Important Nutrients to Help Support Growth and Development

  • For infants and toddlers, many nutrients are important for healthy growth and development. As they transition from breast milk or formula to solid foods, it’s important to make sure that they have these nutrients in their diets.1-3


    The AAP recommends that breastfed and partially breastfed infants receive an iron supplement of 1 mg/kg/day starting about 4 to 6 months of age; formula fed infants should receive formula supplemented with iron. The Dietary Recommended Allowance (RDA) for infants 7 to 12 months is 11 mg/day and toddlers 1 to 3 years old should receive 7 mg/day.3

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is important for adequate calcium and phosphorus absorption in the small intestine.

    The AAP recommends that breastfed and partially breastfed infants receive a supplement of 400 IU per day following birth through 12 months4; toddlers should receive 600 IU per day.5

    • Infants on formula supplemented with vitamin D may not need supplements if the formula contains an adequate supply and they are consuming at least 1 qt per day4
    • Toddlers 12 months and older may need a vitamin D supplement even if they consume 1 L of cow’s milk per day2


    DHA is important for fetus and infant brain and eye development. DHA is also important during the transition to solid food.1


    Zinc helps support infants and toddlers with normal growth and development. It also plays an important role in helping the immune system function properly.2

  • Read the monograph Toddler Nutrition, for additional information on

    Read the monograph Toddler Nutrition, for additional information on:

    • Nutrient Intakes of Toddlers vs Recommendations
    • Metabolic Programming
    • Healthy Weight Status
    • DHA in Toddler Nutrition
  • References: 1. Baker R et al. Toddler Nutrition. Mead Johnson and Company. 2007; 1-47. 2. American Academy Committee on Nutrition. In: Kleinman RE, Greer FR, eds. Pediatric Nutrition. 7th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics;2014. 3. Baker RD, Greer FR, for The Committee on Nutrition American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0 –3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;126:1040-50. 4. Wagner CL et al. Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Pediatrics 2008;122:1142-1152. 5. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011.

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