Special Nutritional Needs of Newborns

If you are feeding your newborn breast milk then there simply will be no need of any type of supplementation except maybe Vitamin D.

However if you are feeding your baby formula be sure to talk with the doctor about vitamin D supplements for your baby. Breast milk and formula may not provide enough vitamin D, which is essential to help your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus — necessary for strong bones. Too little vitamin D may also cause rickets, a softening and weakening of bones.

There are also two points of view in place about whether or not you need to supplement the breast feeding newborn's diet with Vitamin D.

The theory is that if the mother has not had enough sun exposure or vitamin D during her pregnancy then the newborn's diet of breast milk should be supplemented.
The baby may also not need Vitamin D if he or she spends a lot of time outside in the sun. Vitamin D can be synthesized quite simply by the baby when the sun shines on its skin.

If you live in a northern climate where there is not much sun or where you experience a long winter then the baby may definitely need supplementation. In southern climates limit the newborn's exposure and apply sunscreen.

The recommended time that a baby should spend in the sun every day is twenty minutes. It is best to avoid the hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest.

Breast fed infants tend to be better nourished. Breast milk contains lactose, protein and fat and is easily digested by a newborn's immature system.

None of the important antibodies found in breast milk are found in manufactured formula, which means that formula doesn’t provide the baby with the added protection against infection and illness that breast milk does.

Although breast feeding is recommended there may be some women who are unable to provide natural milk to their child for one reason or another. This means feeding your baby with a commercially prepared formula.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate formula companies to ensure that they provide all the known necessary nutrients (including vitamin D) in their formulas.
Commercial formulas are coming closer to duplicating what is in mother's milk but haven’t matched their exact combination and composition. The substances in breast milk are too complex to identify and imitate so that it is effective.