Does Your Child Need Vitamins?
Most infants and children do not need vitamin supplementation as the food they eat will provide them with the necessary vitamins and minerals.
The First Year of Life
Formula will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and development. Breast milk does not provide sufficient vitamin D. Thus, it is recommended that beginning at 2 months, a vitamin supplement, such as Tri vi sol, should be given to your infant daily.
If your child is breastfeeding, an additional source of iron is required in your child's diet after 6 months of age. Therefore, iron fortified cereals should be started by 6 months and baby foods containing meats should be started by 8 months. At the 9 month checkup, we will check your child's hematocrit (a simple blood test in the office) to look for anemia (low blood count) due to iron deficiency. If your child has anemia, we will discuss iron supplementation.
We may also consider vitamins in the first year of life if your child was born prematurely (<35 weeks gestation) or has other underlying conditions. If you have any questions or other concerns, please discuss them with your practitioner.
After the First Year of Life
Most children will not need vitamins. You should provide your child with:
- An assorted diet (as offering good foods will provide the appropriate nutrients)
- 12-18 ounces per day of whole milk (between ages 1-2 years then decrease to 2% milk)
If you decide to give vitamins to your child remember:
- Buy vitamin brands that provide nutrient levels of less than 100% of the recommended daily allowances (RDA, RDI, or DV)
- Do NOT give too much of any vitamin (more is not better as this can cause illness and side effects)
- Do NOT supplement trace elements such as chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc without the recommendation of your practitioner (as again too much can be dangerous)
Ask your pediatrician or nurse practitioner about vitamins if:
- Your child is a vegetarian or a vegan
- Your child does not eat foods from the four food groups (remember fruits and vegetables are the same food group!)
- You have other concerns or questions