The Department of Health recommend that all babies, whether breastfed or formula fed, should receive a 5 microgram (5µg) supplement of vitamin D3 every day from birth until 12 months of age.
Vitamin D is important because it helps to absorb calcium and so is important for developing healthy bones.
Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because our bodies can make vitamin D from the sun. However, it is not possible for babies to safely get the vitamin D they need from the sun due to their sensitive skin. Also in Ireland, due to our ever changing weather, it is difficult for most adults to get enough vitamin D from the sun too. So while breastfeeding it is advised to take a 5ug supplement yourself and to include vitamin D rich foods.
What type of Vitamin D should I give my baby?
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form of vitamin D for infants. The vitamin D3 product you use should be in a liquid form suitable for infants and contain only vitamin D3. Products that contain other vitamins as well as vitamin D (such as multivitamin products) should not be used. You can buy vitamin D3 products for babies in pharmacies, some supermarkets and other outlets. It is important that you buy products that are suitable for babies, and contain Vitamin D3 only.
How do I give my baby the Vitamin D?
Check the product label for the number of drops or amount of liquid you need to give your baby. The correct amount is 5 micrograms (5μg). Give your baby the correct dose directly into their mouth.
Are there any risks if I give my baby too much Vitamin D3?
Very high amounts of vitamin D are harmful. The recommended 5 micrograms (5μg) vitamin D a day is very safe for babies. You need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and give the correct dose. If you forget to give your baby their daily Vitamin D3, then start again the next day but do not give more than one dose per day.
Vitamin D in the weaning diet
Once your baby begins solid foods it is a good idea to include vitamin D rich foods in their weaning diet to boost their intake. However it is important to continue giving them their vitamin D drop as they will not get enough through their diet alone. Vitamin D rich foods include:
- Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel
- Fortified baby cereals
Try these tasty vitamin D rich recipes for baby
Fish cakes www.first1000days.ie/recipe/fish-cakes/