Everyone and their mom is going to have an opinion on if you should give your baby vitamins or not. Depending on the latest new flashes, trends and traditions – you are likely to hear a lot of different voices. Chances are that they all have your best interest at heart, but when you boil it all down, it is no one but you and your partners decision to make, based on what you feel is right for your particular family.
There are a couple of variable that should be considered when having the conversation – including if you decide to breastfeed, use formula and other health related factors. This article is going to go over these variables at greater length to assist in the formation of an informed decision.
If You’re Breastfeeding
It’s very likely that you thought that breast milk is the perfect food for your baby that comes with all the vitamins your newborn needs. However, it’s important to know that it doesn’t contain iron or vitamin D. Iron is essential for healthy blood cells and brain development, while vitamin D is the main ingredient for creating strong bones and other important pieces of the body.
Since breast milk is lacking in these two essential nutrients, the CDC recommends 400 IU of vitamin D a day for infants and children, beginning the first few days of their life. Breast milk is still considered the “best” approach for newborns, however, it is recommended that you supply these additional vitamins in addition to your regular feeding schedule.
If You’re Formula Feeding
While formula feeding still isn’t the “preferred” method of nursing, when considering the vitamin intake, it’s a much more “all inclusive” process – you won’t need to talk to your pediatrician about which baby vitamin is most essential to your child’s development. Formula is already fortified with iron, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients that are standardized and regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). As long as your infant is getting the recommended 32 ounces of formula a day, they are going to be getting all the nutrients needed at their age.
However, once your child starts eating solids, you will need to start making nutritionally balanced meals. Since they will get less of their required nutrition from formula and more from food, you’ll need to have a conversation about iron and vitamin D supplements with your pediatrician – and possibly other vitamins.
Other Factors to Consider
Whether you are breast or formula feeding, there are other important variables to consider when it comes to vitamin intake and your child. Talk with your pediatrician to see if any of these conditions apply to you or your child:
- If you’re breastfeeding and vegan, you might not be getting enough iron, zinc, calcium or B12 to supply your child through natural feeding.
- Your baby has health issues or was born premature.
- If you think your diet is lacking in the essential vitamins required for healthy feeding.
Vitamins and other nutrients are an important part of your baby’s development, but ultimately, the choice of how you supply these vitamins is up to you and your partner.