Should My Baby Take Vitamins?

During those first few months of life, breast milk or formula are going to give your baby everything that he needs, in terms of nutrients, to grow and develop the way that he needs to. That being said, after those first four to six months, your baby’s diet is going to change gradually. It’s going to go from one that’s primarily liquid to one that has more and more solids. At that point, your baby’s doctor might recommend certain vitamin supplements.

Understand that most babies, who consume a variety of different types of food, won’t usually need vitamin supplements. There are some obvious exceptions, of course. Babies that are born prematurely may need extra nutrients, as will babies that were born with a low birth weight or that were small for their gestational age. If a baby drinks less formula or breast milk than other babies that are her age, she may also need some extra nutrients. The same goes for babies that have health problems that may affect her ability to eat.

Don’t give your baby vitamins without a recommendation from your doctor. That being said, if your doctor is going to recommend that your baby take vitamins, here are some of the types that she may recommend:

  • Vitamin B12. This vitamin helps to develop the nervous system and helps to prevent anemia, as well. You can find it in fish, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products. If you’re a vegan, it’s likely that your baby’s doctor will want him to consume some extra Vitamin B12.
  • Vitamin D. Breast milk transfers only a little bit of Vitamin D. Some types of formula contain extra vitamin D, and so babies fed with formula won’t likely need it. Babies that are partially formula fed may or may not need vitamin D.
  • Iron. When your baby hits about seven months of age, he is going to need more iron than before. Great food sources include meats, lentils, beans of a variety of types, and cereal that’s fortified with iron.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. DHA, in particular, in an important Omega-3 fatty acid. It helps with both ocular and brain development. Doctors aren’t likely to recommend that babies take a supplement, but breastfeeding moms sure should.