WHAT VITAMINS DO BABIES NEED?
As your baby grows, they will need various nutrients to ensure their overall health.
Vitamins are a vital part of a balanced diet, and it’s important that babies get what they need daily.
Ensuring your little one gets a healthy start is so important. The majority of nutrients your baby needs will come from their diet via milk, nutritious baby food pouches or homemade weaning meals.
However, there are some vitamins we don’t get enough of through food and your baby will need a little support to ensure they get everything their growing body needs.
The Importance of Vitamins
Vitamins are, in essence, tiny amounts of specific nutrients that our bodies need to thrive. The little bursts of goodness provide us with various benefits and supports, such as stronger immune systems, healthier muscles and general wellness.
The majority of vitamins reach us through food. However, there are some that we take from things like sunlight, and others which we need to get through supplements.
Vitamins for Babies from Birth to Six Months
During the first few months of their life, your baby will get almost all the nutrients they need from their milk, either breast or formula.
However, one vitamin in particular that the NHS strongly recommends providing through a supplement for your little one is vitamin D.
Vitamin D for Newborns
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for both children and adults, helping to support healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Most of us will get some vitamin D directly from sunlight and through a few foods, but this often isn’t enough, and protecting your baby’s skin is important. Therefore, you should give your baby a vitamin D supplement.
If you are breastfeeding the NHS recommends giving your little one a daily vitamin D supplement of 8.5 to 10 micrograms (mcg) from birth. This applies regardless of whether mum is taking a vitamin D supplement herself.
Vitamin D supplements come in many forms, but at this stage, the most recommended is either sprays or drops. You can spray or drop the vitamin D directly on to the nipple before a feed. Ensure that the supplement is designed for your little one at their age.
If your baby is having more than 500ml of infant formula a day, they won’t need an additional supplement as formula milks are fortified with vitamin D already.
Vitamins for Babies from Six to Twelve Months
When your baby reaches this age, they will start to rely a little less on milk and instead will require more nutrients from other foods.
There are various additional nutritional needs for babies between six and 12 months, and vitamins play an important part in their development.
Vitamin A is an important vitamin, particularly for babies and children. Vitamin A is responsible for strengthening the immune system while also improving our eyes and skin.
Vitamin A can be found in a range of weaning foods, such as:
- Sweet Potato
- Dark green vegetables
However, babies and children don’t always get the amount of vitamin A they need through simply eating. Therefore, a daily supplement of 233 micrograms is recommended for children aged 6 months to 5 years.
As with vitamin D, formula milk is already fortified with vitamin A. If your baby is drinking more than 500ml formula a day, they will not require a vitamin A supplement until their milk intake drops below this amount.
Vitamin C is perhaps the most well-known of all the vitamins, and with good reason. This vitamin is responsible for supporting overall good health and helps us absorb iron, which is crucial during this period in your baby’s development.
Vitamin C can be found in a wide range of foods, including:
However, as with other vitamins, it isn’t easy for all babies and children to get everything they need simply from food. Therefore, the government also recommends a daily vitamin C supplement of 20 milligrams (mg) for all children aged six months to five years.
If your baby is drinking more than 500ml of formula milk each day, they won’t need this supplement yet.
As mentioned above, vitamin D is hugely important for growing babies and children. Therefore, you should continue to give your little one vitamin D supplements as they grow.
A vitamin D supplement of 10 micrograms a day is recommended for all children aged six months to five years all year round.
If your baby is drinking more than 500ml of formula milk daily, they will receive enough vitamin D from the milk and there is no need to offer a supplement until their milk feeds drop to below 500ml per day.
Buying Vitamin Supplements for Your Baby
The NHS recommends providing a daily vitamin supplement containing A, C and D for your child from six months up until they are five years old.
Remember that if your baby is having more than 500ml formula milk a day, they do not need a supplement as well. This is because the formula milk already has these vitamins added.
Vitamin supplements for children are available in various forms. It’s up to you which one you choose. The most important thing is to check that the vitamins are designed for your child’s age.
If you are under 18 years of age or on benefits, you may be entitled to free vitamin drops as part of the NHS Healthy Start scheme.
These are the important vitamins that your little one will need as they grow. If you want to learn more about your growing foodie's health, discover our baby nutritionist’s blog here at Babease.
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