Vitamin D – for baby’s bones and teeth

Vitamin D supplementation is often recommended during the first year of life for infants. This vitamin is essential for your baby’s bone and tooth formation. The intake of vitamin D is not only important for pregnant women, babies and children also need this substance for their health.

What does vitamin D do?

Vitamin D is converted into a hormone in the body and has an amazing number of important functions. It promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the intestine and their incorporation into the bones. It also works with the parathyroid gland to ensure adequate calcium supply to the blood, muscles, heart and nervous system. Therefore, if your baby does not get enough vitamin D, it can lead to bone disease and, in very severe deficiency, to rickets.

Why do babies need extra vitamin D?

At birth, babies still have soft, cartilaginous bones that only gain strength. In order to build up this bone mass, your child’s calcium metabolism must function properly. For this reason, your child needs enough vitamin D. Although your baby gets breast milk or milk substitutes, the amount of vitamin D from food is still not enough.

Although vitamin D can be produced by the body itself, this requires direct sunlight on the baby’s bare skin. The sun is our main source of vitamin D, but there is not enough sun exposure during the winter months to produce enough vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency can have serious effects even in adults, but it has even more consequences for babies. Many adults can fall back on the vitamin D stores from summer, while babies’ stores are still too small. Especially in the first few months, babies show tremendous growth and form their skeleton. A lack of vitamin D during this time can lead to severe malformations, some of which are irreversible. The healthy development of the immune system, nervous system and brain is also dependent on vitamin D, which is why a deficiency can lead to autoimmune diseases, developmental disorders and serious illnesses.

So how much vitamin D does your child need?

Basically, the daily administration of a vitamin D tablet of 10-12.5 µg (i.e. 400-500 IU) is recommended. This applies from the first week of life until the end of the first year of life. For babies born in winter, also in the second year of life during the winter months.

How are these tablets administered?

You can give your baby the vitamin D tablets in different ways. On the one hand, you can dissolve the tablet in a teaspoon with boiling water or breast milk and administer it that way. You can also put the tablet on the inside of your child’s cheek immediately before breastfeeding, the tablet will dissolve during breastfeeding.

Photo credit: epiximages/Shutterstock.com

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