The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfeeding infants take vitamin D supplements. Many parents opt to give a liquid multivitamin. Although it is not necessary to give additional vitamin A or C, the AAP states that the amount in multivitamins is safe for infants. New studies also point to benefits of DHA or Omega-3 fatty acid supplements for the developing brain and eyes.
Importance of Vitamin D
Doctors have long known the role of vitamin D in preventing rickets, a disease of the bones. Infants of the past had regular sunbaths as sunlight is the most natural source of this important vitamin. Sunlight poses unnecessary risks to infants today, and formula and milk are enhanced with vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with slow growth and heart and breathing problems in infants. The AAP recommends not only that infants are breastfed for the first 12 months, but that infants receive 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Breastmilk does not provide adequate amounts of vitamin D, so supplementation is necessary.
Brands of Vitamin D for Infants
Since vitamin D is the only essential supplement, you may prefer to give your infant a drop with this exclusive ingredient. Sunlight Vitamins Just D provide only this vitamin without dyes, glycerin, or other additives. NSI Baby D, Carlson Vitamin D Baby Drops, and Enfamil D-Vi-Sol also contain only vitamin D.
Brands of Infant Multivitamins
Infant multivitamins usually include vitamins A and C, which are not necessary, but also not harmful. Some brands may also include vitamin B and iron, which can affect the taste and consistency of the drops. If you choose to give your newborn a multivitamin, choose one with less variety of vitamins to decrease possibility of stomach upset and rejected taste. Enfamil Tri-Vi-Sol is a popular brand that contains vitamins A, C, and D with a mild fruity flavor. TwinLab Infant Care Multivitamin Drops provides vitamins A and D. For a baby transitioning to solid foods, you may want a more complete multivitamin such as Enfamil Poly-Vi-Sol or Electronic Arts Pedia Essential Infant multivitamin dietary supplement drops, which both contain nine vitamins, including vitamin D. Michael Naturopathic Programs Pedia Vites Infant & Toddler Liquid Multi-Vitamin is a gluten-free option.
Brands of Infant Vitamins with DHA
Although more research is needed on the effectiveness of supplementation, it is clear that DHA is vital in brain growth and function. TwinLab Infant Care Multi-vitamin Drops with DHA provides ten vitamins, including vitamin E. You can also get a DHA-only supplement such as Nordic Naturals Baby DHA. Consult your pediatrician for advice on use of DHA with infants and children.
Breastfeeding infants can take their infant vitamins by sucking them from the mother's nipple or even a pacifier, if the parent prefers not to use a dropper. However, the AAP confirms that this small amount should not cause any difficulty with breastfeeding. When looking for infant vitamins, be sure to read labels thoroughly and opt for only the essential ingredients. Consult a pediatrician or other health professional and inform them if you are giving your infant any supplements.