Our 1-year-old just weaned off formula, and now I’m thinking about vitamin B12 and vitamin D. What should I do to make sure she continues to get enough of these vitamins?
You are right to be concerned about these two nutrients now that your child is weaned as they are both important for growth and development. The recommendations as to how to obtain these nutrients are the same as they would be for anyone else. You have a choice of outright supplements or fortified foods, and for vitamin D, you also have the option of sunlight if you live in the right climate. Both vitamins are available in liquid and spray form and are, therefore, fairly easy to administer to children. Supplemental forms of vitamin B12 will often have many more times the RDA because it is such a small nutrient—a 1-year-old needs less than 1 microgram per day. So a supplement 3x a week should cover the bases. Your child needs 600 IU of vitamin D daily, which can be met by a daily supplement, especially if, like me, you suffer through some long winter months devoid of sunshine.
Many plant milks are fortified with vitamin B12 and D—just check the labels—so these can be really easy choices for parents to use to add these nutrients into the diet. Soymilk has the highest fat content of the plant milks, so that would be my first choice for a weaned child. Additionally, many other foods are fortified with vitamin B12 that you can feed your child, like cereal, veggie-based meat products, and nutritional yeast. And, luckily, vitamin D is one nutrient that is easily tested if you are concerned about your child’s (or your own) intake.
Posted in Advice Columns, Everyday Nutrition