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B/F exclusively and vitiman supplements

(16 Posts)
geegeesmum Sun 14-Sep-03 20:33:51

Hi all,

Firstly, I am new to mumsnet and I must comment on how great it is to be able to ask questions of other mums - esp as all my close friends with kids and family are in Cape Town and too far away to ask !

Anyway down to the question. My DD is 22 weeks old and I am planning to continue to exclusively b/f her until 6 months and then introduce solids. So far so good but I am not sure if I should also be giving her some vitamin drops (called Abidec) which my HV recommended - she didnt tell me to definately give them, just said it was up to me - which leaves me dazed and confused about what to do - esp as the leaflet on Abidec has some peanut allergy warnings. As my DD has had excema (and there is a history of Asthma and Hayfever in the family) I am loathe to introduce another possible source of allergy. Can someone please tell me whether if I am being over cautious - what did you do when b/feeding at 22 weeks before solids were introduced ????? I have read somewhere about iron and vitamin D deficiencies which is why babies need the drops.


pupuce Sun 14-Sep-03 20:40:57

If you have a good diet - you don't need vitamins but I am sure someone will disagree with me
This is what Dr Jack Newman (an expert on BF ) says about vit D:
"Except in extraordinary circumstances (for example, if the mother herself was vitamin D deficient during the pregnancy). The baby stores vitamin D during the pregnancy, and a little outside exposure, on a regular basis, gives the baby all the vitamin D he needs."

and on iron supplements :
"Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age. "


pupuce Sun 14-Sep-03 21:24:11

BTW - welcome to mumsnet
I did a quick search on the web and nowhere did I find a website recommending supplements for a breastfed baby.
Here is something else I fgound :
"As long as you are not anemic, your baby can make better use of the iron in your milk than he can get from extra iron. In fact, extra iron will upset the delicate iron utilization pathway that exists in exclusively breastfed babies. La Leche League International suggests offering 6 month old babies meats as a first food rather than veggies and fruits, probably because if the child needs iron, his body can get it from the meats that are offered.  "

and this too :
"Elizabeth Sterken, of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition (INFACT), says, "If you are healthy and you are eating a normal healthy diet, if your baby is full-term and exclusively breastfed, if you introduce complementary foods later, at around six months rather than earlier, the chances are very, very slim."

INFACT cites several studies that show breastfed babies have lower rates of iron deficiency, and the longer the baby is breastfed the less likely iron deficiency becomes. The researchers suggest that the iron in breastmilk is "bioavailable," or easy for the baby's system to absorb, compared to the iron in cereals and formula. In addition, full- term babies have sufficient stores of iron at birth to last six months. Sterken adds that the long-term effects of excess iron in the diet are not well understood."

Marina Mon 15-Sep-03 12:02:00

Geegeesmum, welcome to Mumsnet!
Pupuce is right, breastfed babies don't really need vitamin drops provided their mums are getting a good diet, and with supplemented iron especially it is not readily absorbed by the baby. (this also apparently applies to the iron in follow-on milk - most of it passes straight through...). I never bothered with ds who is now four. Once he was fully weaned I tended to give him Kindervital, a natural tonic, whenever his food preferences were particularly lacking in fruit and veg.
At the moment I must admit to taking fish oil supplements to make sure dd (six weeks old) is getting all her DHA. Don't ask me what it stands for but it is the active ingredient in fish oil which contributes to good brain and nervous system development.
I had no idea Abidec had nut allergy warnings!

pidge Tue 16-Sep-03 09:36:10

I was told by my health visitor, (who is generally a very good egg, unlike some!) that the department of health recommend that breastfed babies over 6 months get some vitamin drops. But I haven't been able to find any evidence of this advice elsewhere. Anyway, being obedient, I used to buy little bottles for 40p from our surgery - I think it was Vits A, C and D. But then they stopped supplying the bottles a month or so back, so we dutifully went out and bought some Sanatogen multi vitamin syrup at about 20 times the price. Even though it is supposed to be delicious my dd just won't eat the stuff. It was so much easier just to put 5 drops in her food, rather than trying to get 2 x 5ml spoons down her throat.

