Breastmilk not good enough?!

Holly - posted on 05/15/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I was told to give my son vitamins by my pediatrician because he is breastfed. I thought breast milk had everything a child needs (at least for the first 6 months) so why do i need to give vitamins also? anyone know more about this- tri visol is the vitamin i was recommended.

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Emily - posted on 05/15/2009

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If your child is dark skinned and live in a northern (or southern if you are in the southern hemisphere) part or the world or doesn't get outside much I'd do the vitamin D, if not I wouldn't worry about it. If your child is exclusively breastfed I wouldn't give any iron either. Iron in breast milk is very easily absorbed but as soon as solids are started it does bind to the solids instead of being absorbed. However, you can negate this by feeding more iron rich foods.

Noelani - posted on 05/15/2009

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Oh and btw keep taking your prenatals too. They do help to keep your body maintained because you are vitamin deficient as long as you breast feed. Remember that the baby takes everything you have, so it is important to keep yourself healthy 1st. Breastfeeding is pregnancy after birth, if you know what I mean.

Noelani - posted on 05/15/2009

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Actually, I breast fed all 5 of my children and I have had the same pediatrician for all 5. She gave me the vitamins too when my baby was about 6 months old...She said it was for the lack of vitamin D( which could cause Rickets). Our breast milk doesn't contain much of this nutrient because it comes from the sun and my daughter was a mid-June baby so the older she got the less I was out in the sun soaking up some Vit-D. What spung her to suggest the vitamins is that I told her that I was tired and I was not giving my daughter any formula which would have supplemented. Not to mention if you aren't eating as if you were still pregnant then your body can't make the milk as it should. But if you look on the box it will show that the main nutrients are 100% iron & 100% Vit-D. I was skeptical too and unfortunately I had to stop nursing a week after our 6 mth checkup...I ended up with horrible back spasms ( I seriously thought I was in labor again) the next week and the medication the Dr. prescribed me would've passed thru my milk :( Do what you feel is best for your baby. Anyway,hope this helps.

Morag - posted on 05/15/2009

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Until 6 months a baby shouldn't need anything more than breastmilk, not even water. It may not have as much iron and protein as cows milk but then those are necessary for good bone/muscle development and cows require an awful lot more than babies considering that they walk from birth... this has led to the false idea that breastmilk is deficient in vits/minerals...Its only deficient if you are a cow.

Recent studies into Iron fortified formula have shown that babies from birth on this have had some neurodevelopmental delays compared to breastfed infants. http://www.naturalmomsblog.com/baby-form... so I would not suggest adding Iron to your baby's diet for whatever reason. In Spain they have removed iron fortified formula altogether.

The low in iron myth is born out of a fragment of truth. When a baby reaches 6 months you should start introducing solids which contain iron...at 6 months a babies requirement for iron increases because they are more physical although everything increases at that age, which is why they require solid introduction, but as long as you are giving your child a healthy diet they shouldn't require added vitamins.

Vitamins should never be used on healthy individuals, if you are deficient in a vitamin you should look to your diet first. If however, there are medical problems vitamin suppliments provide a good source of helpful nutrition, but in your case, keep breastfeeding your child and look at healthy foods to introduce when he gets to weaning age. Don't resort to adding vitamins unless your baby is obvioulsy sick.

Barbara - posted on 05/15/2009

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The Tri-Visol that I was recommended didn't contain iron, but it's important to note that too much iron can be very damaging and you should never take an iron supplement unless you have been diagnosed with an iron deficiency. I sell vitamins for a living, so I have done some reading on this whole thing. As with other vitamins and minerals, breastmilk contains a small amount of highly absorbable iron, and that is plenty for most babies.

Barbara - posted on 05/15/2009

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They told me to get that stuff as well because breastmilk is low in vitamin D. After some research into the risk factors for developing a vitamin D deficiency (dark skin, living in a very northern climate or not being able to go out in the sun very frequently, etc.) I determined that my son was pretty low risk and didn't use the vitamins. He has grown extremely well with no sign of rickets and consistently at the top of the growth charts, so I think we made the right choice for us.

Another thing to think about is that when they say that a vitamin has however many milligrams of whatever, they are only talking about weight, not quality or usability by the body. The important thing in the equation is not how much of a vitamin a baby eats, but how well they are able to use it. Breastmilk may have low total weight vitamins, but they are very absorbable by your baby and that's the important thing.

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