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!