What Supp? Why Vitamin D is So Important From Birth 7 years ago

What Supp? Why Vitamin D is So Important From Birth

Packing up to leave hospital with a newborn is daunting. Peeping out the window to check the weather, then glancing at the tiny tot and wondering if a fourth blanket would be a step too far is a decision that should be straightforward, when it’s actually blowing our mind.

Then there’s the literature, a bulging book of do’s and don'ts, handed over by a nurse who’s talking, and telling us what’s inside, but we can’t hear, or make sense of anything.

One item on the list that really shouldn't be overlooked is vitamin D. Like a low profile bass player to the band's lauded lead singer, the sunshine vitamin is more important than we realise, bringing the entire health arrangement together. Many of our body’s regulatory and metabolic functions rely on the actions of vitamin D. It maintains calcium and phosphorous levels in the body, allows cells to talk to each other, and helps in the fight against bacteria and viruses.

So, why supplement?

The presentation of a number of cases of rickets, a condition where bones become soft and weak, at Dublin paediatric hospitals some years ago, prompted the HSE to launch a vitamin D policy for the supplementation of infants in Ireland.

Don’t they get enough from their diet?

Research has shown that both breastfed and formula fed babies receive inadequate amounts of vitamin D through their milk source. Add to this the fact that they are only born with 50-60% of their mother’s store, it’s a back foot beginning that can easily lead to deficiency. Once weaned, kids consume a greater variety of foods with some containing vitamin D such as eggs, oily fish and fortified foods including orange juice. The best source is sun exposure, however this isn’t a safe option for young children.

How much vitamin D does my baby need?

From the ages of 0 -12 months, it’s recommended that babies receive 5µg of vitamin D per day. Older children may need continued supplementary support; your GP or public health nurse can advise in this instance.


Should I increase the dosage if my baby is breastfed?

Breastfed, formula fed or those who receive a combination of both all require the same amount of vitamin D.

What brand should I choose?

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has found that three products meet the criteria for adequate supplementation in infants. These are:

Abidec Vitamin D3

Baby VitD3 by Shield Health

Baby D by Kora Healthcare

How do I ensure I don’t over supplement?

A dropper or syringe marked at the correct measure is provided with all liquid vitamin D products. If children are taking other nutritional aids, it’s important these don’t contain an additional supply.

For more on Vitamin D, check out these sites: Food Safety Authority of IrelandHeath Services ExecutiveUniversity College Cork