Should I give my toddler a multivitamin?

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I hadn’t even considered the question of a daily multivitamin until a friend asked me about it the other day. Should my almost-2-year-old be chewing a sweet gummy daily?

Naturally, I turned to Facebook and got a wide range of responses. Some mom-friends are doling out a multivitamin, plus fish oil, plus a B-12 supplement. Others just rely on a single daily vitamin. But few, if any, pals chimed in that they don’t give their kid a daily vitamin at all.

I tend to think we should be getting our nutrients from our food. That’s easy to say as an adult. I know what I need to eat to keep me healthy, so I make it a part of my diet. Can we say the same for our kids?

Some days my kid seems to subsist solely on Cheddar Bunnies (the organic version of goldfish you get at Whole Foods. Same thing.) Other days, it’s just cheese. Or miraculously it seems as if he eats virtually nothing but still seems to survive with little loss of energy and attitude.

Of course, that’s not for lack of trying to get him to eat healthy, or eat at all. In fact this exact exchange happened this weekend:

Me: Would you like a snack? How about an apple?

My kid: Bunnies.

Me: Apple?

Kid: Bunnies!

Me (said with my most excited salesperson enthusiasm): Apple!

Kid (equally enthusiastically and super cute): Bunnies!

He won. He had one sliver of apple and a handful of the cheesy snack. I threw some raisins in there, too, for good measure.

I don’t choke food down this throat (or try not to) or coax or bribe. I feel like that’s just not a healthy approach to food. I want him to enjoy it, not feel forced to shovel it into his mouth, especially if he hates the taste. I want him to explore food and try new flavors. Even if that sometimes means just cheese crackers. But, for the most part, he eats what we eat (no separate dinner for toddler before the grown ups eat) and gets a pretty good variety of food over the course of a normal week. And just for the record, tonight he willingly ate tons of broccoli and spinach snuck into a messy delicious spaghetti sauce.

So does he need a multivitamin?

I do remember eating Flintstones’ chewables as a kid. Do they still make those?

The Internet, of course, was split on the issue. Some say, sure the extra piece of mind is great, especially if your kid only eats white foods. Others say parents might just rely on the vitamin and forgo efforts to encourage healthy eating.

The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t think kids who receive a well-balanced diet need vitamins. Plus, they note large doses of vitamins “can produce toxic symptoms, ranging from nausea to rashes to headaches and sometimes even more adverse effects.” So perhaps that begins to answer my questions of why not and what’s the harm?

That seemed to be the opinion of my pediatrician, who I absolutely adore and trust wholeheartedly. In an email, he told me that he agreed with my thoughts that nutrients should come from food, and that if my boy eats real food, no need for vitamins.

So for now, I think we’ll skip the supplement. I say this knowing my kid hasn’t entered a white-only food stage and still will gobble up veggies sometimes.

One thought on “Should I give my toddler a multivitamin?

  • January 16, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    The internet is split on the matter that’s for sure.

    As we all know it, kids can live from schnitzel alone for supper if it’s up to them but we know better.
    The issue now a day is that balanced diet is not enough to receive all the vitamins and minerals, of course you will be healthier than most but the market out there has made it much harder to do with all the hormones injection into animals, plants, soil etc.

    You know that by eating cow’s meat today you actually get 60% from the nutrients then you would have 15 years back and that’s when we need a kicker to fill the missing, not to replace.

    The body works as a whole and it is a constant practice to make sure you are fulfilled with all the right nutrients at all time, saying that the body also knows what it needs and dumps the excessive that is not needed, a way that you will overdose yourself is probably by taking 5-10 pills of multivitamins a day where the body might overload and overdose itself but like everything else we are talking about balance and taking a pill per day won’t come to that.

    Now, kids but kids, their body has to deal with growth, injuries, strain, improper diet (of course depends on the parents how much) and many other factors and for their body to grow properly and treat itself better it needs the energy coming from the vitamins and minerals. In days that day didn’t eat properly, which happens once in a while they will have the extra kick coming from the multivitamins and minerals. Same goes for adults of course.

    This subject can go on and on, I do believe it is proper to give kids the extra kick since most likely their body needs it. Have you heard about Garden of life, they are a great company with great products and the only one to find a way to make Multivitamins and minerals Raw and not just organic. They have specific multivitamins for kids as well.

    I actually made a review regarding them you can read at if you want to know more about them and their products. And if you reconsider your choice there is a link there to their shop you can read and get the products from.

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