What vitamins should be given to breastfed babies? 

When a baby is born, it is normal for doubts to arise. One of them is related to feeding. Which vitamins should be given while breastfeeding? That will depend, largely, on the way the baby is fed. 

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According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), exclusively maternal breastfeeding during the first six months of life offers the child as many benefits as it does for the mother. Breast milk, from the human body, is also an important source of energy and nutrients for children aged between 6 and 23 months.  Indeed, they also note that from around the age of six months, the energy and nutrient needs of the breastfed baby increase so it is necessary to start to add supplementary foods. 

Vitamins while breastfeeding are considered key for a baby’s optimum development. For that same reason, some experts argue that mothers need to increase their intake of nutrients while breastfeeding. Some, like iron, calcium, proteins or carbohydrates, are not actually altered even when the mother doesn’t ingest many through their diet. However, others, such as vitamin C, vitamins from group B, vitamin A or vitamin D, can indeed be affected and can require boosting in some way or other. 

In this sense, how can we introduce, for example, vitamin C while breastfeeding? The best option is always to consult the paediatrician, but it is normally possible to include a supplement in the diet. The most important thing is that the quantities are those recommended by our doctor.

On the other hand, the situation changes if we choose to bottle feed our baby. In this case, and also under the guidance of a professional, you should know that formula milks or infant milks are a healthy alternative, given that they also provide babies with the necessary nutrients. In this case, it will also be important to use the specific formula recommended to us and to decide whether any additional supplement is required or if the formula alone is enough.

What type of vitamins are recommended for breastfeeding?

Both in the case of breastfed and formula-fed babies, it is true that the Spanish Association of Paediatrics recommends introducing some type of vitamin D supplement (key for developing strong bones), especially if you live somewhere without much exposure to the sun, for example. Vitamin D is measured in international units (IU) and babies under one year old are considered to need 400 IU of vitamin D per day. In this case, instead of vitamins for breastfeeding mothers, it would be a vitamin that could be administered directly to the baby.

For that reason, it can be concluded that there are vitamins compatible with breastfeeding, and even, in some cases, incorporating some specific vitamins can be worthwhile if any type of deficiency is detected, or if the doctor thinks the baby or child’s growth should be reinforced. However, once again, the best person to guide you in this respect is a professional who, knowing the specific situation, can recommend the appropriate doses.