What vitamins should you give your child?

November 18, 2018

Dr Stephanie Ooi (MBBS, MSc, MRCGP) is a GP, mum to Lily and passionate women’s health advocate.

She has compiled a collection of short, informative and essential reading blog posts to help any new parent answer some of the most common medical questions and bust a few myths and old wives tales.

In this first installment she tackles the commonly asked question – should i be giving my children vitamins?

 

I often get asked about vitamins. Do I need to give my child vitamins? Which ones should they have? Does it matter if they are breastfed or formula fed? Find out below!

 

 

 

The current advice from the Department of Health is that all children from 6 months to 5 years old should be taking supplements containing vitamins A, C and D each day.

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BUT if your child has more than 500mls of formula each day, they do not need any additional vitamins as the formula is already fortified.

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If your child is breastfed then they should be given a vitamin D supplement from birth. They need 8.5-10 micrograms (340-400 units) of vitamin D per day up until the age of 1. They need 10 micrograms (400 units) from 1-4 years old.

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Vitamin D is a particularly important one because it’s very difficult to get enough through the diet and most of it is made through the sun and your skin. The UK is not very sunny (with the exception of this Summer..!) so most people will need some help.

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If your child is doing mixed feeding then you just need to work out how much formula they are having and follow the guidance above.

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The vitamins come in all forms but the baby ones are usually drops. Your health visitor can advise you on where to get them. My local health centre (where the health visitors are based) has the Healthy Start vitamins behind reception – you just need to go in and ask for them!

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The Healthy Start vitamins are suitable for vegetarians and are free from dairy, soya, egg and peanut residues.

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Breastfeeding Mum’s should also be taking daily vitamin D. The recommendation is 10 micrograms (400 units) daily. You should continue to give your child vitamin D as well.

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Avoid giving two supplements at a time as you may be doubling up on doses. Always check with a pharmacist or GP first.

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There are other vitamin supplements available that contain additional things like iron and calcium. I have started giving my 1.5 year old daughter Lily the Wellbaby vitamins (other brands are available..!) which are more comprehensive. Lily isn’t the best eater so our nutritionist recommended this one. This isn’t essential though if you have a good eater!

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