Vitamins and Fluoride
Vitamins are an important part of a baby’s diet. Fortunately most infant formulas and even breastmilk contain the vitamins that your baby requires, with the exception of Vitamin D in breastfed babies. Make sure you are using a formula enriched with iron unless otherwise directed by your physician.
Should your baby require additional vitamin supplementation, most vitamin drops are available over the counter. The best way to give these drops is by placing the dropper in the side of the mouth at the back corner near the base of the tongue and sweezing the bulb on the dropper several times to release all of the medication. This way you bypass the majority of the taste buds, making the experience more pleasant for you and your baby. Younger babies do not have the ability to move foods/liquids forward with their tongue so they will have to swallow the medicine. You can also mix the medicine in a small amount of food or formula but your baby may taste it and refuse to eat.
Flouride is not needed until six months of age. At this point, it is very important for babies to receive the correct amount of fluoride in their diet. The main source for fluoride is from tap water or fluoridated bottled water. If you are using bottled water that does not contain added fluoride (most brands do not), your child will need fluoride supplementation. Most city regulated tap water contains the recommended amount of fluoride to prevent tooth decay and is sufficient for your child. If you have well water, you need to have your water tested to determine if it contains enough fluoride.
You should never use fluoride toothpaste until after 2 years of age because children younger than this will swallow most of the toothpaste and can get too much fluoride. This can lead to a condition called fluorosis of the teeth where permanent white spots develop on the surface of the teeth. When using fluoride toothpaste over the age of 2, use only a pea sized amount and make sure that your child is spitting the toothpaste out.
Vitamin D is important because it helps to prevent a condition known as rickets where the bones become deformed. The AAP currently recommends that all babies receive at least 200IU of Vitamin D per day. If your baby is receiving at least 17 ounces of formula per day, he is receiving sufficient vitamin D to meet the daily needs. Breastfed babies may not be receiving enough, depending on sunlight exposure and the mother’s vitamin D status. Therefore, the AAP recommends that all breastfed babies receive supplemental vitamin D starting before 2 months of age.