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Vitamin supplement for 6month+

(12 Posts)
HumptyDumpty1 Mon 05-Sep-11 22:22:25

HV recently told me that if I continued to bf at all my nearly 6mo I would need to give her a vitamin supplement.

Is this right? (I am sceptical of my HV after telling me I needed to top up with formula when I have an over supply...)

If it is what supplement would I use?


MockingbirdsNotForSale Mon 05-Sep-11 22:25:11

I have never been told this, but then I rarely see HVs.....

organiccarrotcake Mon 05-Sep-11 22:39:16

Right, here's what this is about.

As a population we're a bit low on certain vitamins, especially vit D (because we stay in too much, there's not much sun outside anyway and we cover up our kids in the sunshine). Iron is another concern.

The term, healthy baby whose cord was cut after it stopped pulsating will have sufficient iron stores for around 6-12 months. BM has a very easily absorbed version of iron in it, but between 6-12 months it's worth ensuring that babies are starting to get it in their solids. Meat is the easiest way. A BLWed baby can be given a chunk of meat to gum/suck on and will suck out all the necessary that way. Puree-fed babies can just be given pureed meat. Much better than rice milk or veg.

Formula has added into it all the vitamins and iron that's needed (rather like taking a multi-vit) although this can lead to too much of these things which can also be unhealthy in itself.

Your HV is quite wrong that "if you BF at all" you need vit drops. That's mad. Rather, if you continue to exclusively breastfeed there are some essential vits that you may wish to add in artificially if in your personal circumstance you feel there's a risk of them being lowered, for instance:

- if your baby's cord was cut early (iron)
- if you don't get out in the sunshine, or are covered up (eg for cultural reasons) (Vit D)
- if your diet isn't healthy, or you have trouble absorbing nutrients (general vits)
- if your baby was early (more than about 4 weeks early) you should have separate advice, as prem babies don't get the final stock-up of vits from their mother which is passed over in the last month of pregnancy.

If you are starting to wean soon, provided you give a good range of foods including meat or other high-iron foods, and there's no other risk factors, chances are vit drops are a waste of time. If you're more comfortable offering them, that's fine too.

But your HV implied that BFing will strip out vits or something! FFS.

HumptyDumpty1 Tue 06-Sep-11 03:33:28

Thank you organic! That was very helpful and explanatory. I've started to wean already on porridge, fruit and veg but waiting for the 6 month mark to introduce meats, good to know I won't have to fanny about adding vitamins! DD also has a few bottles of formula to get ready for childcare in 2 weeks.

The HV actually recommended switching to formula because of the vitamin benefit (this is the woman who pushed bf at the beginning when I was struggling and was appalled by the idea of one formula bottle to get some sleep!) mad!

organiccarrotcake Tue 06-Sep-11 15:29:40

Stupid woman. Giving formula over breastmilk specifically for its vitamin content is stupid, totally nonsensical. Continuing to BF if possible, and adding vitamin drops if there's any worry about it makes so much more sense. I'd make a complaint if you have the energy...

There's a really useful book that it's a great time to read as it's all about complimentary feeding:,_Culture_and_Politics_978-1-905177-42-4

It's short, quick to read and gives you all you need to know about how to introduce solids - what's important and why - and it's the most up to date data by an excellent researcher.

coldcomfortHeart Tue 06-Sep-11 20:13:37

My hv was also adamant about vitamins. luckily i knew about the why's etc behind the recommendation, and didn't fit any of the 'at risk' categories. but the phrasing of the whole thing just implied that breastmilk was deficient in some way.

Which just instinctively felt wrong. I'm going to have to buy that new Gabrielle palmer book i think! although it might just make me grit my teeth even harder listening to hv's...

HumptyDumpty1 Tue 06-Sep-11 20:50:41

Book ordered smile only £7 on amazon! Make an interesting change from psychology uni books!

She did make out like it was inferior Cold I just thought, if that's the case how are we even here, surely our ancestors would have died from vitamin deficiency if BM was inferior to formula!

coldcomfortHeart Wed 07-Sep-11 12:27:14

Exactly... yes cave babies probably got a bit more sunlight than we all do now but i do wonder how the cave mummies did it- no cushions, no sofas, no health visitors, no breastpumps, no special covers or muslins... extraordinary!

organiccarrotcake Wed 07-Sep-11 13:36:55

grin @ cold

Oh good, OP, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. You may also be interested, if you've not already read it, in her other book, The Politics of Breastfeeding. An amazing read.

The other Pinter and Martin one I love, which I'd recommend to you as you have an interest in psychology and which I found really helped me to understand why people hold onto erroneous beliefs about babies (eg safety or "benefits" of formula feeding, cry-it-out, etc) - whether it's one's MIL, doctor, HV etc, is Mistakes were made - but not by me. I did just this topic in my final yr project (psych/cog sci) so I've always been interested in it, but I found this to be an excellent, highly enjoyable and readable explanation of the most up to date research.

HumptyDumpty1 Wed 07-Sep-11 14:24:15

Also ordered. organic you are bad for my degree! I'll end up reading all these books and not the important ones grin

Never mind it's not like I can do anything with it anyway now masters are £10grand....angry

I'm looking forward to telling the HV tomorrow I am continuing to bf with some formula and no vitamin drops grin

organiccarrotcake Wed 07-Sep-11 15:01:52

grin @ Humpty. You'll enjoy them both! And they are important! smile Good luck with the degree, anyway.

i didnt use vitamin drops either and nor did anyone at the breastfeeding group I went to we all deciced for the right reasosn obv we were going to rebel against health visitors advise esp when one was a paediatrician and another a pharmacist -

I told my HV i ate plenty of green veg and took a mutli-vit with iron myself and made sure my baby ate a very balanced healthy diet and therefore we were not using them but she was welcome to document she had advised me if she needed to cover her own back.

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