Is it necessary to supplement with vitamins if you are oly breastfeeding?

Diana - posted on 09/06/2009 ( 28 moms have responded )

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I have a 9 week old and the pedi said I should give her liquid vitamins everyday since I breastfeed exclusively. But she hates taking it and now its a lot of crying, spitting it out and vomiting after she takes it. Is it necessary to even give it?

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[deleted account]

The American Academy of Pediatrics states specifically that "human milk does not contain enough vitamin D to prevent rickets." While it's true sunlight is the usual source of Vitamin D production in the skin, sunlight is impossible to measure. In areas where the sun is not strong enough all year round, it may not be possible for some babies to get enough exposure to avoid rickets. Previous posters have said it only takes a couple of minutes, and I'm sorry to differ, but that is absolutely not true in all areas. Sunshine itself is not without risks, and sunscreen prevents the production of Vitamin D in the first place.

So yeah, it's totally possible to avoid rickets with sunshine alone if you live in the right place. But the risk of a liquid supplement compared to the risk of rickets compared to the risk of skin cancer later down the line may lead some doctors to prescribe, and some moms to administer, Vitamin D.

I don't think it's a given that a supplement is unnecessary, as some moms have posted here -- nor do I think it's a given that a supplement is required. This seems like a topic you could explore pretty easily with a ped. you trust.

http://www.aap.org/family/vitdpatients.h...

Colleen - posted on 09/06/2009

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I would seek a second opinion. I have heard that the most likely vitamin deficiency is vitamin D, and that can be fixed with a few minutes of sunshine every couple of days. Unless there is a problem that is causing a deficiency the baby should get all it needs from your milk as long as you are eating well. :)

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Shauna - posted on 09/09/2009

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I have breastfed all 3 of my babies and never given any vitamins. Our peds said it is not something you have to do. I would say it's not worth fighting her everyday, maybe try when she is older.

Linda - posted on 09/09/2009

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Quoting Darci:

All three of my children have been exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and my doctor hasn't ever mentioned giving my children vitamins. He has asked if I am taking my prenatal vitamins, and I am. I wouldn't worry about vitamins for a breastfed baby.



My Pedi never mentioned vitamin supplements to me either, but I did mention to him that I was still taking my prenatals, so I am guessing this is enough.

Meagan - posted on 09/08/2009

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My doctor said that as long as I was still taking the pre-natal vitamins then I didn't need to supplement.

Alicia - posted on 09/08/2009

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Perhaps thinking about it from an historical standpoint would make some sense...

Humans would not have thrived as a species if breastmilk did not provide everything that a baby needs to survive. Yes, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin produced when the body is exposed to sunlight, bit you really need minimal exposure to produce your daily requirements. 10-20 minutes a day TOTAL is sufficient. If you think about how long your face and arms are exposed to sunlight going from the house to the car, the car to the store, back to the car, etc. you'll find that it probably totals over 10 minutes easily. I understand your reluctance to go out with all of the smoke in the air, so wait until it clears up some. You have the advantage of living somewhere that has sunshine all year round, so I wouldn't worry too much about a vitamin D deficiency. My daughter has very fair skin and red hair, so we're constantly worried about sun over-exposure, but I've found that even she wont burn in 15 minutes of direct sunlight. Make sure you're keeping up with your daily needs and that your baby gets out in the sun a bit and I'm sure that vitamin supplements will not be necessary. Definitely try another pedi!:)

Bethany - posted on 09/08/2009

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Oh, and I agree with Jessica's last post. You can easily get sunlight through a window while you can't go outside. People really need even as little as ten minutes of sunlight on their skin to get those needed vitamins. Especially where you are. You should get plenty of sun normally. :)

I think that's a very good idea to look for a new pediatrician. It sounds like this one isn't very in-tune with breastfed babies' needs.

Bethany - posted on 09/08/2009

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Your pedi said WHAT??? No, it is absolutely not necessary to make your baby take it. I've noticed that most docs just feel like they can't let you leave the office without trying to prescribe something.

