After bringing a baby into the world, parents do everything they can to ensure their adorable, little bundle gets everything they need. It applies to clothing, bath items, first aid tools, diapers, bedding and, probably the most important, food and supplements. Milk that your little one consumes directly affects his or her health, development and well-being. Only by getting enough nutrients each day can your baby thrive and get stronger. So, parents usually pay special attention to this and choose the best food. But the question is ‘Does breast milk or baby formula provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals?’ Let’s talk about that.
Does a baby need any supplements before he turns 6 months old?
Normally, breast milk or baby formula satisfies all the baby’s needs for the first 6 months. The exception is vitamin D and K that are strongly recommended by experts to give to your baby. You can start giving them to the baby right after birth, and your little one will get all the nutrients necessary to help with their development.
But after introducing solid foods, at approximately 6 months old, you need to create a diet for your child and make sure it’s balanced, so they are getting the right amount of vitamins that he or she gets. In some cases, babies should take additional supplements to their regular meals. Let’s consider some specific situations.
Breast milk is definitely the perfect food for your baby and you don’t need to worry about its quality or richness. But there are two crucial vitamins that breast milk often lacks: vitamin D and iron.
Vitamin D is quite important for building strong bones. Doctors recommend all breastfed babies get 400 IU of vitamin D a day. Babies used to get this through sunlight, but there are also risks with putting them in direct sunlight so you can also choose a liquid supplement.
Iron is essential for initial growth, healthy blood cells and brain development. At four months of age infants can be supplemented with 1 mg/kg per day of oral iron. Once they’ve moved onto solids, your baby can get enough iron through eating the right foods such as cereals, meat and green vegetables.
It’s a different story for babies who are formula-fed. Formulas that are organic usually contain a variety of healthy vitamins that satisfy all the baby’s needs. As the manufacturers can enrich the formula with all healthy and necessary, they have already included iron and Vitamin D in their composition. But, it doesn’t mean that each of the formulas is safe and nourishing enough. So you need to pay close attention to its content, consult a doctor and choose the one with really beneficial ingredients.
As they get older and their requirements change, there are different types of formulas available. They are produced for different stages of life. So, there is a difference between stage 1 and stage 2 formula in the amount and content of nutrients and the type of protein. If you will choose the correct formula for your child, then it will be sure to provide them with all the essential vitamins.
While your baby is both breastfed and bottle-fed
If your baby is toggling between nursing and formula taking, you may think about supplementing him or her with extra iron and vitamin D. As breast milk lacks it, there could be a shortage in their diet. Talk to your paediatrician about whether he or she really needs it. When starting solids, reassess the situation as your baby will be drinking less milk and you will need to fill their diet with healthy and nourishing food. Choose foods that are rich in iron and other vitamins. Don’t forget about cooking them in the best way so the vitamins are preserved, steaming and boiling are preferable to frying and baking.
The best advice is not to make decisions by yourself, it’s always better to consult a doctor who is more experienced and knows all the necessary information about vitamins. Moreover, don’t get carried away and use too many. Vitamins can be dangerous if overused. So, pay your attention to food-based sources and a varied diet rather than giving them supplements.