Once I was able to consistently breastfeed, feeding Kenny became easy. I did not have to think about what I was feeding him or how much. He would eat when he was hungry and stop when he was full (if only we could all do that). I have even heard breast milk referred to as the “perfect” food for a growing baby.
Then when I went in for his two month checkup, the nurse recommended giving him Vitamin D supplements. Based on conversations with other moms, I found that some of them received the same recommendation while others did not. This led me to do some research on my own.
In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) increased the Vitamin D recommendation for infants from 200 IU to 400 IU per day [AAP]. Since breastfed babies generally do not obtain this new level of Vitamin D from breast milk and sun exposure, the AAP now recommends daily Vitamin D supplementation to breastfeeding. Vitamin D is important because it contributes to strong bone health by aiding in the absorption of calcium [MayoClinic].
One drop a day of Vitamin D for Kenny was not too hard to add to my routine. When I went in for Kenny’s four month checkup, the nurse recommended either iron fortified cereal, high iron vegetables, or an iron supplement. Now it was getting confusing.
A baby receives iron from his mother that lasts until he is about four months old. Since breast milk contains little iron, babies older than four months are at risk for iron deficiency which may lead to long-term health effects. The AAP recommends giving breastfed babies iron supplements until iron rich solid foods are introduced [AAP].
For now, Kenny is taking a mixed supplement that contains Vitamin D and Iron until solid foods are established. To start the process, Kenny got his first taste of avocado this week.