It is natural for parents to be concerned about the health of their babies and providing healthy foods for their growth and development is vital. As a parent, you must ensure that those foods contain all the essential elements like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamin D for babies is a vital element necessary for the proper development of the bones and immune system.
The human body gets vitamin D from natural resources of absorption of sunlight and from ingestion of foods. When our skin gets enough good UV rays from the sunlight, it produces vitamin D. This natural nutrient helps our body to extract calcium from the foods that we consume. And together, vitamin D and calcium help strengthen the skeletal structure of the body. Calciferol is also essential in developing the immune system and improves heart health.
In this article, we will talk about the importance of vitamin D for babies, the various types of vitamin D your child should have, the ideal dosage, and the best source of vitamin D for babies. Stay connected.
In This Article
Why is Vitamin D Important For Babies?
For babies growing, there must be a perfect balance of various nutrients to ensure ideal health conditions. The body can manage a mild deficiency or excessiveness of any nutrient. Beyond a limit, the body starts suffering.
Here is why vitamin D is important for babies.
- The main bases of human bone are calcium and phosphorus. These elements make the bone structure and provide the required strength.
- Vitamin D is the element that helps the intestinal lining of the body to extract the necessary amount of calcium from foods and diffuse it in the blood.
- According to a report by the NHS, calciferol also regulates the amount of phosphates in the baby’s body, which is also vital for their skeletal development.
- Vitamin D is great for improving heart health and functioning.
- This vitamin also reduces the risks of several infections by improving immunity.
- Vitamin D also helps in the generation of calcium, which is vital for the balanced functioning of the baby’s body cells.
- According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the cause of Rickets or osteomalacia is caused by the deficiency of vitamin D.
- Rickets is a disease where children develop weak and soft bones. Prolonged deficiency of calciferol can cause this severe issue in babies.
Types of Vitamin D You Should Give Your Child
As it is hard to get enough vitamin D from food intake, experts always suggest taking vitamin D supplements to mitigate the daily requirement of this essential element. Usually, there are two different types of vitamin D supplements available.
- Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol
- Vitamin D3, which is also known as cholecalciferol.
D2 is found in plants and fungi, but vitamin animals are an excellent source of vitamin D3. According to studies, vitamin D3 is more efficient and powerful than vitamin D2. Therefore, as a supplement, cholecalciferol or D3 vitamin is recommended by health practitioners.
Ideal Dosage of Vitamin D for Babies
Mostly, vitamin D is synthesized by the human skin in the presence of sunlight. It helps to extract calcium from the foods we consume. But as most foods are not enough to fulfill the daily requirement, doctors often recommend vitamin D supplements for children. The frequency of this dosage may vary from daily (with a little amount) to weekly high dosage to once a month.
Babies under the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily. A microgram is 0.001 times a milligram and is often denoted by μg. The standard notion of vitamin D is mentioned in International Units or IU. Therefore, you can define one microgram of vitamin D as 40 IU.
Children above one year and adults need ten micrograms of vitamin intake daily. People with vitamin D deficiency, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers also need the same amount for good health. The sufficient weekly dosage is 50 micrograms for healthy functioning of the body.
Top 5 Best Food Sources of Vitamin D for Babies
As we discussed, the best natural source that helps to generate vitamin D in our body is sunlight. But there are some good foods that contain a small amount of vitamin D.
Whole eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D. A standard egg yolk contains approximately 37 IU of calciferol.
Cow milk is a treasure trove of several essential micronutrients, and vitamin D is one of them. Fortified cow milk contains 115 IU of vitamin D per cup (approximately 237 ml).
Vitamin D is also found in fortified cereals and oatmeal. Fortified oat milk also has good amounts of vitamin D.
Soy is an excellent source of vitamin D. Since tofu is made from soy extract, it forms a very good way of consuming this vitamin. Look out for fortified tofu since this has more vitamin D when compared to the non-fortified one.
5. Almond Milk
Almonds and fortified almond milk are also very good sources of vitamin D. If your baby has milk allergies and you must opt for alternative milks, fortified almond milk is an excellent option.
Can Babies Get Vitamin D From Sunlight?
Babies’ skin is sensitive and delicate. Direct exposure to sunlight can cause harm to their skin. They cannot get vitamin D from direct sunlight. The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that a 30-minute exposure to mild sunlight, especially in the morning when the temperature is not so high, is a good way to get vitamin D for your babies. To achieve the required amount of vitamin D in newly born babies, you can practice this for at least 16 weeks.
Vitamin D deficiency is now common all over the world. Even in tropical countries like India, people are suffering from diseases like rickets, Osteomalacia which are due to insufficiency of vitamin D. It is always better to consult the doctor and take vitamin D supplements on a recommended basis, especially for children. If a baby has a strong, healthy skeletal structure, it is helpful for the child to lead a healthy life.
1. When Should I Give my Baby Vitamin D?
If you are breastfeeding your baby or using fortified formula cow milk, a vitamin D supplement is essential. You can give vitamin D from the first or second week of birth. Usually, doctors prescribe vitamin D for babies to take every day.
2. Can I Put Vitamin D Drops in Breast Milk?
Though mother’s milk has all the essential nutrients and vitamins in it, the amount of vitamin D available is low. It does not contain the required amount of calciferol for the proper development of your baby’s bone. Therefore, you can put vitamin drops in breast milk to mitigate the daily requirement. Usually, pediatricians suggest starting this shortly after birth.
3. Can I Give Vitamin D to my Baby at Night?
If you forget to give the vitamin D dosage during the daytime, you can give it at night. There is no problem with it. But it is always recommended to fix a time for medication. According to the pediatrician, there is no need to give anything apart from a vitamin D3 supplement if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby.