Parenting Tip Ep 5: DHA & Vitamin D

As first time parents, you may be overwhelmed by the supplements out there for baby. We were and I remember the first question that came to our minds was “Do we really need all these?”

Thankfully, after much research and consultation with experienced families, we managed to narrow things down. These are the other two supplements your baby will need. Will it be harmful if they don’t take these? No one has come forth to indicate so, and we don’t think so either. However, if these are helpful for your baby’s development and we suggest you look into them. 

Vitamin D is for bone development and regardless of the stories you might have heard, it’s more than just parking your baby out in the sunshine on the balcony. That works only for superman, I think. 🙂

I think my parents did that to me when I was a baby but let’s just say there is a better way to ensure your baby gets their appropriate dosage of Vitamin D. You can still bring them out for strolls (natural sunlight is always good) and top it up with Vitamin D supplement. The recommended dosage is 400 units per day. In some packaging, they may use mcg and you need to look for those that provide at least 10 mcg per day. Vitamin D can be given to the baby right from birth.

Recommendation:

DHA is an important supplement
DHA forms an important supplement for your baby’s nutrition needs

DHA is the other supplement, important for your baby’s nutrition needs. It enhances brain and eye development for your baby. 

The confusion starts when the pharmacist tries to introduce a stronger DHA supplement for the mom, suggesting that the baby can get their DHA through the breast milk. That is not wrong but there is no way to measure how much of that DHA goes into the baby’s system. 

What we recommend is to have separate DHA supplements for both moms and babies. Moms after giving birth will also need to replenish their minerals, and taking DHA helps in that. As for babies, it is better to get DHA for them separately. The DHA for baby consumption comes usually in small fish-like capsules with tail tips that can be twisted off to pour the DHA (oil-like substance) into the breast or formula milk. DHA is recommended for babies after 4 weeks old. The recommended dosage (usually 1 capsule) is written on the packaging and it’s best to follow that unless otherwise advised by your paediatrician. 

Recommendation: 

Conclusion

The choice of nutrition for your baby is an important consideration. We highlighted essential supplements such as Vitamin D and DHA. Both are important supplements for your baby’s development and we recommend separate portions for moms and babies, instead of trying to have it passed down from mom to baby through breast milk. A common question is whether it is a bad idea to give other supplements to your baby. We don’t think it is bad but so as not to be vague about it, it doesn’t help any human to take in too many supplements. There may be no harm but equally there isn’t a clear benefit either. 

Got a question about Vitamin D or DHA? Leave us a comment and we will get back to you.

 

 

Parenting Tip Ep 4: Breast vs Formula Milk

Breast milk or formula? Unfortunately, this is not a choice families can make easily until the baby is born.

Prior to the birth of our daughter, we didn’t have a clue whether I can express sufficient milk. Thankfully, it turned out really well and I have been 100% breastfeeding our baby.

Now, what if moms cannot express enough milk, the only substitute for breast milk is formula milk. 

I’m sure you might have heard or researched about milk scandals. Let’s dive in and see what your options are.

Is Formula Milk Safe?

Shopping for the right infant formula milk
Formula Milk: Are they safe?

Formula milk drew flak for its production quality in the last decade. In 2008, formula milk produced in China was found to have high levels of melamine mixed into it. Just for historical understanding, some companies were adding water to raw milk to increase its overall volume. As a result, the protein content of the formula milk powder dipped. Melamine was added to counter this problem as it increases the nitrogen content of the milk and hence its protein level. Due to this unethical act, many children who took those formula milk ended up with kidney stones and at one stage, up to 11 countries stopped their import of formula milk from China completely.

Since then, China has cracked down on companies doing this but still the concern over China-produced milk powder is still valid. In fact, as long as it is produced by a facility, there is always a concern over its safety regardless of location.

A real story…we were in Sydney in Dec 2017 for our family vacation and we passed by a hypermart one day. To our surprise, the formula milk were all swept clean by some Chinese tourists. They were buying them in bulk and shipping back to China. The same thing happens in Hong Kong. Thus, it is safe to say that the concern over formula milk is still valid today.

Having said this, formula milk is still the only go to baby nutrition substitute for breast milk. As such, it is crucial to look for safe and trusted brands such as Similac, Enfamil or Gerber. These are USA brands and come under close scrutiny. Though they don’t have to come strictly under FDA approval before marketing, regulations stipulate federal nutrient requirements and formula milk manufacturers have to notify FDA in detail prior to marketing a new formula. 

We share this information with the intention for parents to understand the concerns and development in the formula milk industry. Chances are formula milk will come into play at some point unless you can keep up with a 100% breastfeeding schedule. That is challenging for most moms.

Are there other concerns with Formula Milk?

Some parents also try not to give formula milk because it tends to result in babies rejecting breast milk completely in favour of formula milk that comes with a stronger (ie. sweeter) taste. Yes, babies like sweet things too and once they have a chance to compare, they may just reject one for the other. Babies on a formula milk diet also tend to have poo that are thicker and will experience constipation more frequently.

Breast milk on the other hand does not have the above problems, and comes with a wider spectrum of antibodies which are beneficial for the baby. 

For moms who cannot provide breast milk all the time, it is also common to use a mixed diet of breast milk and formula milk. In this way, the baby’s overall needs are met and the benefits of breast milk are not totally lost either.

Conclusion

Breast milk is definitely the recommended choice. Yet it is sometimes difficult for moms, especially working moms to express sufficient milk for their baby. And what if you have twins? The demand on you would be overwhelming. Thus, the alternative which is formula milk becomes a staple source of nutrition. Despite all the scandal and concerns surrounding its quality, the way is to check and order from trusted sources.