Many parents wonder if their baby needs any extra vitamins or iron supplements during their first year of life. While standard milk and soy based formulas are supplemented with all the vitamins and minerals a full-term baby needs in order to grow and develop, breast milk is actually lacking in vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone growth and mineralization and it is recommended that all nursing babies receive a vitamin D supplement. The most common supplements that contain vitamin D are over-the-counter liquid multivitamins: Tri-vi-sol or Poly-vi-sol. To meet your infant’s daily vitamin D requirement, he or she would need a dropperful each day. This is the same amount of vitamin D that is contained in approximately thirty ounces of formula.
Iron is needed to make red blood cells and prevent anemia. Babies are born with adequate iron stores, but during the first several months of life these stores are naturally depleted. For this reason, babies who are formula fed should be given standard iron fortified formulas; iron fortified formulas do notcause constipation. The iron contained in breast milk is very well absorbed by babies; however by 4 to 6 months of age, the iron from breast milk alone is no longer enough for your infant. If your baby has not started eating solids by six months, an iron supplement (Poly-vi-sol with Iron or Tri-vi-sol with Iron) is recommended. If your baby has already started cereal, 1 ounce (30 gm) of dry cereal a day will meet their daily iron requirements.
If your baby was born prematurely, was anemic at birth, or has other special underlying circumstances, his or her nutritional needs may be different. Every infant is individually assessed in order to best meet their unique needs.