Does My Baby Need Vitamins?

UNITED STATES

The FACTS:
Of all the vitamins, I think the most crucial for your infant is vitamin D because breast milk provides limited amounts of vitamin D, so if you are exclusively or partially breastfeeding then it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in the United States to give your baby a daily dose of 400 International Units (IU) of a vitamin D supplement starting from soon after birth. If you are doing mixed feedings with formula, your baby will need at least 27 ounces (about 800 ml) of standard formula to get 400 IU of vitamin D. Hence, the AAP also recommends a daily 400 IU vitamin D supplement for all nonbreastfed and partially breastfed babies getting less than 1 liter of vitamin D fortified infant formula (1000ml) a day. The AAP further recommends that older children and adolescents who are not getting 400 IU vitamin D from at least 1 liter of vitamin D fortified milk a day or through other vitamin D rich sources, should also receive a 400 IU vitamin D supplement daily (one 8 ounce serving of a glass of milk provides roughly 100 IU vitamin D).

It is worth noting that in 2010, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) in the United States recommended an increase in the RDA for vitamin D to 600 IU or 15 micrograms (mcg) per day for children over one year of age. It is likely that the current AAP recommendation of 400 IUs per day will be reconsidered.

 

The EXPERIENCE:

There are MANY infant vitamin supplements on the US market (compared to the 2 or 3 main brands/products I tend to recommend in the UK!). The local pharmacies and retail shops carry products like Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol, Poly-Vi-Sol with iron, Tri-Vi-Sol (Vit A, D, C) or D-Vi-Sol (vit D). But online from websites like Amazon, there are a lot more products offered like Carlson Labs Vit D Baby Drops 400IU, Twinlab Infant Care Multivit Drops with DHA and D Drops Liquid Vit D3. Most of the vit D seems to be in D3 form.

I happened to be by a CVS, so I got the Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol product to try. It tastes horrible! I found I had to wait till my baby was taking 3-4 tbsp of baby rice/oatmeal at a sitting, before I could begin adding a few vitamin drops into the food without it affecting the taste of the food much. Either that, or I needed to put the vitamin drops into mashed avocado, or into very sweet foods like yoghurt or sweet wheat cereal which helped to dilute the sweetness. I also ended up ordering an infant vitamin D supplement (Carlson’s brand Super Daily D3 for Baby) online as it was recommended to be tasteless and only one drop a day was needed (compared to 1ml a day for the Poly-Vi-Sol). I tried this out and it’s true—it’s absolutely tasteless and only one drop is needed! I wish I had known about this sooner. So if you are exclusively or mainly breastfeeding and need to give a vitamin D supplement right away, I would recommend going for a ‘tasteless ‘or ‘taste neutral’ product, which can also be put on the nipple before letting the baby latch on, or easily put onto the spoon when feeding the baby solids. Hope this helps!

UNITED KINGDOM

The FACTS:
The UK Department of Health recommends that all babies and young children from 6 months to 5 years of age receive vitamin supplement drops containing vitamins A, C and D. In particular it is important that these supplements contain vitamin D to meet this age group’s vitamin D requirements of 280 – 340 International Units (IU) or 7-8.5 micrograms a day. Babies who are fed infant formula (which are already fortified with vitamin D) would not need vitamin drops until they are having an intake of less than 500ml of formula a day. In addition, breastfed babies may need to start vitamin D supplement drops from one month of age if their mothers did have not take any vitamin D supplements during pregnancy.

The EXPERIENCE:
In the UK, there are fewer vitamin infant drops products available on the market. Some possible options are Dalivit and Abidec brands. If you qualify, your child may be able to receive free vitamin drops through the Healthy Start program available in some areas. In terms of giving your baby vitamin drops, if he or she refuses to take the drops off a spoon or syringe, then adding the vitamin drops to the baby’s food often works well.

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