What you need to know about Vitamin D!
Vitamin D is mostly produced by our bodies in response to the sun. Vitamin D deficiency is a problem that can affect Irish people due to our lack of exposure to sunlight. Babies and children need Vitamin D to regulate calcium levels in their bodies. We need vitamin D and Calcium for the healthy development of our bones and teeth. Babies are particularly susceptible to a low levels of Vitamin D and can even go on to develop a severe deficiency which causes a deformity of the bones which is known as rickets. We keep babies out of the sun so even in the brighter months from April to October it is very difficult for them to produce adequate levels. In fact, in Ireland, Vitamin D deficiency is common amongst children and adults alike! A lack of Vitamin D in adults can contribute to the development of osteoporosis and is thought to contribute to other healthcare problems in addition.
It is currently recommended to supplement children from birth to 12 months with 5µg of Vitamin D per day. Children over 12 months of age can also benefit from supplementation. It is recommended to supplement your child with Vitamin D all year round.
Breast of bottle feeding?
Supplementation is recommended for breast and bottle fed babies at the same dose of 5µg daily.
Breast milk contains adequate levels of other multivitamins other than vitamin D and so a product which contains vitamin D only should be given.
Formula has been supplemented with some vitamin D but your child will benefit from additional supplementation. It is important to note though that formula contains a fortified formulation which includes vitamin A so when giving vitamin D just use a product which contains only Vitamin D such as the one I mention below – not a multivitamin as this would result in excessive levels of Vitamin A.
How do I do it?
Giving Vitamin D is fairly straight forward – the biggest challenge is remembering to do it every day!! You can buy it in your local community pharmacy or online here – http://www.milltownpharmacy.ie/cat/vitamin_d
I would recommend leaving it beside your changing table as it is easiest to administer to your baby when they are lying down. You can simply wait until they have opened their mouth and drop it in using the dosage and method recommended by the particular product you are using. It’s really straight forward and none of my three babies ever seemed too bothered by the experience!! I will say that it’s very hard to remember to do it every day…maybe set a reminder on your phone or get into the habit of doing it every day at the same time! If you forget a dose don’t give two doses the next day, just start over with a single dose as normal the next day you remember and continue onwards.
For Abidec Vitamin D drops – five drops using the little dropper which comes with the bottle – http://www.milltownpharmacy.ie/p/abidec_vitamin_d3_drops
For Babyvit D3 Pump you can get an accurate dose using just one pump straight into your babies mouth – http://www.milltownpharmacy.ie/p/babyvit_d3_pump
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page (www.facebook.com/wonderbabacare) or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262. I’m always happy to help!