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Your Ultimate Baby & Toddler Vitamin Guide (Very Few Supplements Usually Needed!)

baby vitamin guide
Are you wondering whether to give your baby or toddler vitamin supplements?
Usually, if your baby is healthy and not premature, supplements are not needed except for possibly Vitamin D. (Mom, on the other hand, may benefit from vitamin supplements, both during pregnancy and post pregnancy.)

Instead of supplements, learn which vitamins are important, in what foods you can find them and what positive health effects they may have for your child.

Did you know that many of the essential baby vitamins can be found in fruits? Very convenient for picky eaters. So, learn a bit about vitamins and try to vary your baby’s or toddler’s food (and your own) to get a bit of everything over time. Just remember to keep an eye on what foods to avoid for babies younger than 1 year.

You can find a good book on baby and toddler nutrition here if you want to learn more (link to Amazon).

Your Baby Vitamin guide


Vitamin A

Where to find it:
Liver, carrots, sweet potato, egg yolks, full-fat dairy goods, oily fish, apricots, mango

Health effects:
Good for the eyes including night vision; protects against respiratory infection; promotes growth; encourages healthy skin, bones, teeth and gums; an antioxidant that protects against heart disease and cancer.

Vitamin A is basically the only vitamin that becomes dangerous if overdosed.
Deficiency is quite unlikely since so many foods are rich in either pre-formed vitamin A or its precursor, beta carotene.


Beta carotene

Where to find it:
Leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, yellow and orange fruits, peaches and dried apricots

Health effects:
A strong antioxidant. Converts to vitamin A; with the positive health effects described above.

Deficiency is quite unlikely since so many foods are rich in either pre-formed vitamin A or beta carotene.


Biotin

Where to find it:
Brewer’s yeast, brown rice, nuts, fruit, egg yolks, beef liver

Health effects:
Aids metabolism of fats and proteins; maintains healthy skin, scalp and hair.


Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Where to find it:
Whole grains, oatmeal, vegetables, dried yeast, liver, pork, peanuts

Health effects:
Provides energy by helping cells to convert sugars to energy; aids carbohydrate digestion; helps nervous system, muscles, heart and mental function; reduces stress.

Deficiency is rare except in alcoholics, since alcohol excess impairs absorption of thiamin.


Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Where to find it:
Leafy green vegetables, seafood, yoghurt, liver, cottage cheese, milk, tofu, almonds, sweet potato, egg, quinoa and amaranth

Health effects:
Promotes growth, healthy hair, skin and nails; helps to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins; stress handling. Also essential for red blood cell production.

Deficiency is rare in developed countries.


Vitamin B3 (nicotinic acid)

Where to find it:
Lean meat, wheat germ, figs, dates, avocados, fish, seafood, eggs, whole wheat produce, brewer’s yeast, fortified cereals and pasta, wild rice, peanuts and peanut butter, potato

Health effects:
Essential for sex hormones, thyroid hormone, insulin, cortisone and glucose tolerance. Necessary for the nervous system and brain; helps metabolism and energy; keeps blood fats balanced.

Deficiency is rare in developed countries. It’s added to a lot of fortified foods and the body can manufacture B3 from tryptophan, an amino acid found in many protein foods.


Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Where to find it:
Whole grains, wheat germ, bran, crude molasses, nuts, green vegetables, chicken, egg yolks, meat and liver

Health effects:
Vital for the adrenal glands; aids the conversion of fats and carbohydrates into energy; helps manufacture antibodies; promotes wound healing.


Vitamin B6

Where to find it:
Wheat germ, bran, poultry, meat, liver, cantaloupes, cabbage, milk, blackstrap molasses, egg yolks, tuna, sardines, mackerel, leeks, kale, sprats, trout, salmon and cod, banana, prune juice, avocado

Health effects:
Produces red blood cells needed to help absorb Vitamin B12 and to aid protein metabolism. Also boosts immune system, and helpful in building brain’s neurotransmitters.

Deficiency rare since B-6 found in most protein foods. If you’re a vegan, make sure to include for example avocado and banana into your diet.


Vitamin B12

Where to find it:
Liver, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk and cheese

Health effects:
Promotes growth; improves concentration and encourages a healthy nervous system.
For breastfed babies, whos’ mom is vegan, a vitamin supplement (for mom) may be needed. According to AAP, if mom’s diet is not adequate (including supplements) in B12, baby vitamin supplements should be considered. Of course, the same goes if you plan to raise your baby as a vegan (eating no animal products at all). If you think this might be your case, ask your baby’s healthcare provider for advice.


Choline

Where to find it:
Green leafy vegetables, liver and lecithin, wheat germ, egg yolk

Health effects:
Helps memory; controls cholesterol build- up; helps detoxification by eliminating toxins and drugs from the liver.


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Where to find it:
Citrus fruits, strawberries, green leafy vegetables, cantaloupes, sweet peppers, cauliflowers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, kiwi, bean sprouts, melons, spinach. broccoli, cabbages, turnips, liver, strawberries

Health effects:
Healthy immune system; anti-viral and anti-bacterial; boosts formation of skin, bone, cartilage and connective tissue including gums and blood vessels; needed to help the body cope with stress. Is an antioxidant; helps iron absorption, promotes wound healing.


Vitamin D (calciferol)

Where to find it:
Sardines, herrings, tuna, egg yolks, fish oils, dairy produce, breast milk and formula. However, the major source of D vitamin is the body’s own production when exposed to sunlight.

Health effects:
Needed for bone and teeth formation since it promotes absorption of calcium and phosphorus; works with vitamins A and C to prevent colds. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to rickets.

Because of growing bones, children need more vitamin D than adults. Baby vitamin D supplementation is often recommended in northern latitudes, such as Canada and Scandinavia.Recent research also indicates many more possible adverse effects of vitamin D deficiency, and there is currently quite an infected deb ate on how much vitamin D we all need. To learn more about how to avoid vitamin D deficiency in infants and moms, read this article.


Vitamin E

Where to find it:
Wheat germ, vegetable oils, broccoli, brussel sprouts, almonds, olive oil, eggs, spinach, soya beans, tomatoes, fresh nuts, carrots, sunflower seeds, wholegrain cereals, avocado, peaches.

Health effects:
One of the three most important antioxidants (together with vitamin C and beta carotene); protects cell membranes; helps prevent scarring; anticoagulant; and protects against chlorinated water.


Folic Acid

Where to find it:
Deep green leafy vegetables, carrots, egg yolks, apricots, pumpkin, beans, avocado, whole wheat, rye, cantaloupes, asparagus, papaya, fortified cereals

Health effects:
Necessary to help the body use proteins and carbohydrates; forms antibodies; necessary in red blood cell production; and protects against neural tube defects early in pregnancy.


Vitamin K

Where to find it:
Yoghurt, alfalfa, leafy green vegetables, safflower oil, kelp, fish liver oils, egg yolks, milk, kale, broccoli, cabbage

Health effects:
Essential for blood clotting agent; useful in bone metabolism.
This is a baby vitamin usually given to the newborn infant right after birth.

As you can see, baby vitamin supplements are usually not needed more than in certain cases. Breastfeeding or formula and varied foods will get your baby a long way.

To learn more about nutrition for babies and toddler check out the book The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers: Practical Answers To Your Questions on Nutrition, Starting Solids, Allergies, Picky Eating, and More