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Women's Health

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Need for Supplements With Breast-Feeding

Although breast-fed babies get the best possible nutrition, they sometimes require certain vitamin or nutritional supplements to maintain or improve their health. Children younger than 1 year of age may benefit from a vitamin D supplement. Talk with your doctor about how much and what sources of vitamin D are right for your child. Rickets is a rare condition that can develop when too little vitamin D is absorbed.

After 4 months of age, your baby will probably not get enough iron from breast milk alone. Your doctor may prescribe a liquid iron supplement until your baby gets enough iron from iron-fortified formulas or foods high in iron. Breast-fed babies born prematurely may be prescribed a liquid iron supplement by 1 month of age.

In rare situations, babies breast-fed by mothers who are strict vegans (vegetarians who do not eat eggs, cheese, or milk) may need a vitamin B12 supplement.

Other Works Consulted

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics, 126(5): 1040-1050. Available online:

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofJune 4, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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