Monday, February 1, 2010

Does your baby need a vitamin?

Does Your Baby Need a Vitamin? This is a common question among new moms.

The short answer: it depends...

On whether he is breastfed or bottle fed,

If bottle fed, your baby doesn't need an extra vitamins.

If you're breastfeeding, there are a few extra vitamins your baby might need. Does that mean that your breastmilk is insufficient? Not at all. But because your milk changes according to your baby's needs and your diet, there are a few things your baby might need a little extra of.

Vitamin D: the AAP recommends a vitamin D supplement of 200 IU if he is exclusively breastfeeding or drinking less than 17 oz of formula. Why? Research is showing that many of us are vitamin D insufficient--either we don't spend enough time in the sun for our skin to make vitamin D, or when we do, we wear clothes or sunscreen. Many pregnant women are D deficient which means their babies are born in a deficient state too, which can affect bone growth. Vitamin D is available on it's own (D-Visol) or in a mix as multi-vitamin drop.

Vitamin B-12. Your baby only needs this if you are vegan and your diet doesn't contain a reliable source of B12 (from a supplement or fortified foods), you should give your baby a supplement. If you're not sure, it's best to go ahead and give your baby the B12.

If you're breastfeeding, I recommend you continue taking a multivitamin--many women continue with their prenatals. It's especially important to have a source of DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid important for brain and eye development) either from cold water fish (salmon twice a week) or a supplement.

For more on this subject, see my article in

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