At what age should you start giving your baby vitamins?

When is the right time to introduce vitamin A, C and D to your baby? For breastfed babies in particular, it's sooner than you might think...

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While a healthy diet is the best thing you can do to stay fit and keep that precious immune system tip top, lots of us also supplement what we might not be getting enough of with a daily vitamin. 

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But at what age should you start giving your little one vitamins? We asked Dr Philippa Kaye about this one as weren’t too sure here at MFM HQ.

She told us that babies who are fed formula milk do not need any further vitamin supplementation until 6 months old, if they are drinking over approximately 500mls per day, as the formula is fortified (unless it’s organic, in which case no supplements are added).

However, breastfed babies will need a supplement of vitamin D from birth, if they are exclusively breast fed. 

“Breast milk is packed with vitamins but extra vitamin D is needed, even if the mother is taking a vitamin D supplement,” Philippa explains. This is supported by UNICEF who included the recommendation in its most recent Baby Friendly Initiative statement from January 2017.

And, as our kids get older, it isn’t always easy to ensure that they have a healthy and varied diet – so the current recommendation is that children aged 6 months to 5 years are given a multivitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C and D, she adds.

Philippa also gives the reminder that if you are eligible for the Healthy Start programme then you can get free vitamins.

Dr Philippa Kaye is a London GP who has written several books on pregnancy and childcare including The First Five Years. See www.drphilippakaye.com and follow her on twitter @drphilippakaye

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