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Need for Supplements With Breast-Feeding

Although breast-fed babies get the best possible nutrition, they sometimes require certain vitamin or nutritional supplements to maintain or improve their health. Children younger than 1 year of age may benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of vitamin D are right for your child. Rickets is a rare condition that can develop when too little vitamin D is absorbed.

After 4 months of age, your baby will probably not get enough iron from breast milk alone. Your doctor may prescribe a liquid iron supplement until your baby gets enough iron from iron-fortified formulas or foods high in iron. Breast-fed babies born prematurely may be prescribed a liquid iron supplement by 1 month of age.

In rare situations, babies breast-fed by mothers who are strict vegans (vegetarians who do not eat eggs, cheese, or milk) may need a vitamin B12 supplement.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0–3 years of age). Pediatrics, 126(5): 1040–1050. Available online: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/126/5/1040.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised April 12, 2013

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