The Question: My baby is 3 months old. When should I start giving her a vitamin?
Answer: The answer depends on whether your baby is exclusively breast- or formula-fed. Vitamin D is essential from birth, but since most moms are deficient, there are usually very low amounts of the vitamin in breast milk— leading many pediatricians to advise D supplementation for all breast-fed babies. Research, however, supports the practice of supplementing moms directly, most commonly with 4,000–6,000 IU of vitamin D daily, so that their babies get enough of the vitamin. For formula-fed little ones, on the other hand, I advise giving the baby an extra 400 IU of vitamin D daily to keep levels optimal. And as long as mom is minding her nutritional balance for nutrients like vitamins A and K, and minerals like iron and calcium, other vitamins are not necessary for either formula-fed or breast-fed babies.
Lawrence D. Rosen, M.D., is the founder of the Whole Child Center in Oradell, New Jersey, one of the first green, integrative primary care practices in the U.S.
Have a question for Dr. Rosen? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org