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Whether to Give Your Baby Vitamins
Parents know that a baby’s growing years have their challenges. Everyone wants the child to grow up healthy, strong and fit. And when it comes to your baby’s nutritional and vitamin intake, you’re likely to hear different opinions from everyone you meet. Whether it’s your neighborhood new mom buddies, relatives, a lactation expert, or even an online health news channel, versions of babies and vitamins are different. When trying to figure out what vitamins to add to your baby’s diet, these views can be hard to decipher. However, a good place to start is to ask one key question: “Does your baby need any vitamins or supplements?” And it largely depends on whether you are breastfeeding.
The truth about breastfeeding
Mothers, when they breastfeed their babies, assume that it is the right food for their babies and is full of all the vitamins they need. Although it is true that breast milk contains the necessary vitamin component, it does not contain two essential nutrients in sufficient proportions – iron and vitamin D. The latter is essential for a child to have stronger bones. And iron is crucial for the development of healthy brain and blood cells. Babies also need this mineral to avoid iron deficiency and anemia.
Babies who eat a variety of foods as they grow do not need vitamins other than breast milk. However, there may be exceptions to this rule. For example, if a baby is premature, small for gestational age, has a low birth weight, and consumes less breast milk than other babies, it would need vitamins and supplements. Also, if your baby has chronic health problems that result in poor eating habits, then a proper vitamin intake chart should be prepared for your little one.
In fact, when your baby needs a vitamin list, moms need to consider their health too! For example, women who have medical conditions such as gastric bypass surgery, or who have taken regular medications, absorb fewer nutrients from their food. As a result, the nutritional quality of breast milk will also be low. Also, if you follow a vegan diet, notify your healthcare provider. Iron, calcium, vitamin B12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids are just a few of the nutrients that vegan moms and their babies have to work with. Alternatively, a mineral supplement containing a multivitamin may be a solution.
Vitamin B12 and fluoride
Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper development of the nervous system and reduces the incidence of anemia. Moms can find this vitamin in milk, dairy products, eggs, poultry, meat and fish. If you are not eating adequate animal protein and are breastfeeding, it is essential that your health care provider recommends a continuous and adequate source of vitamin B12. This is how you can ensure that your baby also receives this supplement through you.
Recently, there is very little medical evidence to support whether infant fluoride supplements improve the health of a baby’s teeth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving your baby a fluoride supplement of any kind after 6 months. Also, it should only be given to children whose water source contains weak fluoride.
Most babies get their minerals and vitamins from breast milk, as well as other nutritional supplements, with the exception of vitamin D. If the baby is not exposed to sunlight every day, the absorption of vitamin D is low. Also, iron supplements are essential for premature babies. And vitamin B12 is essential for babies born to vegan mothers or those who have undergone bariatric surgery. With this available knowledge, you and your healthcare provider can take care of the rest.
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