Vitamins for infants
If the infant is taking formula, there is no need for vitamin supplementation, since vitamins are added to the formula. Otherwise, breastfed babies should receive daily vitamin supplementation, since, if the baby and mother are not exposed to sunlight, vitamin D deficiency can develop. This is rare, but can be easily avoided.
Iron for infants
Premature infants require continued iron supplementation because they did not acquire sufficient iron from the mother, due to a shortened pregnancy. Breastfed babies absorb iron well from breast milk, even though breast milk contains a low concentration of iron, because proteins carrying iron in breast milk are preferentially absorbed by babies. Iron fortification of human milk and formulas assures sufficient iron for nutrition in normal infants. At four months of age, iron fortified cereals can be introduced. Suitable meat preparations can be started following the introduction of pureed vegetables. As a safety precaution, hematocrit and/or hemoglobin screening is recommended at age nine months, to identify anemia. If anemia is noted, an evaluation is initiated to rule out iron deficiency and hemoglobinopathies such as thalassemia trait.