I would be very relieved if you think I needn't be bothering at all! She gets a pretty good diet - lots of fruit and veg, a bit of cows milk, goats milk and yogurt, some oily fish and chicken and beef just occasionally. And I'm still bfeeding her 4 times a day (she's 14 months, and I think she takes pretty small amounts except first thing in the morning).

robinw Tue 16-Sep-03 10:04:54

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pidge Tue 16-Sep-03 10:36:27

Thanks RobinW - that's really helpful advice. I reckon my dd is fine for Vits A and C - she eats fruit and veg by the bucketload. Her nursery keep commenting on her amazing capacity for fruit and vegetables compared with the other babies!

I think the advice to avoid nuts has got a bit better, but it's still not brilliant. I have asthma, eczema, rhinitis and walnut / pecan allergy so have been strict about not eating nuts whilst breastfeeding my dd. As far as I'm aware the advice to breastfeeding mothers is just to avoid peanuts - and of course I also don't eat the two I'm allergic to. When I was preggars I went though an addiction to pistachios. Hope that wasn't an error! Anyway, I hadn't thought about the chocolate and ice-cream issue - I'll be really careful about what I give to her.

geegeesmum Tue 16-Sep-03 20:19:42

Thanks that clears it up for me - I'll avoid the vitamin with peanut traces and continue taking pregnacare for me until she is 6 months next month - and goes onto solids. Not much chance of getting dd into the sun in Scotland tho' but a holiday in SA in December should do that

Eulalia Wed 17-Sep-03 22:35:16

We've just had a great summer here in Scotland! I think only a small patch of skin in needed to be exposed for about 20 mins so a regular short walk just with face and hands exposed is enough to get the vitamin D.

robinw Thu 18-Sep-03 07:15:02

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robinw Thu 18-Sep-03 07:20:08

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bobsmum Tue 11-Nov-03 11:54:22

Just resurrecting this thread.

Picked up a leaflet in Boots the other day about the chemical scare re baby food jars. All very informative.

But - on the back of the leaflet it says this:

"After 6 months, a vitamin A & D supplement is recommended for breastfed babies and babies who take less than 500ml of formula or follow-on milk a day."

Several supplements are then listed.
This advice is from a nutritionist. A couple of people here have mentioned Dept of Health guidelines too.

This is the first time (ds is now 14 months) that I have *ever * heard this advice. Found this thread and just wondered whether Boots are printing off out of date advice or whether I really should have been plying ds with extra vitamins all these months. The leaflet also recommended starting solids at 4 months so I am thinking their info is possibly a bit archaic?

Anyway - this leaflet has worried me slightly. Why is my lovely nutritionally complete breastmilk suddenly being called into question?

FairyMum Tue 11-Nov-03 11:59:52

I gave both my children cod liver oil from 4 weeks old

mears Tue 11-Nov-03 12:33:49

Bobsmum - this advice has always been about but to be truthful, I didn't supplement my children. Breastmilk has all they need IMO. The vitamins in breastmilk are there in a different format and absorbed more effectively if you like. At one time it was thought there was hardly any vitamin K but research apparently has discovered it is there after all. It is the same story in a way about iron. Levels are lower in breast milk than formula but it is in a much more readily absorbable form. Worry not

tiktok Tue 11-Nov-03 14:15:41

Bobsmum, yes, this advice has always been around, but the only evidence base for it is with regard to Vitamin D....seems some babies who are largely on breastmilk after 6 mths with few solids and *who don't get out and about in the day* and whose need for Vitamin D is greater because they have dark skins (eg Asian and Black babies) and who live in parts of the country with less sunlight may be at a higher risk of developing rickets. This is a lifestyle issue - getting out most days for a short time will fix any Vit D worries, no matter what ethnic group mothers belong to.

lailag Tue 11-Nov-03 21:59:44

I came across this a few months ago. Do not follow their advise though, just go out side every day...
Volume 111, Number 4
April 2003, pp 908-910

Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake


Lawrence M. Gartner, MD; Frank R. Greer, MD; and the Section on Breastfeeding and Committee on Nutrition

ABSTRACT. Rickets in infants attributable to inadequate vitamin D intake and decreased exposure to sunlight continues to be reported in the United States. It is recommended that all infants, including those who are exclusively breastfed, have a minimum intake of 200 IU of vitamin D per day beginning during the first 2 months of life. In addition, it is recommended that an intake of 200 IU of vitamin D per day be continued throughout childhood and adolescence, because adequate sunlight exposure is not easily determined for a given individual. These new vitamin D intake guidelines for healthy infants and children are based on the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.

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