What Are Breastfed Babies Missing in Their Diet? For mothers who are able to, breastfeeding is usually the best source of nutrients for a baby. When the mom eats a fairly healthy diet, the baby gets almost all the essential nutrients necessary for proper growth, immune support, and development. However, there are some nutrients that may be lacking in breast milk. Two common ones are vitamin D and iron, so it may be necessary to supplement with vitamin D drop newborn, iron, or both.
Daily Requirements of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for numerous functions in the body. The vitamin helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for proper bone and teeth growth. This nutrient also plays a major role in boosting immunity, and babies who get adequate levels of vitamin D tend to be healthier. Other properties the vitamin has include neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant.
The daily requirement of vitamin D for infants is 400 IU, and this requirement starts in the first few days of an infant’s life. Although getting vitamin D breastfeeding is possible for some babies, it only occurs when the mom has high levels of the vitamin. Moms who breastfeed would need up to 6,000 IU of vitamin D every day.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to get vitamin D from food, as very few sources contain enough of the vitamin. Some good food sources include:
- Egg yolks
- Fatty fish
- Fortified foods
The best source of vitamin D is the sun. However, it is challenging to get the daily requirements from the sun during winter months or in a cloudy climate. In order for moms to be able to transfer enough vitamin D to their babies, supplementation is usually necessary.
In theory, a breastfed baby could get adequate levels of vitamin D from the sun. However, infants have sensitive skin, so many experts recommend keeping babies out of the sun unless the skin is covered. Fortunately, there are high-quality, organic vitamin D drops available that are easy to administer.
Benefits of Iron-Fortified Supplements
Iron is another common nutrient that babies often need in supplement form. This nutrient is necessary for the growth of red blood cells, which helps support normal growth and development. Fortunately, babies are able to absorb iron from breast milk, and the mom does not need high levels of the nutrient. During the pregnancy, babies also begin to store iron, which supports their bodies until about six months of age.
At around six months, the iron stores start to diminish. However, many babies begin eating solid foods around this time. Those who ingest foods that are rich in iron usually get adequate amounts, which means that additional supplements are not necessary. Iron-rich foods appropriate for babies include sweet potatoes, quinoa, white beans, broccoli, oatmeal, and fortified cereals.
However, for those who are not eating real food yet, or for those who are not eating foods high in iron, iron drops for babies may be necessary. Search for drops that are organic and free from chemicals, such as artificial colors and flavors, and gluten.