Does my baby need vitamin drops?

The UK Department of Health recommends that all children between 6 months and 5 years receive vitamin supplements.  This is especially important if they are fussy eaters and/or if they fall into a high risk group for Vitamin D deficiency.  The advice is nicely laid out at http://www.nhs.uk/Planners/birthtofive/Pages/Vitamins.aspx.  If you are pregnant and under 18 or if you are receiving certain benefits and have children under 4 you may qualify for Healthy Start vouchers and free vitamins.  Check here.  Some health centres will sell vitamins (much cheaper than the supermarket) to those parents who do not qualify for the free vouchers. 

This is the link to the department of health’s advice about vitamin D supplementation for the at risk population. 

We are becoming more and more aware that Vitamin D deficiency is very common amongst members of the London population with darker skins.  This is because we synthesise Vitamin D from sunlight; people with heavily pigmented skins, those who cover up for religious or cultural reasons and even those who wear lots of sun block are more likely to be Vitamin D deficient.  Babies born to mothers from these groups who did not receive adequate Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding will also be deficient and that is not at all ideal for growing bones.  There is currently no national guideline for Vitamin D supplementation in the UK but a fairly sensible looking one came out of Barts and the London Hospital in January 2011 and this is what I currently go by.  Many doctors are still not quite sure what to do about Vitamin D deficiency, particularly if there are not many symptoms attached to it.  You may like to download the Barts protocol here as a basis for discussion with your GP.  A number of studies are under way and advice may change over the next few years.

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One Response to Does my baby need vitamin drops?

  1. Mick says:

    It’s so tough to get the little ones to eat properly these days, I think giving them free vitamins is a great idea and could potentially save many health problems down the line for those fussy eaters.

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