You might be hearing quite a bit about getting enough vitamin D in your baby’s diet at this stage, with good reason. Vitamin D3 is important because it helps our bodies use calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth and this is especially important for your growing baby.
Vitamin D3 is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, this is because it is manufactured in the skin from the sun. But as we live in Ireland we do not get an adequate amount of sunshine to make the level of vitamin D3 needed, especially during the winter months (October – March) and even if we did, your baby’s young skin is very sensitive to sunlight and should not be directly exposed to the sun. As there are very few dietary sources of vitamin D3, the usual recommendation is for your baby to take vitamin D3 supplements.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) now recommends that all babies, from birth to 12 months, whether breastfed or formula fed, be given a daily supplement of 5 μg (micrograms) of vitamin D3. A couple of tips about giving your baby vitamin D3 supplements:
- This should be provided by a supplement containing vitamin D3 exclusively and not part of a multivitamin.
- Vitamin D3 supplements are available in pharmacies and some large supermarkets without a prescription.
- It is very important that you read the packet instructions carefully. If you forget to give your baby its daily vitamin D3 supplement, there is no need to double the recommended dose the next day, it is best to start again with one dose.
- If your baby has already been prescribed vitamins you should seek the advice of your doctor before giving your baby any additional supplementation like vitamin D3.
If you have further questions about vitamin D3, please do contact our Careline and speak to one of our Nutritionists.