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Vitamins for your baby

Vitamins for baby

Vitamins for baby – what they do

Vitamins perform a wide variety of functions, from forming red blood cells to boosting the immune system to helping release energy from food. They also support the body’s metabolic processes. Thirteen vitamins are known to be essential for normal growth, development and maintenance of our bodies.

Types of vitamins for baby

Vitamins are divided into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

  • The four fat-soluble vitamins are A, D, E, and K. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed with the help of fat from foods.
  • The water-soluble vitamins are vitamin C and the eight B vitamins: Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Pyridoxine (B6), Vitamin B12, Biotin (a B vitamin), and Folic acid (a B vitamin).

Sources of vitamins

With the exception of vitamin D, which is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight the body cannot manufacture the other 11 vitamins, so you need to get them from the food you eat. All the essential vitamins are found in a wide variety of foods: fruits, berries, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, dairy, fish and seafood, poultry, and meat.

Most of the B vitamins can be found in whole and fortified grains and cereals, as well as in dairy foods, meat fish and poultry, some leafy greens, and potatoes.

Vitamin B-12 can be a concern with strict vegetarians who do not eat any foods from animal origin. The only good source is from animals, including meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, and dairy foods.

Read also the article Minerals and your baby

How much vitamins does my child need? 

Only very small amounts of vitamins are needed, but symptoms from vitamin deficiencies may develop if vitamins are lacking in adequate amounts. On the other hand, when taken in excess, as with  supplements, some vitamins may be harmful.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy children do not need vitamin supplements, provided they have a balanced diet of varied fruits and vegetables, whole grain complex carbohydrates, fat and protein.

What it does:

It promotes calcium absorption and builds and maintain bones and teeth.

Sources:

6 – 11 months: Most formulas are fortified with vitamin D. If you are breast-feeding, ask your pediatrician if you need to supplement your baby’s diet with vitamin D.

12 – 24 months: Toddlers who drink vitamin D-fortified whole milk will get an adequate amount of vitamin D. Natural sources include mackerel, salmon, sardines, and egg yolks. Fortified sources include milk and milk products, butter, cheese, and some breakfast cereals. In addition, careful and moderate exposure to sunlight without sun screen is a good source of Vitamin D.

Signs of deficiency:

Thinning and weakening of bones

What it does:

It helps bind cells together, helps heal wounds, and strengthens blood vessel walls.

Sources:

6 – 11 months: Guavas, kiwis, papayas, and cantaloupes; red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers; parsley; raspberries, honeydew melons, pineapples, blueberries, grapes, and apricots; broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, kale, snow peas, cabbage, and romaine lettuce; plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, bananas, apples, and pears; and broad beans, rutabagas, butternut squash, potatoes, mixed greens, okra, peas, parsnips, turnips, yams, sweet potatoes and plantains.

12 – 24 months: Guavas, kiwis, papayas, strawberries, oranges, lemons, limes, cantaloupes, grapefruits, and tangerines; red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers; parsley; mangos, raspberries, honeydew melons, blackberries, star fruit, pineapples, blueberries, grapes, and apricots; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, cauliflower, kale, snow peas, cabbage, garlic, mustard greens, beet greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, and radishes, watermelon, bananas, cherries, plums, peaches, apples, nectarines, and pears; broad beans, tomatoes, Swiss chard, rutabagas, collard greens, mixed greens (loose leaf lettuce), basil, butternut squash, potatoes, okra, peas, parsnips, turnips, yams, sweet potatoes, plantains, asparagus, and artichokes

Signs of deficiency:

Bleeding gums and loose teeth; bruising; dry, rough skin; slow healing; and appetite loss

What it does:

It promotes calcium absorption and builds and maintain bones and teeth.

Sources:

6 – 11 months: Most formulas are fortified with vitamin D. If you are breast-feeding, ask your pediatrician if you need to supplement your baby’s diet with vitamin D.

12 – 24 months: Toddlers who drink vitamin D-fortified whole milk will get an adequate amount of vitamin D. Natural sources include mackerel, salmon, sardines, and egg yolks. Fortified sources include milk and milk products, butter, cheese, and some breakfast cereals. In addition, careful and moderate exposure to sunlight without sun screen is a good source of Vitamin D.

Signs of deficiency:

Thinning and weakening of bones

What it does:

It helps form red blood cells, muscles, and other tissues and prevents cell damage, and preserves fatty acids.

Sources:

Olive oil; whole grains; leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, broccoli, spinach, mustard greens, and parsley; avocados; nuts and nut butters; and some seafood.

Signs of deficiency:

Blood problems in premature infants; and neurological problems in older children.

What it does:

It’s needed for normal blood clotting and helps maintain healthy bones.

Sources:

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli; potatoes; whole grains such as oats, wheat bran; and soy beans.

Signs of deficiency:

Excessive bleeding.

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