Consider vitamin supplements a drug to be prescribed, in correct doses, by your doctor. Megadoses of vitamins, touted as cure-alls for many adult diseases, should not be given to children.
Unless their doctor determines otherwise, exclusively breastfed term infants do not need extra vitamins. Human milk contains all of the essential vitamins. As long as your infant is getting enough milk, he or she is getting enough vitamins. Commercial formulas also contain all the essential vitamins, providing your infant consumes the entire can of formula each day. If your infant averages thirty-two ounces of formula (one liter) a day, extra vitamins are unnecessary unless he needs extra nutrition – for prematurity, for example. If and when your infant drinks less than this amount of formula each day, supplemental vitamins are advised depending on the consistent intake of solid foods.
When to Use Vitamin Supplements
Toddlers and teens are notorious for being picky eaters. Because of the erratic diets of this age group, you may want to discuss your child's nutritional habits with your physician. They will assess overall nutritional status to be sure your child is not underweight, undernourished, or overweight. Nutritional supplemnents, such as omega 3s, fruit- and veggie-based supplements, and vitamins may be needed if your child has very poor nutritional habits. Having this discussion with your doctor also provides a good platform for them to help educate older children on the importance of eating well.