Pediatricians generally don’t recommend multivitamins for children who are developing normally and have a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet should provide all of the nutrients that your child needs from the time that they are toddlers on up. However, when children don’t get a well-balanced diet, pediatricians may recommend a multivitamin.
This leaves it up to you in many ways to determine whether your child is getting a balanced diet or not. Here are some considerations for whether your child should take a multivitamin.
Reasons Kids Should Take Multivitamins
Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. Breastfeeding is recommended whenever possible. However, breast milk isn’t fortified with Vitamin D like formula or regular milk is.
Babies who get plenty of sunshine often still get enough vitamin D, but if you live in a climate where it can be difficult to get sunshine or if for any other reason your child is not often in the sun, a Vitamin D supplement may be important for babies who are being breastfed.
Diets that differ from the standard American diet are becoming increasingly popular both for environmental and lifestyle reasons. However, children growing up on vegetarian, vegan, or other diets that differ from the standard may have dietary deficiencies.
This isn’t to say that these diets don’t contain all the nutrients that your child needs. It just may be a lot harder to get your child to eat enough of the vegetables and fruits that they need on these diets, whereas it can be a lot easier to convince your child to drink plenty of milk or eat meat.
Some children restrict their diets themselves. Kids who absolutely refuse to eat certain fruits or vegetables or who do their best to live entirely on chicken nuggets and french fries need multivitamins to stay healthy.
Of course, you should be working with your pediatrician to diversify your child’s diet and teach them to eat healthy foods. Still, in the meantime, a multivitamin can ensure that your child doesn’t suffer nutritional deficiencies.
Some children have medical conditions or take medications that may make it more difficult for their bodies to absorb nutrients properly. In such cases, vitamin supplementation may be recommended.
Talk to your doctor about supplements if your child is on any medication or has a medical condition. Vitamins can interact with the medicine, so it is essential to only give your child a vitamin under the supervision of a pediatrician.
Children who aren’t hitting their developmental milestones for any reason may benefit from a multivitamin. You may not always know why your child isn’t developing as quickly as expected. Sometimes it’s just a matter of differences between children, while other times a medical condition is a fault.
Either way, multivitamin supplementation can help your child to develop normally while you determine why they are experiencing developmental delays.
Children who grow up in cultures that require them to never show their skin may tend to receive less vitamin D than they need. Kids growing up in hard to get to places may get fewer fresh vegetables and fruits than other children.
Children who can’t go out in the sun for any reason may also receive fewer vitamins than they need, especially children with darker skin which absorbs less vitamin D.
Talk To Your Pediatrician About Multivitamins For Your Kid
It is up to you and your pediatrician to decide whether your child would benefit from a multivitamin or not. For kids who don’t need supplementation, vitamins are a waste of money, but for those who may be missing out on an important nutrient, a multivitamin can make the difference between healthy development and health problems.