Daily Dose of Vitamin D

 

Babies need vitamin D for healthy growth and development.   It helps them build strong, healthy bones and teeth.

Babies who don’t get enough vitamin D are at risk of getting rickets, a disease that affects the way bones grow and develop.   Vitamin D can also help prevent certain illnesses in childhood or later in life.

Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency (not having enough) can be prevented by giving a daily supplement (drops) to babies.

Your breastfed baby needs a daily dose of vitamin D until her diet provides other sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight.   But because Canada is located so far north, sunlight isn’t enough at certain times of the year and in certain places.

Sunscreen and clothing, which protect babies from the harmful effects of the sun, won’t allow vitamin D to be formed.

A daily supplement is the way to make sure your baby gets enough vitamin D.

  • Babies who are breastfed should get 400 IU (international units) per day.
  • Babies in northern communities (north of 55° latitude, which is about the level of Edmonton) or who have other risk factors (such as dark skin) should get 800 IU per day between October and April, when there is less sunlight.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether a supplement of 2000 IU/day is right for you.

Since vitamin D is added to infant formulas, most full-term babies receiving formula don’t need extra vitamin D. However, formula-fed babies in northern communities should receive a supplement of 400 IU/day from October to April to ensure they have enough vitamin D.

Source: Canadian Paediatric Society.
Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
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