Occasionally missing giving your baby Vitamin D drops is okay and will not hamper his health. Formula milk contains Vitamin D sufficient for the baby’s needs. However, breastfed babies may need additional supplements since breastmilk contains little Vitamin D and fluctuates according to the mother’s diet. Vitamin D infant supplement is given daily; if you miss a dose, give it on the next scheduled dose.
Why do babies need Vitamin D infant drops?
It is a long-known fact that the most common source of Vitamin D is sunlight. It is scarcely found in food and only occurs in oily fish, eggs, and fat spreads.
There are two types of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.
Plant-based Vitamin D or D2 is uncommon and is often available as prescription medication only. Animal-based Vitamin D3 is the most common dietary form.
Vitamin D is an essential element in properly absorbing calcium and phosphorus.
📌 Children, especially infants, need vitamin D to prevent the possibility of Rickets. Rickets is a condition that causes softening and poor bone development. When a growing area of the bone softens, it can cause skeletal deformities and affect the baby’s growth and motor development.
You can help your child combat rickets by giving him the necessary dose of Vitamin D since infancy.
Unfortunately, it is hard to source it from food, and sunlight exposure risks sunburn on the baby’s sensitive skin. Thus, a Vitamin D supplement becomes necessary.
How much Vitamin D does my baby need?
Babies younger than one-year-old need 400 IU of vitamin D every day starting from the first few days of life.
They will need sunlight exposure of 10 to 15 minutes between 7 am to 10 am. That’s because sunlight propels the body to naturally produce vitamin D.
Sunlight exposure alone does not guarantee maximum vitamin D absorption.
For once, it is non-measurable, and according to the CDC, its amount is affected by factors such as:
- Living in high latitude location with a cold climate
- Air pollution
- Skin type (vitamin D from the sun decreases in dark-pigmented skin types)
Babies with medical conditions like celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and multiple fractures need more vitamin D.
Preemies need vitamin D to support their bone growth and aid in their development. Breastfed and formula-fed babies who take less than 32 ounces of milk daily will also need supplementation.
If living in the northern hemisphere, babies may need about 800 IU of Vitamin D year-round.
Vitamin D in breastfed babies
Breastmilk is paramount in all baby food because it is complete, and its benefits span the child’s lifetime. But why is there a need for vitamin D supplements when breastfeeding?
Pediatricians recommend vitamin D drops because breastmilk contains a low amount of vitamin D. It can also fluctuate depending on the mother’s diet.
A vegan diet, for example, contains relatively low vitamin D since it is exclusively found in animal products.
Mushrooms and fortified vegan products contain only trace amounts, and moms need supplements to supply their own needs.
But whether or not you take vitamin D supplements yourself, your breastfed baby will need vitamin D drops. That’s because supplementing does not substantially increase its concentration in breast milk.
Vitamin D in formula-fed babies
Formula milk is fortified with vitamin D; however, it may not be enough to provide the recommended daily dose.
To make up for the amount, babies need to drink 32 oz (about 1 liter) of formula or eight 4 oz bottles daily.
Babies who cannot consume that much milk daily will need an additional supplement.
Giving Vitamin D to infants
Vitamin D is available in liquid drops and widely available in many pharmacies and grocery stores. Giving it commences in the first or second week after birth. Your pediatrician will prescribe the right supplement for your baby.
When buying without a prescription, ensure that it is Vitamin D3 and suitable for your baby’s age.
Usually, it is given one dose or drop daily or as prescribed by your baby’s pediatrician.
The number of drops depends on the concentration of the brand used, so read the labels or follow the pediatrician’s prescription properly.
If you miss giving Vitamin D drops, give the succeeding dose the next day. Do not double the dose since it may cause your baby to become ill.
Vitamin D deficiency
Low Vitamin D does not often manifest symptoms unless there is a severe deficiency.
Babies likely have a Vitamin D deficiency when the following signs and symptoms occur:
- Growth failure
- Lethargy and weakness
- Recurring irritability
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Bow legs and knocked knees
If your pediatrician suspects Vitamin D deficiency, he will recommend a blood test. They will check the calcium levels, hydroxyvitamin D, and parathyroid hormone.
If the test confirms a deficiency, your pediatrician will likely recommend vitamin D supplements with dosage depending on your child’s needs.
Can I put sunscreen on my baby while exposing him to sunlight?
Sunscreen is not safe for babies under 6 months of age.
They have sensitive skin, and sunscreen may cause rash, irritation, or burns. Their skin will also absorb the chemicals in sunblock.
My baby spits the vitamins out. Should I give another dose?
No, it is not necessary. If your child spits or vomits the vitamin supplement after intake, give it again the following day.
Does a mixed-feed baby need Vitamin D drops?
When is it okay not to give Vitamin D supplements?
Do not give Vitamin D to a formula-fed baby if he can consume more than 32 ounces of milk daily.
Vitamin D is one of the essential elements that the baby needs right after birth. Its deficiency can cause bone and growth problems. Thus, they need to take the recommended daily intake.
While sunlight traditionally benefits many babies, too much exposure is also unsafe for their delicate skin.
The safest way of meeting your child’s daily requirements is by giving Vitamin D supplements or infant drops. It is given from birth until two years of age or as directed by your healthcare provider.