Whether you are having your first baby or your third baby, it is always hard to know what is best for your child. With advice and recommendations constantly changing, parents can quickly become confused and overwhelmed.
When it comes to the health of a child, parents are naturally cautious. This is why relying on the advice and support of your pharmacist during the early years is vital. Pharmacists can provide mother and baby recommendations for everything from nutrition and feeding to skin health, and so much more. And a common question that pharmacists often hear is, does my baby need vitamin D?
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps the body to regulate calcium and phosphate. Calcium is stored in the bones and will help your baby to grow up big and strong.
Without vitamin D, children can suffer from calcium deficiency. This can lead to bone deformities such as rickets and can lead to bone conditions later in life.
We can get vitamin D from our diet and exposure to sunlight. But since young children should not spend too long exposed to sunlight, this is not a suitable way to ensure they get enough vitamin D.
Does my baby need vitamin D drops?
Doctors recommend that all children from the age of 6 months to 5 years have a daily vitamin D supplement.
Children given a diet of formula will not need vitamin D drops because formula milk is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. If your baby has more than 500ml of infant formula per day, they will get enough vitamin D from this source.
Are Vitamin D drops necessary for breastfed babies?
Vitamin D drops are more beneficial for breastfed babies as they are most at risk of deficiencies. While breast milk is excellent for your child, there is the risk that your vitamin deficiencies can be passed to your child.
Even if you are taking a vitamin D supplement, there may not be sufficient levels in your milk. To be sure your child is getting enough vitamins and minerals, a daily supplement will help.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in babies?
The majority of people with low vitamin D levels will have no symptoms, but children and babies may display some symptoms. Their bones may not develop correctly, and they might have unexplained aches and pains. One study also found that children and babies with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to catch respiratory infections.
Children with rickets will tire quickly and may be reluctant to work. They may also have skeletal deformities such as thickening of the ankles, wrists and knees. And finally, they may have weaker teeth with thinning enamel which increases their risk of developing cavities.
What happens if I don’t give vitamin D to my baby?
If a child does not get enough vitamin D from their diet, they may become deficient. This deficiency can impact the way their bones develop. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, which causes the bones to become softer and weaker. The child might not grow as much as their peers, and they may also have more fragile bones.
How long do babies take vitamin D drops?
Children should take a daily vitamin D supplement from the age of 6 months to 5 years. You can purchase vitamin drops that contain vitamin A, C and D. These are recommended to help give your child the best possible start in life.
Giving your child a daily supplement might make you feel nervous, so it’s important to get this from a source you can trust. We stock a range of vitamins suitable from the age of 6 months to 5 years. At this point, your child can begin taking a multivitamin alongside a healthy and varied diet.