When Should I Start Giving My Baby Vitamins? (Tips For Breastfeeding Or Bottlefeeding Babies & More On Vitamin D Deficiency)

After birth, healthy and full-term babies get everything they need in their diet through breastmilk. According to experts, breastmilk is full of nutrition for babies till 6 months. However, the only significant vitamin missing is Vitamin D. Formula milk is a good alternative to breast milk. It can be pretty confusing whether you should give your baby vitamin supplements and their appropriate dosage, so it is best to consult your baby’s pediatrician before starting vitamin supplements.

Parents are usually worried if their newborn is getting proper nutrition and not facing any deficiency.

We all know that a healthy diet helps to develop a strong immune system and encourages proper growth.

But is it okay to give supplements if the need for certain nutrition is not being fulfilled?

Should I give vitamin supplements to my baby?

Babies are either breastfed or given formula milk, but at times, their body needs are not fulfilled. Either because babies are born with a particular deficiency or the mother’s diet lacks essential nutrients.

It’s necessary to give appropriate supplements for healthy bones, teeth, and overall growth in such a case.

📌 Babies who are born early, before 37 weeks, or babies who weigh less than 3.3 pounds, need to take additional vitamins for their healthy growth. Similarly, it is necessary to give Vitamin D supplements from birth to breastfed babies and babies who intake less than 32 ounces of formula milk. After 4 to 6 months, please start giving iron supplements to your child (check with your pediatrician first).

Start giving solid food to your child after 6 months.

Once your baby starts eating solid food, provide them with various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods.

However, if your child is a picky eater, you have no option but to give them multivitamin supplements.

Should I give supplements if I am breastfeeding my Baby?

A mom is breastfeeding her infant son

Babies have a high demand for Vitamin D and iron. However, breast milk contains essential nutrients and antibodies for the baby’s healthy growth.

The only thing that is missing in breast milk is vitamin D.

Similarly, the iron in breast milk is not sufficient enough to fulfill the baby’s requirements. Hence, doctors usually prescribe vitamin D and iron supplements according to their age and requirement level.

The drops can be given directly through a dropper or mixed with the expressed breastmilk in a bottle.

Experts advise continuing iron supplements even after introducing solid food rich in iron because the need for iron in a baby is very high.

It’s essential to provide the right amount of vitamin D to the baby as Vitamin D helps absorb calcium into bones, making the bones strong.

In addition, the deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to rickets.

Do I need to give vitamins if I’m giving formula milk?

Suppose your baby is exclusively on formula milk or the combination but takes more than 32 ounces of formula milk.

In that case, you have nothing to worry about, as most of the formula milk on the market is fortified with Vitamin D and Iron.

As your baby starts eating solids and stops taking formula milk, it is time to start giving them supplements per their body needs.

How do I know if my baby has Vitamin D deficiency?

Take your child to a reputable pediatrician for a proper checkup after birth.

Your baby’s doctor will probably recommend that you supplement your baby with 400 IU/day of vitamin D, per the AAP 2008 recommendation.

The doctor will assess your baby’s Vitamin D level with a blood test measuring 25-hydroxy Vitamin D (25-OH-D).

Make sure to select a multivitamin designed for your child’s age group that doesn’t provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins and minerals.

What are the essential vitamins for babies?

A toddler boy is sitting on his high chair eating steamed broccoli to get his daily vitamins
  1. Vitamin A – It is essential to develop a robust immune system, improve their vision at night time, and for healthy glowing skin. You can find Vitamin A in dairy products, carrots, sweet potato, mango, and dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli.
  2. Vitamin B1 – Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is needed to help the body turn the food consumed into energy to perform daily tasks and body movements.
  3. Vitamin B12 – Vitamin B12 fights against anemia and supports neurological functions. It helps keep the nerve and blood cells healthy and makes DNA, the genetic material in every cell. Vitamin B12 can be found in animal products like eggs, milk, yogurt, meat, fish, etc. If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby, you must consume an adequate amount of food rich in Vitamin B12.
  4. Vitamin C – Vitamin C is needed to fight against germs and infections. It helps to develop strong bones and muscles. Also, it helps to heal the wound. Vitamin C also may help to absorb iron. Some best sources of Vitamin C are oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and tomato.
  5. Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps absorb calcium and phosphorus into the bones. It is essential for building strong bones and teeth. A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to rickets. It is essential to give Vitamin D supplements to breastfed babies and babies taking less than 32 ounces of formula milk. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but excess exposure to sunlight can damage your child’s skin. Therefore try giving fish, eggs, fat spreads, and cereals to your baby who has started eating solids, as these foods are full of Vitamin D.
  6. Iron – Is essential to provide the correct quantity of iron to the baby for proper growth and brain development. Iron is a vital part of the pigment in red blood cells called hemoglobin that transmits oxygen and prevents iron deficiency. Iron can be found in chicken, beef, turkey, and lamb. This form of iron can be easily absorbed. On the other hand, non-meat sources of iron, like eggs, dried fruits, and dark green leafy vegetables, can not be easily absorbed. Therefore, formula feed and fortified cereals are also the best sources of iron for infants.
  7. Omega-3 – For the development of the eyes and brain, it’s important to reach the optimal level of omega-3. Omega-3 can be found in oily fish like salmon, trout, or sardines. From 7 months onwards, you should add two 1oz portions of oily fish weekly.
  8. Fluoride – Usually, the body requires fluoride after the appearance of the first tooth. The fluoride supplements can strain your teeth; thus, fluoridated water is an ideal alternative.

Some tips when giving vitamin supplements to babies

The best way to give vitamins to babies is by mixing them into food. This ensures they absorb the nutrients properly and ensure you don’t accidentally go over the recommended dosage.

It’s important to avoid giving too many vitamins at once because this could cause problems like diarrhea or vomiting.

A jar of baby vitamin gummies are shown
  1. Keep vitamin supplements away from your child, so they do not eat them like candy or take them in excess quantity.
  2. Choose a high-quality brand of infant formula. Look for brands that contain no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
  3. If your child is taking some additional medication, then consult your pediatrician to ask about any drug interaction with vitamin supplements that you are giving to your child.
  4. You can try giving vitamins in liquid, chewable, and capsule forms to see which form your baby likes to take supplements.

FAQs

My baby is a picky eater. What should I do?

If your baby is no longer a milk-only drinker, and cannot digest solid foods, then the first thing to do is to take your baby to see their pediatrician to do some tests.

Based on the results of the tests, your baby’s pediatrician may suggest certain supplements for your baby.

Why are infants at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?

Breastfed infants are at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency as there is no vitamin D in breast milk.

Similarly, babies who intake less than 32 ounces of formula milk have a higher chance of facing Vitamin D deficiency.

How much dosage of Vitamin D is recommended?

Supplement your baby with 400 IU/day of vitamin D, per the AAP 2008 recommendation.

Make sure to select a multivitamin designed for your child’s age group that doesn’t provide more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins and minerals.

Conclusion

When introducing solid food to your baby, it is essential to consult a pediatrician. Every child is unique and requires specific nutrients.

For example, if your baby starts eating solid food, do not add any vitamins or minerals until they see their pediatrician.

Also, ensure that your baby gets enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin D, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Hello, I am Ramsha. A mother of two naughty boys. One is 2.5 years old while the other is 1.5 years old so you can understand the tips and tricks I may have learned and am still learning while upbringing them. It is a wonderful yet difficult phase of life. But every moment is worth cherishing!

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