As long as you're eating fairly healthy, all your baby needs is breastmilk for the first year of life. Even if you don't eat the greatest, with every single healthy food group every single day, your body will take nutrients from you to feed your child. Meaning, you will be deprived of nutrients before your baby is. If you want, you can take vitamins, and your baby will get them through your breastmilk.

My daughter had nothing but breastmilk until she was 10 1/2 months old. No solids, no supplements, no medications. She has only had two little colds (she's 1 1/2), both while she was teething. My point is that you can have a perfectly healthy child without all the extras pediatricians say you should give them.

Jessica - posted on 09/08/2009

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Quoting Diana:

Thanks everyone. My nutrition is fine. I eat well rounded meals up to 2000 calories a day. I am still taking pre-natal vitamins also. And the Pedi did mention only Vitamin D but the polyvitamin drops she prescribed has other vitamins in them. Since the fires in LA county started I have not taken her outside lately because of the air quality but once that clears up we will be outside more. I am going to seek a new pediatrician anyway. I did not like her practice.



Goodness then we DEFINATELY don't want her outside!!  I hope the fires don't impact your family too much. 



 



You can also get her sunlight just in a window, you don't have to necessarily take her outside.  Ironically the 'grow lights' that they make for indoor plants are also efficient and are commonly recommended for babies in areas where the sun is absent for long periods of time (Like Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, etc.).



 



You should ALWAYS feel confident in your practitioner.

Laura - posted on 09/08/2009

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Agree with Liz. There are conflicting opinions on this subject even within the medical community. If you don't feel comfortable having an honest discussion with your pediatrician about this (a la Jessica's comment above), then switching to someone you feel more at ease with might be best. There is a lot of emerging research that suggests that we are all Vit D deficient and should be taking supplements (even in the adult population). My guess is that the truth is somewhere between not worrying about it and taking mega supplements all the time.
For what it's worth, my son did not get Vit. D supplements while being breastfed for 9 months. I did make an effort to take him out for some sun each day (living in a warm climate helps!), and he's a fair-skinned baby, making the it less likely that he would have deficiency. This is an issue that you can make the call, Mama! Hope this was helpful!

Jessica - posted on 09/08/2009

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Your doctor is (in my opinion) an idiot. There is NO vitamin that your baby is missing. Vitamin D can be obtained by 10 minutes of sunlight (ie- haul out that stroller and take baby for a walk). Calcium is already in your milk, any other vitamin or mineral your baby needs is obtained from you, not a dropper. The fact that your baby's body is refusing the junk should be an obvious sign that it's not necessary. Start a multivitamin when your child is weaned entirely onto table foods and ABLE to chew a tablet. Then they are more likely to have a diet that could use a little supplementation. Right now, your milk is your baby's perfect food, don't let ANYONE tell you otherwise.



I suggest you toss the dropper and find a new doctor, a BF-supportive one.

Shellie - posted on 09/08/2009

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no... we recommend through the health dept. that the moms conitinue to take their prenatal vitamins to ensure the mom gets the nutrition she needs because the mom's body will take the vitamins and nutrients the baby needs and make it into the breast milk regardless..

Sharmila - posted on 09/08/2009

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breast milk contains all the nutrition a baby needs. However, most pedis do prescribe vit drops. My little girl is four months old and has started spitting out the vitamin since of late, although i try my best to give her the recommended 0.6ml, I don't worry too much if she swallows a lesser quantity. Just consult your pedi, but i don't see a reason to panic..

Johanne - posted on 09/07/2009

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for some reason some pediatricians have a notion that exclusive breast milk is not nutritiously complete. well for a baby less than six months, it is. as for ensuring that your baby gets all that she needs, just remember that breast milk is only as good as what you put in your body. so don't forget to take your pre-natal pills and eat healthy!

[deleted account]

My daughter still takes the liquid vitamins and she is 8 mos. I didn't want to give them to her at first, and I could tell she didn't like the taste... but I decided it could only help, not hurt her. I have also heard that as long as you are taking a pre-natal vitamin, it is unnecessary to give baby the liquid vitamins. But again, it won't hurt either.



Chloe takes her vitamins every night in the tub bc they are NOT dye-free. I was given the same vitamins as a child nearly 30 years ago... you would think they would have at least developed dye-free by now! Even my mom was amazed! LOL! Best of luck!

