How much vitamin D does my baby need?

Because only a small amount of vitamin D is transferred to your baby during breastfeeding, many physicians recommend giving your baby 400IU of vitamin D each day to promote healthy bone growth.

Why does my baby need a vitamin D supplement?

In most cases, adults get all the vitamin D they need from exposure to sunshine. However, in the first six months of your baby’s life, they shouldn’t be exposed to the sun at all because their skin is incredibly delicate. While sunscreen does help to protect a baby’s skin, it also prevents them from absorbing vitamin D.

What other types of vitamins might my child need?

A baby won’t need any other supplements, most likely, unless they were born premature. Even then, your doctor will consult with you directly to ensure they’re getting the nutrition they need. If your baby drinks at least 32 ounces of formula per day, they won’t need vitamin supplements because they’ll get all the nutrition and vitamins they need from the formula. The same is true for breast milk; as long as the mother is eating a healthy diet, there’s no reason to give your baby supplements beyond vitamin D.

Are supplements harmful if I do choose to give them?

Not usually, no. Babies just excrete excess vitamins their body doesn’t need through their urine. The only potentially harmful one would be vitamin A, but even then, your baby would have to have about 10 times the recommended daily amount.

Do babies need vitamins as they get older?

After about four months, it will be important for your baby to be getting enough iron, which is technically a mineral, not a vitamin. Babies need a staggering 11mg of iron per day, so your pediatrician may recommend iron drop supplements at about four months until they’re able to eat solid and semi-solid foods that are rich in iron, such as cereals, meat and green vegetables.

By working closely with your pediatrician, you can come up with a vitamin supplement plan that’s healthiest for your baby and makes sense for them. Always consult with a medical professional before deciding to give your child vitamins, minerals or supplements.

Photo: Getty

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