The Vitamin Shoppe VitaminShoppe.com

Nutrition Recommendations for Babies

For Birth through the First Year

Definitions

  • DRIs = Dietary Reference Intakes. Different nutrients include RDAs, AIs, and ULs.
    • RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance. The average daily level that most healthy people need to prevent a deficiency. RDAs vary by age and gender.
    • AIs = Adequate Intakes. Used when there is not enough information to develop an RDA. A "best guess" amount based on the available evidence.
    • UL = Tolerable Upper Intake Level. The maximum daily intake that is unlikely to cause harm with long-term use.

Recommendations

Calcium: Calcium needs increase steadily throughout childhood and remain high throughout the teen years, when the bulk of the bone development takes place.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 200 mg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 260 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 0-6 months: 1,000 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 7-12 months: 1,500 mg

Choline: Choline is needed for optimal brain and nervous system development. Many children might not get enough of this important nutrient.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intakes (AI) 0-6 months: 125 mg
    • Adequate Intakes (AI) 7-12 months: 150 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Folate: Adequate folate is important to maintain normal growth rates in children.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 65 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 80 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Iodine: Babies need enough iodine for normal thyroid function and for proper brain and bone development.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 110 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 130 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Iron: Breast-fed babies get about 0.27 mg of iron per day from breast milk.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months old: 0.27 mg
    • Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) 7-12 months: 11 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 7-12 months: 40 mg

Vitamin A: Food and supplement labels list vitamin A in International Units (IUs), but as the availability of vitamin A to the body varies depending on the source. Nutritionists use "Retinol Activity Equivalents" (1 IU of vitamin A (retinol) = 0.3 mcg RAE).

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 400 mcg RAE
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 500 mcg RAE
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) Birth-3 years: 600 mcg RAE (2,000 IU)

Vitamin B12: Breast-fed babies of vegetarian or vegan moms may not get enough vitamin B12.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 0.4 mcg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 0.5 mcg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Vitamin B12 appears safe at all intake levels from food and supplements.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a key player in immune system and collagen health, and helps improve iron absorption.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-6 months: 40 mg
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 7-12 months: 50 mg
    • Upper Intake Level (UL): Not established for this age group

Vitamin D: Breast-fed babies should receive supplemental vitamin D, as breast milk contains very little of this nutrient.

  • Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)
    • Adequate Intake (AI) 0-12 months: 400 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 0-6 months: 1,000 IU
    • Upper Intake Level (UL) 7-12 months: 1,500 IU

How much is too much?

  • Most children won't get too much calcium from diet alone, but when combined with supplements, it's possible to overdose.
  • You can't overdose on naturally occurring folate, but fortified foods and folic acid-containing supplements should be consumed in moderation.
  • Iodine excess can cause symptoms similar to iodine deficiency.
  • Excess iron can cause serious organ toxicity.
  • Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so it can build up in the body and cause toxicity. Only pre-formed vitamin A from animal sources and supplements containing vitamin A as retinol or retinyl palmitate can cause toxicity; pro-vitamin A from plant sources doesn't have this effect.
  • Excess vitamin C can cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.
  • Most children are more likely to have a deficiency of vitamin D than to be getting too much. However, vitamin D can be toxic in large amounts.

Copyright 2014 Aisle7. All rights reserved. Aisle7.com

Learn more about Aisle7, the company.

Learn more about the authors of Aisle7 products.

Information expires June 2015.