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Vitamin supplements if breastfeeding after six months

(8 Posts)
Theothersideofsilence Wed 19-Mar-14 17:24:40

At a weaning talk at the local children's centre we were told by the HV that we needed to give vitamins if we wanted to keep on breastfeeding after six months, alongside weaning, as breast milk is deficient in iron (and vitamin D, I think). Formula is ok as it is supplemented with iron. Does this sound right? I want to carry on breastfeeding alongside solids but do I really have to give vitamins every day? Surely if I introduce a balanced diet of solids as well as keep on feeding on demand that will give all the nutrients my baby needs? Or do weaning babies eat so little for a while that they don't really get any vitamins from solids?

I am happy to give vitamins if necessary but not if it is just another unnecessary complication! Do you give supplements and, if so, which brands are good?

FrumiousBandersnatch Wed 19-Mar-14 17:33:48

The advice is that babies need vitamins after 6 months unless they are on at least 500ml of formula per day. I don't believe there's advice to supplement iron, though. BM is lower in iron than formula but the iron is more 'bioavailable' so it is more easily absorbed by the baby. Our HV gives out free NHS Healthy Start vitamin drops but that may be because we're in an urban area with high levels of deprivation. Worth asking at your baby clinic though before spending any money!

tiktok Wed 19-Mar-14 17:35:45

It's standard advice and recommendation for babies who are breastfed to have Vitamin D - not iron (have you misremembered or did they tell you wrong?).

www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/what-does-vitamin-d-do.aspx?CategoryID=51&SubCategoryID=168

Today's lifestyles mean that some babies don't get sufficient sunlight on their skin to make enough Vitamin D - and it's hard to get enough in northern climates.

Formula is already supplemented with Vitamin D.

Don't give your baby iron supplements (she didn't really say you should, did she? Vitamin D is all that's needed).

minipie Wed 19-Mar-14 17:38:50

I had a look at this and decided it was a good idea to give vitamins if BF after 6 months. reasons: iron and vit D aren't readily available from food, at least not the foods you'd be giving a weaning baby. Plus weaning babies don't eat much solid food at first (and don't absorb it well either until their gut learns to handle solids). 6 months is when the reserves from pregnancy run out. Deficiencies can have a nasty effect on development so why take the risk.

Look out for ones with D3 (cholecalciferol (sp?)) rather than just "vitamin D" as the D3 version is much better. I use the Wellkid brand, it's an orange flavoured liquid so very easy to mix into DD's porridge.

GwladysFrightandthePups Wed 19-Mar-14 17:41:29

I've been wondering this as well. At the moment I'm taking a vitamin D supplement (and have since baby was born) - is that enough or does he need his own supplement?

Theothersideofsilence Wed 19-Mar-14 17:46:33

Thanks. I may be misremembering - they were definitely talking about needing iron but maybe not in relation to supplements. I will look into getting some drops for the vitamin D.

tiktok Wed 19-Mar-14 17:47:51

He needs his own supplement Gwladys.

No harm in you taking it, too, but he won't get sufficient via the breastmilk.

As for iron - babies don't need iron supplements. Where's that idea come from? smile

tiktok Wed 19-Mar-14 17:49:19

Babies need iron, but normally get sufficient from their diet as they make the move onto solids from about 6 mths. Iron is in loads of things, inc bread and other cereals. It's also in breastmilk.

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