Do I need to supplement my baby’s diet with anything else?
Breastmilk and formula contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, but you can give a daily supplement depending on advice from your pediatrician.
- Vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, but under 6 months of age, it’s recommended that babies do not receive direct sunlight. Vitamin D is added to many infant formulas, but it’s not in breastmilk, so breastfed babies (and some formula-fed babies) may need to take a daily vitamin D supplement, as recommended by a pediatrician.
- Iron. Infants usually do not need an iron supplement until around 6 months of age. Breast milk always contains small amounts of easily absorbable iron, so babies who drink breast milk receive their iron stores from mom. If your baby drinks formula, they will not need any additional supplements (unless directed by your doctor) since most infant formulas are iron-fortified. From ages 7-12 months, babies need 11 grams of iron per day and toddlers aged 1-3 years need 7 milligrams per day, per CDC guidance. If your baby eats a mix of breast milk and iron-fortified formula or has transitioned to mostly solid foods, your pediatrician may recommend an iron supplement.
- Fluoride. After your baby is 6 months old, they start to need fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel. Most tap water contains fluoride, however it’s important to check with your child’s dentist or doctor, or call your local water department to learn if your water supply is treated with fluoride. If it is not, you should talk to your doctor about supplementing.
This article has been reviewed by our team of experts.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article does not constitute medical advice. If you have concerns about any health or medical condition, diagnosis, or treatment you should consult with your pediatrician or a licensed healthcare provider.