Baby D vitamin D3
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Recommended by the HSE
Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed your baby you should give your baby 5 micrograms (5µg) of vitamin D3 every day.
Vitamin D is important because it helps our bodies use calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Children (and adults) in Ireland have low levels of vitamin D which can lead to weak bones. In severe cases low levels of vitamin D can cause rickets(1) in children. There has been an increase in the number of cases of rickets in Ireland in recent years.
Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because our bodies can make vitamin D from the sun. When sunlight hits our skin, the ultra-violet B (UVB) sun rays are used to make vitamin D. However, it is not possible for babies to safely get the vitamin D they need from the sun
Your baby needs vitamin D because:
- Their skin is very sensitive to the sun and should not be exposed to direct sunlight;
- Their food (breastmilk, formula milk or solid foods) may not have enough Vitamin D in it; and
- Between 0-12 months babies grow very quickly and have a greater need for vitamin D to form strong bones.
- Babies with African, Afro-Caribbean, Middle- Eastern or Indian ethnic backgrounds are at even higher risk of having low levels of vitamin D. Their stores of vitamin D may be particularly low when born as their mothers’ skin may not be as efficient at making vitamin D from the amount and type of sunlight in Ireland.