Diet and Nutrition

Vitamin Supplements: Do Infants and Toddlers Need Them?

January 11, 2017   /

Consult with your pediatric health care professional about vitamin supplementation and discuss your personal choice. Most doctors recommend liquid multivitamins for infants 6 to 12 months of age. Standard infant liquid vitamins, such as Enfamil® Poly-Vi-Sol®, are usually recommended. Infant multivitamins with fluoride are prescribed if you do not live in an area with fluoridated water. You cannot purchase multivitamins with fluoride over the counter.    

Giving vitamins to your child is a personal choice. Many scientific associations, including the Academy of Pediatrics, do not universally recommend vitamins. The question is: “Does your child eat a balanced diet?” If your child is a poor eater or is a vegetarian, a multivitamin is perhaps a good idea. However, vitamins can interact with medications, so using large doses of specific nutrients (sometimes known as megadosing) is not recommended.

Remember:

  • Vitamins cannot replace food
  • Vitamins do not stimulate appetite
  • Vitamins do not replace macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), which are essential for growth and weight gain

Herbal supplements
Herbal supplements can act like drugs. Consult your pediatric health care professional before giving your child an herbal supplement.

 

Reference and recommended reading
American Academy of Pediatrics. Vitamin supplements and children. Healthychildren.org Web site. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/nutrition/Pages/Vitamin-Supplements-and-Children.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token. Updated November 5, 2012. Accessed May 9, 2013.