Vitamin C is a nutrient that babies need, because it contributes to overall health. For the first four to six months of your baby's life, breast milk offers all the vitamin C he needs. If you bottle-feed, talk with your baby's pediatrician about whether a supplement should be considered. Beyond 6 months of age, a well-balanced diet will help him reach the daily recommendations.
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Daily Recommended Intake
Babies 6 months of age and younger should get 40 mg of vitamin C each day. Babies aged 7 to 12 months need 50 mg. If you are breastfeeding, be sure your diet includes plenty of foods that contain vitamin C so that you have an ample supply for yourself and your baby.
Adequate amounts of vitamin C in your baby's diet offer immunity protection. This nutrient supports healthy red blood cells and prevents infections. In addition, vitamin C aids in wound healing by supporting collagen production. Vitamin C is considered an antioxidant, which is a plant compound that protects your baby's cells from being damaged by toxins in the environment that could lead to cancer or heart disease down the road. This nutrient also helps your baby's body more efficiently absorb iron from the foods she eats.
Many foods contain vitamin C and are good additions to your baby's well-balanced meal plan. Citrus fruits are particularly good sources, and some types of jarred baby food are made with them. Oranges and pineapples are two examples. Other fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C include bell peppers, kiwis, strawberries, broccoli, cantaloupe, potatoes and tomatoes. Look for these foods in prepared baby foods or make your own at home. Once your baby is able to chew, you may mash or dice these items for him and offer them as finger foods. Offering fruits and vegetables at every meal is the best way to ensure your baby is getting enough vitamin C. Some foods are fortified with vitamin C; reading nutrition labels will help you find these.
A deficiency in vitamin C is rare in America, but babies with malabsorption issues or those who are picky eaters may be at risk. Not getting enough vitamin C could result in scurvy, which produces bleeding gums, nosebleeds, slow wound healing, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness and stunted growth. If your baby displays these symptoms, talk with his doctor about treatment. A vitamin C overdose is unlikely as well, but indications of an excess include diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps. Too much vitamin C may also negatively affect copper and selenium levels in your baby's body.