There’s so much to think about when you’ve got a brand new baby – so we totally get why many new mums and dads may not know that their baby might need to take a Vitamin D supplement.
However, it’s SO important for babies to get their Vit D – especially since Vit D deficiency can cause rickets (weak, soft bones) among other health complications.
You can give babies Vitamin D in the form of liquid drops, which you can either put straight in their mouth, or on the nipple if you’re breastfeeding.
Speaking of: whether or not your baby (under the age of 6 months) actually needs Vitamin D drops depends on how they’re being fed.
Here’s everything you need to know about Vitamin D supplements for your baby…
Should my baby be having Vitamin D drops?
According to the NHS website, if your baby is formula-fed and drinking more than 500ml of formula a day, you don’t need to give them a supplement.
This is because the milk powder is fortified with Vitamin D. They’ll need drops if they’re drinking less than 500ml, though.
If your baby is breastfed, you DO need to give them daily Vit D drops – regardless of whether or not you’re taking a supplement yourself.
The Department of Health says the recommended daily amount breastfed babies should be given is 8.5 – 10 mg (micrograms).
Generally, all children aged 6 months – 5 years are recommended to take a multivitamin containing Vitamin A, C and D.
Are recommendations for BAME babies the same?
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic babies are at greater risk than white babies for Vitamin D deficiency, and for conditions like rickets.
This is due to the fact that darker skin does not absorb as much sunlight, and produce as much Vitamin D as white skin does.
Therefore, if your little one is from an Asian or African-Caribbean background, it’s especially important to make sure they’re taking Vit D drops until they are 6 months, and also the multivitamin from 6 months – 5 years.
Where can you get Vitamin D drops for babies?
Your health visitor and GP can show you where’s best to get the drops suitable for babies. That said, they’re pretty easy to find in supermarkets and pharmacies.
You might also be able to get ’em for free if you qualify for the NHS-run Healthy Start scheme.
Don’t be afraid to pop into your local pharmacy for advice on vitamins for children – though the NHS warns to be careful you’re not accidentally doubling up on any.
Should I be taking a Vitamin D supplement?
Now you know whether your little one’s in need of some Vitamin D, you might be wondering: am I getting enough? Do I need a supplement?
Well, pregnant women and breastfeeding women are recommended to take a daily 400 IU / 10mg (micrograms) supplement (full details are in our article on vitamin D in pregnancy), as is pretty much everyone in the UK during the non-summer months.
“Vitamin D insufficiency is really common in the UK,” says GP Dr Philippa Kaye, “to the extent that everyone is recommended to take a supplement of 400 IU (10 micrograms) of Vitamin D per day from approximately the end of September to April.”
We should add that if you’re really worried about your baby’s Vit D levels (or your own), a simple blood test at your GP can show whether you’re deficient or not.
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