Minnie - posted on 09/07/2009

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"My ped. said that breastfed babies don't get enough vitamin D"



Sorry, that's hogwash...babies who don't get out in the sun don't get enough Vitamin D. It has nothing to do with being breastfed.



I hardly think that something that our species (and all of mammalia) depends upon (breastfeeding) wouldn't be sufficient to keep the young healthy. We wouldn't have been so successful.

Lori - posted on 09/07/2009

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My ped. said that breastfed babies don't get enough vitamin D so he recommended TriViSol, it has vitamins A, B. & D. They also have a new vitamin called D-ViSol which I believe is only vitamin D. My advice is to try giving it to her at a different time of day. But I would definitely stick with it, the only way she'll get better at taking the vitamin is to get her used to it. Good luck.

Minnie - posted on 09/07/2009

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Concerning you not taking your baby out recently- Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin- baby stores it in the body- so the time that she has not been out recently should not affect her. In fact, being out frequently in the summer allows baby to manufacture and store enough Vitamin D to last during the cold winter months (for those who live in a cold/temperate climate).

Maegan - posted on 09/06/2009

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My son takes a Vitamin D supplement that the pediatrician recommended and he seems to do fine with it. Maybe it is the brand or type she doesn't like.

Anna - posted on 09/06/2009

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No, don't give her vitamins. That is so untrue - I think the formula companies made up that fact. Breast milk has everything she needs.

Darci - posted on 09/06/2009

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All three of my children have been exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and my doctor hasn't ever mentioned giving my children vitamins. He has asked if I am taking my prenatal vitamins, and I am. I wouldn't worry about vitamins for a breastfed baby.

Sarah - posted on 09/06/2009

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They say Vitamin D is the only thing they lack from being breast fed. My guy doesn't enjoy it either so I try my best to give it to him and let him chase it with a feeding. But on the days you can't get them to keep it down, just take your little one outside for 15-20 min, not in direct sunlight. That should help alot because their skin produces it when exposed to sunlight WITHOUT sunscreen/sunblock.

Diana - posted on 09/06/2009

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Thanks everyone. My nutrition is fine. I eat well rounded meals up to 2000 calories a day. I am still taking pre-natal vitamins also. And the Pedi did mention only Vitamin D but the polyvitamin drops she prescribed has other vitamins in them. Since the fires in LA county started I have not taken her outside lately because of the air quality but once that clears up we will be outside more. I am going to seek a new pediatrician anyway. I did not like her practice.

Kimberly - posted on 09/06/2009

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my doctor recommended a supplemental vitamin with both my kids. i complied and gave it to my first baby. with this child i haven't i just take my vitamins

Minnie - posted on 09/06/2009

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No. And concerning the posts about your own diet- you would have to be severely malnourished for the quality of your milk to be inadequate.



Babies know what they need- they generally begin putting things in their mouths when they are ready to self-feed and begin solids. Prior to this, your milk has ALL your baby needs. Many children who have food sensitivities do not begin to take solids until much older and mother's milk nourishes them throughout the second year of life.



Iron- although breastmilk contains small amounts, it is high in bioavailability and is easily absorbed and utilized by your baby. When your baby is ready to begin solids she will be able to pick up and chew iron-rich foods to supplement your milk.



Vitamin D- your milk provides this for her and she is supplemented by the sun- 30 minutes unclothed per week or two hours clothed is all she needs to manufacture her vitamin D.



Any other vitamin- C, A, E, your milk provides in sufficient quantities.



Vitamin supplements are unecessary for a breastfed baby.

[deleted account]

No, it's not necessary for your child as long as you eat well. My ped prescribed the same thing, but he also said that if my daughter didn't like it, no big deal and not to force her to take it. So she's never had it and she's perfectly healthy, and so were my other two kids that were breastfed. :)

[deleted account]

What vitamins? How's your own nutrition?



Our ped. recommended Vitamin D at his four month appt, and that's pretty common. They gave us a prescription, but we found a cheaper over the counter version (TriViSol) with the same nutritional content. Our kid LOVES the taste of this stuff - kicks his feet, squeals, the whole thing.

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