Infant vitamins are the essential organic substances that are required for growth, functioning of the baby and maintenance.
Food supplies the necessary vitamins because the body cannot produce it.
Vitamin D is exceptional to it as it is produced by the sunlight when our skin is exposed to the sun.
Infant vitamins also contain the four fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and water soluble vitamins i.e. vitamin B (folate, niacin, biotin and pantothenic acid) to ensure proper nutrition.
Vitamin supplementation is not needed for the healthy infants taking the formula, unless or until directed by the pediatrician. High doses of certain vitamins cause adverse effects on the children’s health.
High dose of vitamin A causes vomiting, head ache, brain swelling, bone abnormalities and liver damage. High dose of vitamin D leads to heart and kidney damage, and high levels of calcium in blood.
So the high dose vitamins should not be given to children and infants without the advice of the pediatrician.
Premature babies and infants with low birth weight should be supplemented with infant vitamins and special formulas. The specialized formulas should contain more calories per ounce than that of the routine formula.
They are manufactured in a special way such that they are easily absorbed by the immature digestive system. Several brands are available for such formulas (for ex. Similac LBW [Ross Pharmaceuticals] and Similac Special Care).
To discharge the infants from neonatal ICU, proper nutrition has to be established that has to be continued by the parents at their home. The individual recommendations will be given by the infant’s neonatalologists.
Healthy full-term infant may not need the infant vitamins and minerals. Breast-fed milk contains all the necessary nutrients an infant needs. It includes the minerals and vitamins. They are not crucial to the infant’s diet.
In case of deficiency like iron, vitamin K and vitamin D can be supplemented when they become necessary.
Vitamin K in infants:
Infants receive all the vitamins from their healthy mother’s milk that are breast fed, except vitamin D and vitamin K. Human milk contains less vitamin K such that the new born’s immature intestine tract may not produce enough baby’s own supply.
An injection of this vitamin is given to them at the time of birth. Infants will be deficient of vitamin K due to the insufficient exposure to the sunlight and breast-fed by malnourished women.
In such conditions supplements of 200 to 300IU are recommended. Formulas with required vitamins and minerals are given to the infants.
Hence the infant’s vitamins and mineral supplements are available in the formula milk and breast-fed milk.