How Important Is Giving Baby Vitamins?
Breast milk is an essential nutrient for the development and health of the baby. However, in some cases, babies who are fed breast milk, formula milk, and complementary food also need additional supplements or vitamins for babies to support their growth.
"Baby vitamins are needed if the baby is born prematurely, has a low birth weight, drinks less breast milk or formula milk that is not appropriate for their age or has persistent health conditions that make it difficult for the baby to eat," dietitian Bridget Swinney told babycenter.com.
In the case of babies who breastfeed exclusively, giving baby vitamins is also necessary to breastfeeding mothers who have a vegetarian diet or are in the treatment period.
For example, a nursing mother who has just undergone gastric bypass surgery is given certain medications to take every day.
This drug usually absorbs few nutrients and can reduce the nutritional content of breast milk given when the mother is breastfeeding.
Here are some types of baby vitamins that doctors usually recommend according to the needs of the baby.
Breast milk and formula milk both contain iron. However, after the baby began to be introduced to complementary food, the need for iron also soared.
From a need of 0.27 mg daily for its first six months to 11 mg per day ranging from seven to 12 months of age in the baby.
For this reason, babies are expected to get iron intake from foods, such as meat, cereals, peas, and kidney beans.
If the baby has difficulty eating, the doctor will probably recommend giving the baby vitamins to supplement this iron need. Babies born prematurely also have less iron stored in the body, so they require the baby's intake of vitamins that are rich in iron.
Breast milk is the most ideal food for babies, especially at the age of their first six months. However, breast milk does not contain enough vitamin D for the baby.
"Babies need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Too little vitamin D can cause rickets (softening and weakening of bones)," said Jay L. Hoecker, M.D., as quoted from mayoclinic.org.
In line with this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends giving baby vitamins in the form of vitamin D to babies who breastfeed exclusively as much as 400 IU of vitamin D per day, starting from the first few days of the baby's life.
Meanwhile, babies who combine or only drink formula milk with a total consumption of 32 ounces (about 946 mL) of formula milk, can be given 400 IU of vitamin D per day.
This vitamin of the baby is an essential nutrient for the development of the nervous system and prevents anemia. It can be found naturally in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and derivative products.
For breastfeeding mothers who follow a vegetarian diet, of course, the baby will lack vitamin B12 intake.
For this reason, usually breastfeeding mothers who follow a vegetarian diet will be recommended to take vitamin B12 or recommend giving baby vitamins to the Little One.
Although many baby vitamins are sold freely in pharmacies, it's a good idea for Moms to consult a doctor about the baby vitamins that will be given to the Little One.