Vitamins and Minerals

Is fluoride supplementation needed in the first year of life?
Fluoride is usually not needed. If your local water is not adequately fluoridated, you use a reverse osmosis filter for your drinking water, or you give your child only bottled water, your child may require fluoride supplementation in the second year of life. To check the fluoride level in your water, call your local water company. Call your county health department to have your well water tested. When you know the results, ask your child’s physician if your child requires fluoride supplementation.

Is vitamin and mineral supplementation needed for 6- to 12-month-old formula-fed babies?
Older infants who still drink formula and who eat a variety of foods that include good sources of iron and vitamins A and C don’t require supplemental vitamins. However, children with certain chronic health problems or healthy children who are finicky eaters may require vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Health Alert: Food Allergies

If there is a strong history of allergy in your family, consult your physician for specific advice about feeding your infant.

As for all babies, breastfeeding is best. However, if you decide not to breastfeed, there are formulas available that are suitable.

Do not start solid foods until 6 months or later. Delay cow’s milk until 1 year of age.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, Guide to Your Child’s Nutrition

Healthy Habits: Safe Food Handling

Use a clean cloth to wipe tops of baby food jars before opening jar. Do not use food from any jar if the safety button is raised, the lid does not “pop” on turning, or if the “use by” date has passed.

Health Alert: No Bottles in Bed

Bottles in bed increase the risk of tooth decay and ear infection.

Healthy Habits: Home Cooking

There are many advantages to home-prepared baby foods. They help your baby adjust to the food your family eats and are less expensive.

Remember, when home preparing baby’s food:

  • Do heat, broil, steam or bake foods.
  • Do use fresh vegetables within a day of purchase so that vitamin A and vitamin C are not lost. Heat vegetables in small amounts of water to preserve nutrients.
  • Do cook meat to a temperature of at least 160° F (instant-read meat thermometer).
  • Do use cooked food within two days.
  • Don’t add salt, sugar, or spices.
  • Avoid using canned food with high levels of salt, sugar, or preservatives.
  • Don’t home prepare spinach, beets, turnips, or collard greens. These foods may contain high levels of nitrate that can cause a problem with the hemoglobin in your baby’s blood.
  • Don’t cook acidic foods such as tomatoes in aluminum. Small amounts of aluminum may dissolve and be absorbed into the food.
  • Avoid copper pots for cooking since the copper may destroy the vitamin C.