Kids and Vitamins: A Baby's First Year
One of the most common questions parents ask me is “Should my child be taking a vitamin?” I know there is so much information out there — it’s hard to find a clear, reliable source that has the information you need. Here’s what to know:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy children who eat a well-balanced diet don’t need extra vitamin supplementation. But not every infant or toddler falls into that category. The following are some things to consider.
Who May Need Vitamins
- Selective eaters (selective for weeks at a time, not just a day or two)
- Infants receiving exclusive breast milk
- Children with chronic medical conditions
- Premature infants
- Kids on long-term medications (i.e. anti-seizure medications)
- Kids on restricted diets (i.e. food allergies, vegan, etc.)
THE VITAMIN LIST
This is a list broken down by AGE and SPECIFIC NEED, as well as links to different products. Always work with your pediatrician and care team to see what makes the most sense for YOUR child.
Vitamin D Drops
Per AAP recommendations, infants + children need at least 400 IU of Vitamin D each day for optimal growth. Babies can get this in a few different ways:
- Exclusive breastmilk > daily Vitamin D drops
- Exclusively formula feeding > daily Vitamin D drops unless baby drinks more than 32 oz/day
- Mixed feeding > daily vitamin D drops if baby drinks less than 32 oz/day
One study also showed that breastfeeding mothers who took 4000-6400 IU of Vitamin D daily passed along sufficient Vitamin D to their babies (in 34 oz/breastmilk). Talk with your care team to see what this might mean for you.
There is some limited data on how probiotics (specifically L. reuteri) can help with infant colic.
Vitamin D + Probiotic Combination
4 Months Old
Healthy, term babies get enough iron from moms (in the last trimester of pregnancy) to last their first 4 months of life. After that time, babies can take:
- Exclusive breastmilk > liquid iron supplement until they get enough iron through solid foods
- Exclusively formula feeding > make sure that your formula is iron-fortified, to give baby between 4-12 mg of iron
- Mixed feeding > if more than half of baby’s feeds are from breastmilk — liquid iron supplement. If less than half of baby’s feeds are from breastmilk (with an iron-fortified formula) — don’t need to supplement.
Talk with your pediatrician about the right dose for *your* baby. (it depends on weight!) and how long you should continue iron supplements.
Wellements Organic Iron Drops
- Try to avoid giving iron supplements with milk – this can inhibit absorption of iron.
- Try to give iron with vitamin C foods if possible – this can help improve absorption of iron.
- See my Instagram posts for foods that are rich in both Iron and Vitamin C.
9 months old – 1 year old
At some point between 9 months to 1 year old, the AAP recommends screening children for iron-deficiency anemia by checking blood iron levels. Based on that number and your baby’s feeding patterns, your pediatrician may recommend a multivitamin with iron to support their growing needs.
NovaFerrum Multivitamin with Iron
Poly-vi-sol Multivitamin with Iron
Depending on your baby (how early they were born, if they have other medical conditions or special needs), your care team may recommend specific supplements like Vitamin D drops, iron supplements and/or a multivitamin with iron. You can check with them for your baby’s specific needs and then search the individual items listed above.
Children with Chronic Medical Conditions
Depending on your baby’s individual medical needs, your care team may recommend specific supplements like a multivitamin with iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin D, etc. You can check with them for your baby’s specific needs and then search the individual items listed above.
The data and benefits on supplements is not clear-cut, and these are simply suggestions for you to consider with your care team. I hope that this helps — you’re doing so great!