Cad iad na vitimíní is féidir liom a thabhairt do mo leanbh dá fhorbairt?

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Cad iad na vitimíní is féidir liom a thabhairt do mo leanbh dá fhorbairt?

The vitamins, necessary for the proper functioning of the organism, are for the most part provided by food. Milk during the first months, supplemented by all other foods at the time of diversification, are sources of vitamins for babies. However, the food intake of some essential vitamins is insufficient in infants. This is why supplementation is recommended. Which vitamins are affected? What role do they play in the body? Everything you need to know about vitamins for your baby.

Vitamin D supplementation

Vitamin D is made by the body under the influence of sunlight. More precisely, our skin synthesizes it when we expose ourselves to the sun. This vitamin is also found in certain foods (salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolk, butter, milk, etc.). Vitamin D facilitates the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus, necessary for bone mineralization. In other words, vitamin D is very important, especially in the baby, because it helps in the growth and strengthening of bones.

In infants, the intake of vitamin D contained in breast milk or infant formula is insufficient. To prevent rickets, a disease causing deformities and insufficient mineralization of the bones, vitamin D supplementation is recommended in all children from the first days of life. “This supplementation must be continued throughout the phase of growth and bone mineralization, that is to say up to 18 years”, indicates the French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics (AFPA).

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From birth to 18 months, the recommended intake is 800 to 1200 IU per day. The amount varies depending on whether the child is breastfed or infant formula:

  • if baby is breastfed, supplementation is 1200 IU per day.

  • if baby is formula fed, supplementation is 800 IU per day. 

  • From 18 months to 5 years, supplementation is recommended in winter (to compensate for the lack of exposure to natural light). Another supplementation is advised during the period of growth of adolescence.

    An update of these recommendations is currently underway. “These will align with European recommendations, namely 400 IU per day from 0 to 18 years old in healthy children without risk factors, and 800 IU per day from 0 to 18 years old in children with a risk factor, ”said the National Food Safety Agency (ANSES) in a press release published on January 27, 2021.

    Vitamin D supplementation in babies should be prescribed by a healthcare professional. It must be in the form of a drug and not in the form of food supplements enriched with vitamin D (sometimes too much vitamin D).  

    Beware of the risk of vitamin D overdose!

    An overdose of vitamin D is not without risk for young children. In January 2021, ANSES alerted to cases of overdose in young children following the intake of food supplements enriched with vitamin D. The children concerned presented with hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood) which could be harmful to the kidneys. To avoid an overdose potentially dangerous for the health of infants, ANSES reminds parents and healthcare professionals:

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    not to multiply foods containing vitamin D. 

    • to favor drugs over food supplements.
    • check the doses administered (check the amount of vitamin D per drop).

    Vitamin K supplementation

    Vitamin K plays an essential role in blood coagulation, it helps prevent bleeding. Our body does not produce it, so it is provided by food (green vegetables, fish, meat, eggs). At birth, newborns have low reserves of vitamin K and therefore have an increased risk of bleeding (internal and external), which can be very serious if they affect the brain. Fortunately, these are very rare. 

    To avoid vitamin K deficiency bleeding, babies in France are given 2 mg of vitamin K at birth in the hospital, 2 mg between the 4th and 7th day of life and 2 mg at 1 month.

    This supplementation should be continued in exclusively breastfed babies (breast milk is less rich in vitamin K than infant milk). Thus, it is recommended to give one ampoule of 2 mg orally every week as long as breastfeeding is exclusive. Once infant milk has been introduced, this supplementation can be stopped. 

    Apart from vitamin D and vitamin K, vitamin supplementation is not recommended in babies, except on medical advice.

     

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