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Vitamin C is one of the 13 essential vitamins your baby needs on a daily basis to support proper growth and development. Vitamin C is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. It's also found in your breast milk and formula. When the time comes to start introducing solid foods to your infant's diet, adding the right fruits and vegetables helps your baby get a proper intake of vitamin C.
Functions and Intake
Vitamin C is essential for proper wound healing. It aids in the adsorption of iron and calcium. It's necessary for healthy skin, bones and teeth. It also functions as an antioxidant and helps protect your cells and fatty acids from damage caused by free radicals. If your baby is not getting enough of vitamin C, it can lead to bleeding of the gums, dry skin, bruising and increased risk of infections. Your baby's daily vitamin C needs depend on her age. Infants 6 months or younger need 40 mg., while infants between 7 to 12 months need 50 mg. of vitamin C, according to the Linus Pauling Institute 1.
Fruits and Juices
Many fruit juices are also good sources of the vitamin; recommended juices include raw orange juice, pineapple-grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, pink grapefruit juice and pineapple-orange juice. Make a delicious vitamin C-rich fruit puree with fresh fruits and juice. Alternately, chop fresh fruits into small pieces and give to your baby as finger food. The amount of food your baby eats increases with age; at first you might only get her to eat few spoonfuls of fruit puree. Introduce these foods slowly, while still providing most nutrition in the form of breast milk or formula.
Vegetables are another excellent source of vitamin C. According to the USDA, vegetables that are high in vitamin C include:
- sweet red peppers
- sweet green peppers
Serve vegetables by quickly steaming them and then pureeing with a little boiled water. Cool before serving; store additional servings in the freezer in small plastic containers. Add fruits or cooked pasta to make more nutritious food for your solids eater.
Many commercially prepared baby foods made with fruits and vegetables also contain vitamin C. Check the food labels to find out the vitamin content. Vitamin C is water-soluble; it's easily destroyed or removed during cooking, according to the Colorado State University Extension. Avoid cooking for long periods of time. Steam, rather than boil, to help preserve vitamin C. Vitamin C can cause toxicity when consumed in high doses. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that the only source of vitamin C for babies younger than 12 months should be in the form of foods and drinks. The upper intake limit for children between 1 and 3 years old is 400 mg. per day.
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