The health of the newborn is the primary concern of every new mom. Often moms are unsure whether their babies are getting enough vitamins. With wide spread prevalence of vitamin supplements, moms wonder whether administering vitamin supplements or feeding the infants formula milk fortified with vitamins could prevent deficiency of vitamins in infants. However, it has been observed that an average healthy breastfed baby does not need any vitamin supplements. In most infants, exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months is enough to prevent ailments occurring from deficiency of vitamins.
Although, vitamins are not externally administered during the first year, sometimes pediatricians prescribe certain vitamins for infants.
Newborns have extremely low level of vitamin K in their bodies. Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, which helps in blood clotting. We get some amount of vitamin K from foods rich in this vitamin, and rest of the vitamin K needed by the body is manufactured in the gut. The immature gut of the infant does not contain enough bacteria capable of producing vitamin K. Since vitamin K could not pass from the mother’s body into the body of the fetus through the placenta, the newborn has hardly any vitamin K stored in the body.
Moreover, after birth, the breast milk does not contain enough vitamin K to nourish the newborn. Low level of vitamin K in infants increases the risk of hemorrhagic disease of the newborn. This causes severe bleeding in the brain leading to brain damage. To prevent hemorrhagic disease of the newborns, your doctor might recommend administration of 1mg of vitamin K injection at birth. If you are scared to hurt your newborn with an intramuscular injection, you can ask the pediatrician to give your baby 2mg of oral parenteral solution at birth. The oral dose could be repeated 7 days and 28 days after birth.
Babies are hardly exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is essential for manufacturing vitamin D. If you are living in a country located on the far northern latitudes, and your breast milk contains inadequate vitamin D, your infant might suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes doctors prescribe vitamin D supplements for infants living in regions that receive less sunlight.