Vitamin D is one of those vitamins that the majority of us are deficient in. This is especially the case in the northern and southern parts of the North and South Hemispheres respectively. There are days that we just don’t get enough sunlight on a daily basis.
Children are highly at risk of lack of vitamin D because they spend all day indoors. And babies tend to be wrapped up so much because they need the layers for heat that they don’t get the vitamin D through the sun’s rays. After all, this is the best way to get the vitamin on a daily basis.
We can also get it from dairy products, but babies are stuck with either breast milk or formula milk. If breastfeeding mothers don’t get the right nutrients, then babies don’t get it through their breast milk. Formula fed babies are more likely to get the vitamin D they need until they move onto regular cow’s milk and solid foods.
And babies who can’t have regular milk need to take supplements. So, it’s time to look at the best supplements for vitamin D that babies can take to make sure they do get enough of this necessary vitamin.
Just Why Is Vitamin D So Important for Babies?
Vitamin D is important for anyone. We all need to get it on a daily basis, but babies are especially important.
When young, babies are still at a stage where their bones are growing and developing. If they don’t get enough vitamin D, they are at a higher risk of developing rickets, brittle bones, and osteoporosis in their later years. Their bones don’t quite develop strongly enough for them to live a normal and healthy lifestyle. They can’t get out to play with their friends as much and tend to suffer breaks and bone pain on a daily basis.
Babies who are formula fed will usually get enough of the vitamin through their milk. This is because it is always added, especially in countries where the sun isn’t as strong or out as often. Babies that are breastfed, especially where the mother is vitamin D deficient, are more likely not to get enough of the vitamin.
Those with darker skin or live further to the north or south of their hemispheres will more likely suffer from a deficiency. This is because with darker skin the rays can’t penetrate the skin as well, and those in the north or south of their hemispheres aren’t as likely to get the sun on a daily basis. The sun really is the best way to get the vitamin, and it is completely natural!
Doctors now recommend that breastfed babies should have a vitamin D supplement on a daily basis. It has become a major concern, especially as technology means that children are more likely to stay at home, so they suffer from vitamin D deficiencies throughout their younger years. Babies that have a formula that doesn’t have extra vitamin D added to it should also use supplements.
But which are the best vitamin D supplements for babies? Can they take just any? Here are eight available that are excellent for babies from birth.
Vitamin D Fortified Formula Milk
Let’s start with the one that is more cost effective and widely available. Formula milk is available in the baby aisle of all grocery stores. It’s usually around the jarred food section, and there are various brands available.
Take a look at the labels. You want to find a formula that is suitable for the age of your child and is vitamin D fortified. The majority of brands will now opt for vitamin D fortified, but it’s just best to check to make sure. They can also be calcium fortified, but this isn’t the same thing. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, so you need to make sure that the formula has both.
There will be a formula that is suitable “from birth” and then options from 6 months and up. Another formula will be designed for toddler stages.
But if you’re breastfeeding, doesn’t formula defeat the purpose? Not at all! You can do a combination feeding if you want. This could also be beneficial when you return to work (if that’s what you plan to do) since you don’t have to find a spot to express milk on a daily basis or worry that you haven’t provided enough breast milk for your child.
Some mothers will do combination feeding at night. It means their partner can get up for the midnight feed, so they get some sleep. Others will use the formula as a top up, especially in the earlier days if the natural milk production hasn’t completely come through.
Breastfeeding Mothers Can Take Supplements
If you don’t want to do any formula feeding (breastfeeding is still the best way to support your child), then you can look at supplements. Not all of us want to give anything extra to our babies. That’s okay because there are supplements for a breastfeeding mother to take.
The vitamin D will pass through your system and support the breast milk. You can make sure your baby gets enough of the vitamin to you.
It is important to make sure your baby gets enough of the vitamin D through you, so ensure the supplements have at least 2000 international units per day (IU/day). Your doctor will be able to prescribe these supplements if you need them, so discuss the option.
The benefit of this type of supplement is that you make sure you get enough vitamin D, too. Breastfeeding women can be more at risk of developing deficiencies because the body makes sure your baby gets everything needed first. You’re at a higher risk of developing bone problems because you become deficient, so staying on top of baby-recommended supplements for yourself is often recommended.
If you’re looking for a good Vitamin D supplement we found that one of the best Vitamin D Supplement is PurityLabs Vitamin D3 5000 iu Softgels It is proven to Easily improve low vitamin D3 levels with just one softgel per day. The softgel is easy to dissolve, preservative free, gluten free and GMO-free which is scientifically formulated for maximum quality.
Opt for More Vitamin D Filled Foods
The sun isn’t the only way to get vitamin D into your body. However, if it is sunny, do make sure you try to get it naturally. You only need 15 minutes without sunscreen in the sun to get your daily recommended amount! Yes, it really doesn’t take that long.
