Mar 052014
 

Vitamin Supplements for Baby

My fans are the best…very smart and very hip. Recently, I was asked a question about suggestions for vitamin supplements for baby. As I write in Super Baby Food, I always suggest checking first with your pediatrician and here is why. There are very specific amounts of vitamin D, zinc, iron and other nutrients recommended for babies at certain ages by the American Pediatric Association.  I wrote about vitamin D and breastfeeding in a previous blog and want to mention how important iron supplements are for your baby too!

It is very important that your baby gets enough iron, but not too much. Too much can cause baby constipation and other problems. Iron is very important, though. Red blood cells need iron to transport oxygen throughout baby’s body for growth and development. Iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in babies, which is why many commercial baby foods are fortified with it.

How can you be sure that your baby is getting enough iron?

The new mandatory Nutrition Facts Panel on packaged foods makes it easier to see just how much iron your baby is eating. Fresh homemade food does contain iron, but if your baby is eating all homemade baby food, and especially if your baby is a vegetarian, ask your pediatrician about over-the-counter supplemental iron drops.

Have you recently got a advice from your pediatrician on vitamin supplement drops for your baby?  Share with us!

May 082011
 

When to Give an Iron Supplement to Your Baby

A full-term baby is born with enough iron stores from Mom to last him about 4-6 months, or until his birth weight doubles.  Babies, then, after 4-6 months, need foods high in iron such as iron-fortified formula or iron-fortified cereal.  The question is: does a baby need an iron supplement?  Again, the first resource to turn to is your pediatrician.  Together, you and he can determine what your baby’s diet is providing and if there is a need for a daily, supplemental iron drop, as suggested by the American Academy of  Pediatrics in some cases.  Babies may continue to need an iron supplement until they are 18 months old, but be careful to give the baby too much iron, it can lead to constipation.   A detailed list of iron-rich foods is included in Super Baby Food’s nutrition reference section.  For online information regarding iron-rich foods, try this list at Wholesomebabyfood.com.

Does your Baby Need a Fluoride Supplement?

A fluoride supplement is another nutritional supplement that should be discussed with your pediatrician.  The prevailing guideline from the AAP is that fluoride NOT be given in infants under the age of 6 months. Specifically,

“The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Dentistry recommend that all children older than six months of age, breast fed or formula fed, be given fluoride supplements if they live in an area where the fluoride level of the water is less than 0.3 ppm. Optimal fluoride concentration in water for teeth is .7-1.2 ppm. Use of fluoride supplements is indicated for children in non-fluoridated areas.”

The take-away here is that up to 6 months, fluoride supplements are not necessary.  After 6 months have a talk with your pediatrician regarding your baby’s diet (breast-feeding or bottle feeding) and the percentage of fluoride in your drinking water to decide if a fluoride supplement is necessary.  As with many child care practices, prevailing wisdom changes, so be sure to discuss with your pediatrician and check out the websites of the AAP and the AAD for the most updated  information.

Check back with the Super Baby Food Blog for more information regarding Iron and Fluoride Supplements.

May 042011
 

The number one rule when considering supplements for your baby is to discuss it with your pediatrician.  Between the two of you, you can determine the diet your baby has now and what might need to be supplemented.  With that in mind, here is some general information that you can use to start to talk about supplements for your baby.

Vitamin supplements are called supplements because they are meant to do just that – “supplement” a baby’s good diet.  Vitamin supplements are terrific because even a good diet can be lacking in nutrients due to improper storage of foods, too-early harvesting, and the lack of nutrients in our country’s depleted soils from poor farming methods.

Exclusively breast-fed babies are often prescribed a supplement containing vitamin D.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends this because breast milk may not have enough of this nutrient, which is produced by sunlight on skin.  Some, however, feel the need for Vitamin D as a supplement to a breastfeeding baby may not be necessary.  You can read that point of view here on Homemade Baby Food Recipes.com.

Once you discuss supplements with your pediatrician, be sure to give your baby his vitamin supplement with her meals, not on an empty stomach.  Vitamins work with food to help with chemical reactions in the body.  For many babies the method will be to exclusively breast feed your baby until 6 months old and add vitamin D, and possibly iron drops (we’ll talk more about iron in the next post).  Bottle fed babies will not need Vitamin D as a supplement as it is provided in formula.

In the next post we’ll discuss Iron and Fluoride as supplements.  For even more information on nutritional supplements including a terrific appendix of every vitamin known to man defined with the  nutritional needs of your baby by age check out the Super Baby Food book or check back here at the Super Baby Food Blog!

Apr 062011
 

Every parent’s worst nightmare is a baby who they fear is not eating enough.  If you feel that something is wrong with your baby’s eating habits and/or his weight is dropping, your first stop, as always, is with your pediatrician.  You might also find a registered dietitian in your area.  This site will help you find one: EatRight.org.

Your baby should be physically growing and learning skills and milestones.  Is he meeting his developmental milestones? You may want to pick up a copy of this book from your local library: The Wonder years: Helping Your Baby and Young Child Successfully Negotiate The Major Developmental Milestones by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  I get a lot of emails from the parents of picky eaters and it is almost always the case that they begin eating lots of food after the age of 8 months when they start moving.  Is your baby crawling a lot?  The more babies move, the hungrier they get and the more they should eat for all the extra energy they need.

There are some great books on picky eaters, too.  Try Food Chaining, it talks about the difference between picky eaters and children who have serious eating disorders.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep your pediatrician involved.

Nov 152010
 

When can I start feeding my baby spinach?  Do I have to wait until he is one?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting to introduce spinach until a baby is 7-9 months of age, since there is a small possibility that spinach will contain nitrates.  The probability is extremely small, almost 0%, that there will be a dangerous level of nitrates.  Some experts believe that it is not necessary to even mention this problem, since it is so rare and since spinach is a very healthy green vegetable.  Commercial baby food manufacturers screen for nitrates, so babies as young as 6-7 months can be introduced to commercially-prepared spinach for babies.  Certainly a one year old baby can have spinach.  Raw spinach must be washed carefully to remove soil and bacteria.  Spinach to be cooked should be washed to remove soil; steaming over boiling water should kill any bacteria.  Homegrown spinach and other produce should not be home-cooked for baby, just in case there is lead in the soil.  One other thing about spinach. Unlike kale, it contains oxalic acid, an enzyme that competes with calcium for absorption in the intestines.  It is best to feed your baby calcium-containing foods (such as pasteurized natural cheese and yogurt, and cow’s milk for toddler’s older than one year) at other meals that do not include spinach for maximum calcium absorption. Thanks for your question!