However, there are foods that contain vitamin D. Try to add them to your diet as much as possible to get the vitamin D in the natural form. This is better than supplements since you’re not adding anything chemical to your body.
Those dark leafy greens are the best for your diet. They don’t just contain vitamin D but high levels of so many other nutrients that your body will need, including iron, zinc, and calcium.
If you struggle to eat them through the day, why not create a green smoothie? You can focus on getting extra during the day to make sure you stay on top of your nutrients while you’re breastfeeding. You will need to consume more calories and nutrients than normal while breastfeeding and smoothies just make it so much easier, especially if you’re stuck on the couch with a baby attached to you!
Get Over the Counter Vitamin D Supplements for the Baby
In the baby aisle in grocery stores, you may be able to find over the counter vitamin D supplements. If they’re not in the baby aisle, check in the pharmaceutical aisle where the baby medicine is.
These supplements will come with a dropper and will be full of instructions to make sure you only give your baby the right amount. The dropper also makes it easier to get your baby to take the supplement.
You can just pop the dropper in the mouth and squeeze gently. Some babies will suck on it like a bottle to get all the nutritious goodness from it.
When you are getting these supplements, ensure that they are made for babies. Children only need 400 IU/day of vitamin D. As they get older, they will get this from their food but to start with they need a top up with the dropper.The over the counter medication is designed to avoid over-supplementing as long as you follow the instructions.
Add the Supplement to the Milk or Food
If your baby is formula fed and doesn’t get the extra vitamin D, you will need to get a supplement that can be added to the milk or food. Another option is to have one that can mix in with water for a baby to take between meals.
These supplements will usually still come with a dropper in liquid form. The benefit is that the baby doesn’t get the taste of the supplement straight on their lips—not all of them taste great. The supplement is also less likely to be spat out later on or drooled accidentally, meaning the baby doesn’t take the supplement in.
Prescription Supplements from Your Doctor
If your baby is suffering from a deficiency, your doctor may want to check out the health. Some babies need more vitamin D, possibly because their bodies aren’t absorbing the nutrient properly. There are others who can’t take the regular over the counter options so they will need to prescribe something.
Like with the over the counter medications, they will come with droppers. You can use them in the exact same way as mentioned above.
The difference is that they may give more than 400 IU/day of the vitamin. Your doctor will only prescribe what is necessary to make sure your baby isn’t at risk of developing bone issues now or in the future.
Follow the instructions that you are given. The best instructions are the ones that your doctor tells you to. The medication will be created for the average baby, but doctors will prescribe based on the individual need.
Opt for Fortified Cow’s Milk from Nine Months Old
You don’t need to stick to the formulas if you don’t want. At nine months old, your baby can start to drink normal cow’s milk. Great news, right?
Well, when you do opt for cow’s milk, get the full-fat options and those with added vitamin D. In some countries, all cow’s milk gets the added vitamin D. This is common in the likes of Canada, where the country had a habit of not getting enough sun during winter months to support the health. It means everyone gets enough vitamin D on a daily basis!
You can also buy drops that you put into the milk to fortify it yourself. Look in the pharmaceutical or baby aisles for something that is suitable at nine months old.
Look out for labels on the milk cartons and packets to see if it has been fortified. If your baby is lactose intolerant, you’ll likely need to get supplements to add to the milk that you are giving. However, some soy and coconut milk are now getting vitamin D added to it because of the risks.
Add Vitamin D Foods to the Diet
When your baby is eating solid foods, think about the type of food you give. Getting natural options is much better than pharmaceutical supplements.
Salmon and tuna are excellent sources of vitamin D. You will need to make sure they are suitable for your baby to eat, such as making sure there are no small bones! Don’t give your baby the oily fishes every day. They also have traces of mercury, which is dangerous to the system. Just once a week is enough—twice a week as they get older.
Eggs and foods with fortified vitamin D are also good for babies as they start eating solid foods. As they get more in their diet naturally, they won’t need to take as many vitamins. However, some health professionals will recommend multi-vitamins to support the whole body. They come in jelly sweets to encourage children actually to eat them!
Watch Out for Too Much Vitamin D
Whether using natural supplements or over the counter supplements, make sure you follow the recommendation of no more than 400 IU/day for babies. They don’t need any more than that. In fact, giving them more than that can be highly dangerous for them.
Adults will need more, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Most doctors recommended 2000 IU/day for breastfeeding mothers.
If you or your baby is struggling, your doctor may recommend extra. If that is the case, listen to the instructions that your doctor gives you to make sure you avoid getting too much of the nutrient.
Vitamin D is essential. The best way to get it is from the sun, but this isn’t always going to be possible. The above just gives you some of the best extra options to make sure your baby is fully supported in the earlier years.